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Ah tourist from de village

Ah tourist from de village

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Back in de 1950’s when ah was ah youth, from way ah live ah could ah stay at home and watch when de big steam ships drop anchor in de harbour, dey was no deep water pier den.

Tourist ships were among dem, but no more dan two ah year; but it was ah grand occasion every time dey visited wid all these white folks, presumably rich, dressed in some pretty colour shirts, straw hats depicting ah Caribbean scene. {{more}}

Ah don’t recall ever seeing ah black or coloured tourist back den; was only recently, like in de last 20-30 years dat we began to see black tourists, and dey too, were like ah novelty, de first ting dat came to mind was “dem black people got to be millionaires to be ah tourist.”

Gradually de faces and accent ah de tourists began to look and sound familiar, like we own Caribbean people. Ah never saw any Vincies among dem, but ah know ah lot ah our folks in North America were going on these cruises. Ah few weeks ago ah noticed dat my childhood buddy David Joyette, in Canada foh almost 50 years, keep ending his e-mails wid “see you soon,” he had me guessing until some-buddy hinted dat David was going on ah cruise, and was planning to stop by and give us ah surprise on December 15th.

Dat’s it eh, he planning surprise, well his brother Dennis and I decided to counter-surprise him instead. So bright and early last Sat-dey morning de 15th, Dennis turned up on de wharf and caught him off guard. Den he brought him back to de ole home village to meet those of us who still around, we were waiting foh Mr David. Dis was an emotional moment as we had not met like dis foh over fifty years. Dey was nine ah we including David from de ole brigade: three in dey sixties, four in dey seventies and two eighty year oles, our ages totaled over 620 years; seven ah de gang lived in North America foh an average of 45 years each, more dan half ah dey life. Ah simple addition shows dat our seven sons ah dis soil contributed to de development ah de USA and Canada with some 320 years ah sweat and toil.

Ah doubt dey remittances dat was sent back home could ever compensate foh such helm-rage. De results however show de guys did not waste dey time and labour, today dey are comfortably re-tyred enjoying de harvest of years ah toilin in dat cold North American vine-yard.

David got himself ah Doctorate, he always had ah passion foh books and reading and continues to donate hundreds ah books to local schools hey, Primary, Secondary and de Community College.

But Sat-dey’s re-union was not bout books, we reminisced on our treasured “boy days” identifying land marks like de ole cricket ground, de one stand-pipe dat watered de whole village; de sweetest golden apple and mango trees, so good dat de ‘Glasgow Mango’ tree foh Ole Mother Steven, de village Nurse still standing and bearing nex to Tomlin Voss’ compound. We den all piled up in a nine seater van wid an ice-box full ah soft, medium and hard drinks, and headed foh Pembroke at Palmyra Restaurant foh lunch.

We spent time on memory lane, recycling all de ole jokes, forbidden and forgotten tales ah de village. Our final stop on what had to be de shortest day ah de year, was at Argyle International Airport.

David and Len, my brother just wanted to mek sure de Airport will be ready foh de next visit, if not dey say dey will return on de Queen Mary, one ah de largest tourist boat. Dat’s how it is when yuh Villager tun tourist. But we were glad to have him, ah PT he couldn’t stay foh de Christmas, way we could go serenading from door to door like ole-dah times.

Well it’s Christmas, on behalf ah Lie-Za and de Love Vine, hey’s wishing all ah Full-some Christmas: Peace, love, Care and Share.

Ah will-fully kept Lie-Za away from David, she kept saying she want to ask David to sponsor her application foh Canada citizenship, even if is ah Refugee. She wants Out!

And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.

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