What’s good about Jamaica?
Today Jamaicans will celebrate their Independence in Jamaica and around the world. As I have posted on this blog many times, I too am a proud Jamaican and I have always celebrated who I am as a Jamaican owning and displaying my lovely accent anywhere in the world I go.
Whenever I tell anyone who hears my thick Jamaican accent that I have been living abroad from “Wappy kill Phillip” which is the Jamaican way of saying “a very long time”, they are astonished to know that I have been schooled, High school and University in America and have held on to my Jamaican Accent which is very strong. I have always wondered why the astonishment? A rhetorical question however because many have migrated and as soon as they clear custom they abandoned accent (laughable) culture and all, also there are people like the entertainer Elephant man who still lives on the Island and continues sqawking in an embarrassing fake accent with a very spitty lisp, Shizzle! Not I!
Yesterday I took you back with me to my Island Jamaica and memories of some interesting characters, especially that of Hilda Willis, aka Miss Will. I Promised that I would today introduce you all to others who were apart of the cast in our Community, while not as “Glamorous” as Miss Will, they are indeed colorful and bright.
We lived across the street from a huge building which was a rooming house upstairs and had shops down stairs, the building was a wrap around construction which meant it wrapped around to the next street. The property was owned by a Chinese husband and wife team we called Mr. He and Miss He, (should be Mrs. but we Jamaicans ah suh we do tings). Mr He was a short stocky Chinese man with salt and pepper hair, who walked very fast and always wore a Chinese board slippers which clunked, clanked as he walked. We all loved Mr. He and laughed at futile his attempts to pronounce the letter R, he would laugh right along with us he was nice and my mother and he were very good friends, he had a very winsome character regardless if his English was limited.
His wife Miss He was another story. Miss He was the resident cashier in their supermarket which was the largest among all the shops down stairs of their wrap around building. She was a chain smoker and seemed to hate everybody, except her children and my mother, everybody liked my mother it seemed, except for Miss Will, but the jury is still out as to what species did Miss Will come from.
Miss He would sit in a grilled up cage in the grocery shop, and would curse bad words every day. If anyone asked her a question the response would be a Chinese accented bad word and instead of Jamaicans becoming angry at her often rude retort, Jamaicans would laugh, falling down while clutching their stomachs at Miss He Cursing then out, while she sat seriously in her closed cage holding her cigarette and looking at them all screwed faced up. It took a long time for me to realize that Miss He did not speak or understand English and so for her to communicate with Jamaicans she believed telling them some “Claat” (Jamaican bad word, which is often prefaced with words like blood, and rass, and bumbo etc) was the best way to get her point across. Jamaicans got a Kick out of this and would taunt her into cussing, which she readily responded, even to children.
The businesses on the building were a bar, which seemed to be a pick up joint for undercover prostitutes nick named bar fly, so if someone’s name was Jenny and she hung out in the bar then she would be referred to (behind her back most times, unless someones is cussing her) as Bar fly Jenny, a cook shop which according to some people the food was unpalatable. The men would play dominoes in front of the cook shop and it was there for the first and only time in my life that I had seen my father come home and go under the bed for his cutlass quietly, determined to limb off a person who was verbally abusing him at a domino game. Instead of answering the abrasive man who puffered his chest at my dad when my father said not a word but simply walked off, not knowing that my father was coming back with a machete. It was after my father returned hiding the cutlass and quietly stood in a corner (timing his self to run dung pon de man an limb off him claat) while the gentleman was in full bad man mode at my fathers expense, that someone whispered to him that daddy had a lass, upon hearing this he left abruptly, ran even.
There was the dry cleaners which was ran by a very rotund woman we called Fatty and in front of the businesses were two higgler women who sold food stuff, Miss Hilda and Miss Joyce. Miss Hilda was a quiet nice woman who did not bother anyone while Miss Joyce was a virago who everybody hated, she lived in a community call Frog City (real Ghetto) and use to dash obeah at poor Miss Hilda who jumped Poco with Miss Will. Miss Joyce had fourteen children which included a very flamboyant son called Lloyd who most assumed was on becoming a homosexual (aka Pinky). Lloyd would put his mothers apron and sell like a real market woman and tried his best to sound like one, the apron dress was his drag I suppose.
Then beside us was the gambling Yard where the most dances were kept in our area, it was called Daffodil Lawn. It was owned by an old woman we called Madda, and she had some four sons and of them all Tonnie was a real character, he use to beat Madda for her lickle chupance (money) which she carried in a thread bag tied to her brazzaire. He quarreled, cursed and hated everybody, he smoked Ganja as if he was a choo choo train, and was just a very cantankerous miserable person who even cursed God, people feared and hated him for cursing God, so much that when rain would fall nobody would go close to Tonnie for fear fo being struck by lightening which people was sure to be after Tonnie. He had a baby’s mother called Plungie who he beat everyday and she scandal him that he “did the hings dem to her” (things which Jamaican men are embarrassed about, but they do it when the doors are closed and the lights are off lol, not all of them though), the beating would either get worse or he would kiss his teeth and walk away.
