My second birthday
Ah must add-myth dat Easter dis year wid de “Lock Down” of de city, afforded me some quiet time to reflect on my Second Birthday dat took place 23 years ago. I had been studying John 3 vs 3 that says: “No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again”, so I surrendered my life to Christ, was ‘Born Again’ and Spiritually washed, cleansed, covered by de ‘Blood of Jesus’! And ah have news foh Believers who think dat being “covered by de Blood, means we could presumptuously ignore de precautionary measures, given by Health Authority on how to avoid contracting COVID-19 Virus. COVID-19 is air borne, and de ideal condition for COVID-19 to spread is within a crowded area where there is someone wid de disease. Believers, let’s practise social distancing; wash hands and wash we brains too;
touch not de eyes, nose and mouth. Stay indoors! Let us follow de instructions by Isaiah to Believers in de Believers Hand Book, de Bible: “Come my people, enter your rooms and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while until the fury (KOVID 19) has passed by.”
CEDRIC MILLS, PRODUCT OF HARD WORK
Yet another of my classmates, Cedric Mills, gone. Cedric and I had ah deal, if I died before him, he would bury me foh free; and if he goes first I would play music at his Funeral foh Free also. Yuh should hear him on dat: “Play music foh who, when I done bury yuh back-side, how yuh go come back to play foh me!”
We met up in Tommy Saunder’s Richmond Hill Government School when it opened in 1951. The Mills’ boys, Cedric, Bernard, Volmar and Olaff all attended Richmond Hill Primary School. The original family home in Frenches is still standing. The compound has been refurbished and converted into what is popularly known as (Cedric Mills) Ever-Ready Funeral Home.
The setting, ah remember back den is, there were two properties that separated de Mills home from the school, i.e. the Cotton Ginnery now de UWI Centre, and a Playing Field now de site of de Library and Vinsave. As close as de school was to home, dem Mills boys uses to be unavoidably late foh school. Ole man George Mills, dey dad, kept ah lot ah cows and calves. Wid no helpers, Cedric de eldest at 12, and his brothers had dey wuk cut-out. At mornings dem cows had to be milked; next, take dem to de Pasture (Playing Field) to tie-out or graze; den get ready foh school.
Come mid-day cows had to be moved out ah de sun. It was like ah joke, sometimes in de middle of classes, one ah dem cows would get-away and heading foh de street. Poor Cedric and Bernard had to run out ah class to catch dem animals, hoping Ole Man George didn’t see.
After school dem boys had to go home and learn de carpentry skills from dey Dad; he built coffins foh his Funeral Home. Basically, Cedric had his career lined-up foh him. Incidentally, Bernard became a Dentist, Volmar, a Dental Technician, Olaff, a Sailor. Of course dey were sisters, Patty-lou, ah Banker; Janet, ah Doctor and Marlon, an Activist.
De ole rule is, if yuh have Kids find useful chores and hard work foh dem, dey will not disappoint. Cedric did his apprenticeship wid his dad foh ah while; he den broke loose and went to Trinidad where he met wid and got training from, great Funeral Undertakers like Haynes Clarke et al. When he had learned enough he came back, but by den he had outgrown his Dad. He moved on and established what became de No 1 Funeral Home in SVG until his death. We were great friends until my Mom died. De Family gave him de Funeral. Trouble when my sister and I went to choose a coffin, he took us in ah room wid Caskets foh Governors and Prime Ministers. His countenance changed when we told him her last wishes, she asked foh ah plain Breadfruit Coffin,” He shook his head in disgust and darted out de room.
He was in good spirit de last time ah saw him, Jokingly ah told him ah heard he had ah Bronze Coffin set aside foh himself, but ah wanted it. “Yuh,” he said, “Yuh will be lucky if yuh get ah darm Breadfruit Board like Sir Fred.”
Cedric was hasty, but ah soft and generous person, fed de poor. He served dis country well in de Funeral Business. Ah will have to mek ah new deal wid his successor. And wid dat, is gone ah gone again!
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.