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Teacher Samuel remained untouchable


Ah want to recognize the passing of two gentlemen whom I respected. Firstly, dey’s Egbert Samuel, who fell short of his century by two runs. He was everything in Education, from Teacher to Education Officer. Outside Education, he undertook de challenge and managed well, one ah de most controversial position in de Public Service, that of Supervisor of Election. Ah don’t recall any Supervisor of Elections who was spared or not speared wid wrath from de Pull-it-tek-all animals of de day, but de Principal and Principled Teacher Samuel remained untouchable, he was out ah reach. Ah was told, he had an stinging arm wid de leather strap, luckily foh my back-side, ah was never his student in class; yet he was one ah my reference Teachers. {{more}}Many ah those lickle Anecdotes, Aesop Fables, Nansi Stories, fill-us-so-foh-call sketches or de simple use of ah word, dat from time to time, shows up in my articles, come from great Educators and Historians; Teacher Samuel was one ah my resource persons. Last month ah had reason to visit him, something dat ah failed to do as often as ah should have; nevertheless, at 98 his brain was still as sharp as ah razor. Isn’t dat something? So many young people dey bout wid brains, but dull like butter-knife, and so many ain’t ha’ no brain at all! May my teacher friend rest wid Jesus.


My other departed friend is Mello, an miserable adult “street kid.” De small Cemetery Chapel was “ram jam” to capacity as tributes to Mello flowed. We learned from one ah his sisters dat as ah child, Mello was quite handsome, even better looking dan she is; dat was before he strayed and de hard vagrant life took its toll. His daily activities included dat of ah sort of ah PI where his ‘locus operandi’ was from either Level Gardens or under China Town gallery, at White Chapel. There he scooped and made his mental notes before reporting his current affairs (commess) later. Friends and two of his siblings spoke, vagrants have brothers and sisters too. We heard ah lot bout de better side of Mello whose tongue was unpleasant to de ears at times. Hon St Clear “de Major’ Leacock said his bit, appealing for more sympathy foh unfortunate citizens like Mello. In m own experience, Mello was my imaginable son-in-law. One day my Grandson came home crying. His mother jokingly explained how Mello in his annoying mood shouted at my grand and said: “Lickle Boy, nah worry wid yuh Marmie, me ah yuh Dardie!” Den it struck me. What if someone like Mello happened to be my grandson’s dad? What if he was my son or my brother? What can I and should I do to change dat? And what about you reader, what if you suddenly discover dat you are closely related to ah Vagrant. What will you do? What should you do? And what do you do to make vagrant life less tormented. Christ died for Teacher Samuel, but he also died foh vagrants like Mello and Crab.


My Christmas is about music and last weekend was unique in dat dey were three back-to-back-to-back concerts: New Kingstown Chorale on Fry-dey and Sat-dey nights at Peace Mo, and Gospel Hall Maranatha Choir doing ah Cantata dat lasted 20 minutes on Sun-dey night. Unique in de sense dat Chorale is in its sixtieth year and Maranatha 45 years. Unique as membership in both choirs include ah good many 60 and 70 year-ole young people. Unique as de voices confirm age ole saying: “Good wine bellows oops, mellows wid age.” It was Chorale’s second Concert dis year as dey celebrate de groups’ 60th anniversary. Ah Fantastic presentation as dey continue to perform widout song sheets, straight from de ole brain. Understandably, age is catching up. De weight and volume have tone down ah bit, lyrics absent hey and dey; but absolutely nothing missing from de soft melody and sweet tone oops, sweet tonal quality. Ah lot ah young, potential virtuoso material surfaced on Saat-dey night: “Geran Maule, pianist; Saeed Bowman, panist; Violinist, Samuel Toka an African Medical Student; vocalists Addison and Adara Stoddard and dey was de Virtuoso himself Sean Sutherland. Great Show Chorale, Great Show Maranatha, Thank you!


It will be my best Christmas ever, if ah hear dat Go-venom-mint decides to bail out de Buccama and Ottley Hall wukers who have not been paid foh months. Christmas is no Christmas widout Santa’s Claws. Come-red be de wukers Santa’s Claws. I think of de wukers family, and I dedicate de following lines from Nat King Cole’s song to all ah dem :

“He’s de lickle boy dat Santa Claus forgot, and goodness knows, he didn’t want ah lot. He sent ah note to Santa foh some soldiers and ah drum; it broke his lickle heart when he found dat Santa hadn’t come. In de street he envies those lucky boys, den wanders home to last year’s broken toys; I’m so sorry for dat Laddie, he hasn’t got ah daddy, de lickle boy dat Santa Claus forgot.” Blessed Christmas to all. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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