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Thank you Soca Jones

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As faith and luck would have it, ah was born de Son of ah Pastor Son (P.K.). Over and over ah would have said dat my paternal grand-parents were Salvation Army Officers, and in dat Organization, officers are Pastors, equal status, trained and qualified to lead and minister to de church. My father grew up wid his parents, he was PK no 1, but like he willed dat task to me. Yes ah task it was.

Being ah Pastor’s Kid (P.K) is interesting from birth. Yuh get ah lot ah pampering from de congregation, as ole people would say “fly can’t land pon yuh!” But dat has its price and it does back-fire. Dey are Church Rules foh de children of regular members, and different rules foh de Pastor’s children. Every other child in de community could wear his (rude-boy) cap with de peak in de back, not de PK, if he dare try dat, dey would sue-sue how he breaking loose; he beginning to follow bad company. PK can’t go to de Cinema or Birthday Party wid his/her peers. Carni-fall is Devil Festi-fall; off limits foh church members. But Pastor whole family would watch King and Queen ah de Bands pon TV, dey set up pon ah Sat-det night till morning watching Soca Monarch, no sleep, but dey up and ready foh church bright and early Sun-dey morning. And on Carnival Monday or Tuesday, de kids got to be protected from Satan, so dey’ll be Beach Picnic miles away from it all.

Pastor’s kids could learn to play musical instrument, but not instruments like Pan eh. As youths, my Dad and his three brothers played in de Salvation Army Brass Band. Seems like he was good so he would run away and play wid Shake Keane and Frankie Mc Intosh’s father. But his Dad would rebuk him, said he was marching people to hell wid his music!

De Too-To hit de fan when my teenaged father got my Mom (his teenage lover) pregnant. Really? Ah Pastor’s Kid did dat? Dat is unacceptable- fornication licking down de Pastor’s home. Dey’s no way now dat de Pastor could preach ah sermon on fornication again? So my father had to mek himself scarce and went to T’n’T. I never saw my father till ah was nine years ole. He played trumpet (Soca) in ah lot ah Dance Bands in Trin-dad. After he blew his mind to pieces, he took mentally ill! Dey put him on ah boat wid his Trumpet and sent him back to meet his Pastor parents and me. Dey was no fatted calf reception, but dey was ah Homecoming..

Wednesday afternoon, Social Media was on Fire, who not on Face Book was on Instagram, Zoom, What App, What Ever. Ah massive crowd had gathered at New Haven Funeral Home in Mespo, celebrating de home-coming of de late Ambassador Soca Jones, ah PK. My fondest memory of de young man was several years ago when he spent ah Christmas at home. Every morning he was present Stage-side at de Nine Mornings on Bay Street. One morning ah invited him to come on stage to greet de crowd. He declined, but offstage; he told me dat he was very interested in one of de young ladies in El Grupo Amistad on stage, but dat she was not friendly to him, so he asked me to arrange an introduction foh him. My mission was to let her know dat he was madly in love wid her. Ah did me best, told her he was ah leading Promoter of Vincy Culture in New York. Father Jones’ Son, same time he took over: “I am Ulric Jones junior, better known as Soca Jones!” Ah rested my case den.

Dat home-coming foh Soca Jones was electrifying and emotional. Ah saw lots ah strange faces, well wishers all. Life has refused to be kind to Fr Jones over these last six months. First he buried his brother and close friend Selwyn, and soon after Selwyn’s son passed away. But amidst all de sad moments, on Wednesday afternoon, Ulric and Marilyn stood out very Calm and Humble. Dey must have been overwhelmed wid Pride and Joy, on seeing de large crowd dat came to say “Thank you Soca Jones foh all yuh did foh Vincy Culture and Soca in particular.” 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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