Madda, Tonnie’s mother ran a grocery shop and was in direct competition with Mr. He. In that gambling yard people from all over the country came to gamble, hang out, attend dances and just plain have a good time, the vibes there was awesome. My father was in that yard everyday, he made the best chilum pipe out of coconut bough and hose (this is from my memory, correct me if it is wrong) I witnessed police men and soldiers come to the yard in their uniforms and rifles in tow and they would sit with my father and the other men in the gambling yard all smoking ganja, passing the chilum pipe around, often times they would call us the children over and blow the weed in our faces. This was fun in Jamaica, at the time I lived there, no harm done to us, well if you count the urge I have at time to walk and tear up paper, lol, just kidding!
I would like to tell you about Rat who looked exactly like his name and slept in the huge chicken coup, normally called a fowl kubb in Jamaica, and Man Royal Cherry, who looked and dressed just like a man but had a husband and children, and Dog the bad man from Waltham Park Road, and Puss because he was a known theif, and mad men, Bunny, and Lukie and Randal Tonnie’s stiff staring mad brother and so many others but I will leave some of them for another time.
It is indeed for me a blessing to have been born Jamaican. My accent serves as a pass for me anywhere I go in this world. Jamaicans are respected and loved by most and for the rest who do not love us, “IS BAD MINE DEM BAD MINE,…… DEM BAD MINE!!” lol in other words Jealousy!
The women are confident and so are the sexy men, we can cuss and fight and war and love all at the same time while cooking and cleaning and getting “sorted out”, if that is not mastery at multi tasking I do not know what is. We are excellent cooks (most of us, that is). We are very clean people in ways of hygiene, keeping our house, yard and compound clean, if you meet an untidy Jamaican, it is one out of a thousand. A Trinidadian woman living in Jamaica corrected me once when I made this statement of Jamaicans being very clean people, she said she had been living in Jamaica for over twenty years and noticed that some of their kitchens are dirty, I was highly offended but I calmed down and asked her to give me examples of the dirty kitchens which she saw there, she could only give the example of one woman, who was a functioning mad woman.
Jamaica is ruled by Orisha Osun and by Orisha Ogun, and by the ancestors, this is evident by the colors of our flag. It is a very blessed place (gully queens, move an gwey man, cho!) so beautiful. God seemed to have made Jamaica for when he is ready to retire he would settle down there, or when he is ready for vacation this is the place he would have the most fun wid Gabrielle and all ah dem. God blessed our Island special. Reggae music regardless of others “using” it, and even Hip Hop being born from it and rarely giving us our credit, however we cannot be denied, there was a time when England wanted to claim Ska, whara??. Dem attribute “Bling Bling” to Little Wayne, (laughable), Bling Bling is a patois term used to describe something sparkly or shiny, as a child whenever anyone would have on any clothing which sparkled we would say “yuh ah shock, yuh ah sting, yuh ah bling! Little Wayne, lol..Big up yuh self Dj cool Herc for bringing Street dance to the Bronx thus making way for Hip hop to be born, coming out of DJ’s in Jamaica use to pass the mic back and forth and rhyme. Big up yuh self, Brigadier Jerry, Charlie Chaplin, Josey Wales, Sassafras, Pan head, Major Worries, Kojak and Mumma Lazi, Welton Ire and Ringo, Early B, Lieutenant Stichie, Papa San, Ninja Man and all others!
Check out closely the Background of a famous person or a very accomplished person in whatever area of life that person is celebrated, and you will find a Jamaican as Mother or Father, Big Up Colin Powell, Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, Kerry Washington, Delroy Lindo, Madge Sinclair, Claude McKay, Grace Jones, Dule Hill, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Harry Belafonte, K R S One, Biggy Smalls, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Patrick Ewing, the late Heavy D and so many more
What’s good about Jamaica the love, the creativity, patois, the people, the comfort, country, town, Ganja, Stone Love, de beer, ice mints and bustamante sweetie, the yam, cassava and coco, de corn meal dumplins, red peas soup on Saturdays, de coconut rundung wid roast bread fruit, de festival and fry fish, all de foods, stoning smaddy mango tree, cussing the star apple caws it won’t fall from de tree, de energy and camaraderie, de Ghetto where we have the most fun, uptown life, aldoe ah doan know it and doan regret it, devon house and dem ice cream and plantain tart!
Big up all de rum heads, de spliff heads, Dorothy whey ah tek Suzie man Big up yuh self. Big up Joe grine, yuh deh pon de wuk, big up all de bad people dem, caws oonhu eva ready fi bus ah shot and try as we might we cyaan get rid ah oonuh, big up all de bad bwoy, gun men police dem ah oonuh sey shoot fi kill all if him innocent, so gwan big up oonuh slef, big up de teefing politician dem and our frequent flyer de great Portia Simpson (first Class ) Miller our Prime Minister and major war boat, lol. Big up to de higgla dem and all obeah man an Obeah ooman gwan hole tight, big all de artist dem and all de schoolers, and bus drivers, big uppppp! Jamaica Big up yuh self pon this Independence day! Love Always!
Bloggers add your own big ups!
Ọwọ́ ọmọdé ò tó pẹpẹ, tàgbàlagbà ò wọ akèrègbè /
A child’s hand can’t reach the shelf as an elder’s can’t enter a gourd…….Yoruba Proverb!
[No one can do it all, but together we can do more; we need one another]
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love….Obara Meji!
There are no disappointments in life, only lessons learned….Obara Meji!