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When yuh see ah grow up…


My friend, actually my father’s contemporary and friend, Raul ‘Sos’ Soso passed away peacefully, a couple weeks ago at the Thompson Home. He was ah great musician who simply loved music, and this was evident when at 91 years of age, he was playing the Tambora (Venezuelan Drum) featured in Merengue music. Ah did men-shun sometime ago dat every Sat-dey, a small group of us, who call ourselves “Friends of Thompson Home Quartet,” Minister wid Music to the dear ole folks at the Institution dey adopted home. Dey all participate… some sing, some dance and a couple of them who played musical instruments in dey ‘hey-dey’ would accompany either on de piano, drums or just clap dey hands. Mr Soso, of course, was an excellent trumpeter and band leader, who actually started the Band, Green Sleeves, that later was renamed Latiners, one of SVG’s better bands.

After weeks of pleading we got ‘Sos’ to play the drums, reluctantly he took a seat, but not before warning us not to expect much because: “Drum was never my instrument,” he said. Ah good musician is forever ah good musician, and ‘Sos’ was right on spot wid de rhythm, He held a permanent spot in the group until about a month ago, he said dat he was having problems with his wrist, when we challenged him, he pulled out a bottle of pills and said : “I am not joking, I am on medication, see?” he produced a bottle of Omega 3. He was into Omega in ah big way. Interestingly, ah few months ago he wrote ah strongly worded letter to the Searchlight Newspaper, complaining to the Agents of Omega product about the info, or lack thereof, on de label, in particular the fine print. When I complimented him on his strong language, he was not entirely flattered. “Oh, you read it? You should have seen the original, de editor tone it down!” he said. However, dat morning he refused to play wid de group. He told us dat he did not have much longer to go, reminding us dat he was ninety-one. And den he gave us final instructions: “ You all will have to play at my funeral, and if you don’t, is hell roll, I will ‘haunt all-yo back-side’!” Ah overs dat during dat very week he had ah serious ‘Soul Saving’ talk wid Rev Adolph Davis, and made things right wid his Saviour.

Two Sat-days ago, it was clear he was going, we went at his bedside and played “Blessed Assurance” Jesus is mine. He interrupted his final journey to de Promise Land, opened his eyes, acknowledge our playing, clasp his hand as one does in prayer, den gave us ah gentle farewell nod.

Mr Soso was a very organized man, ah couple years ago, he went across to Everready Funeral Home, selected his coffin, de one dat he could afford, he told dem, de next day he wrote dem a cheque and sent his daughter, Barbara to deliver. Down to his suite and tie, he had dem hanging in de room foh de occasion. “No Eulogy,” he said, but de defiant, Sleepy Richards did ah Raul Soso “humourous style” tribute. Sorry foh Sleepy, Mr Soso is going to “haunt his Back-sidee!” He even gave Matthew Thomas a selection of Hymns with musical scores, mainly notes and chords dat he had written himself. Of course Matthew wisely obliged at his Funeral Service.

Finally, his last wish was to have de Police Band, and believe me, it was one of dey better Parades. Probably dey knew dat if dey did play any none-cents, ‘Sos’ would ah “haunt dey Back-side!”

When you see I grow up, ah want to be exactly like Mr Soso. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One love Bassy

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