Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dedicated to My Friend Diane

In April 2004, I returned to Ochi for the 3rd time that year. Alisia and I had gone in January, I returned alone in February for Valentines Week. I had met a Special Someone and wanted to share that week with him. It turned out to be for me a very special time, but it also turned out to be a good lesson in Life and Love.

Anyway, I returned in April, during the Easter week, which turns out to  be a Holiday week for Jamaica and England  also. I stayed as usual at a place in the hills named Sky Castles, from the street you could look up and see these white buildings seemingly sitting precariously on the side of the hills, like little ornaments on a tree. For a time this was my home away from home, and the room that was given to me on the first visit became the only room I ever stayed in, when I would call to make a reservation, it was always given to me. It was on the first floor and set right across from  party central, the main pool and also across from where some of the best Jamaican cooking was served by my friend Curry.

Each morning I would open the curtains, and then the door, to embrace the sun and the new day, however my day actually began hours before I actually got up to perform this ritual, but that is part of the lesson learned, that stays a sweet memory for me......... Ok, after my shower I would sit on my veranda watching life pass my apartment and the breakfast  activities going on over at the pool. My room was situated right in the middle of the Courtyard and it was the hub for any meet ups that happened in the yard, so of course I could see and be seen.

So this particular week it seems that the Brits decided to re invade Jamaica, a plane load came, some went  to other places but a big group chose SkyCastles as their destination, good choice, I had never met a British person of color, so hearing that proper English coming from the mouths of  Black people who were not Jamaican was a pleasant surprise. As they passed we would speak, and have pleasantries about the beauty of the place, the activities they were doing for the day, but we never actually hung out. However, it  seems that I was the topic of a few of their conversations being as how they hung at the pool each morning, and if they had no plans for the day, this is where they met up to make plans for the evening and just to have a good time.

One afternoon, while hosting a few of the workers who were on lunch at my apartment, a  young woman passed and spoke, in unison we all said hello, she was both excited and agitated, her good news was that she had the good fortune to meet MaMa Marley.  Cedellia Booker, mother of Bob Marley when they went up to Nine Mile for a tour. She said they had a nice chat and it left her with a very good feeling.

Nine Mile is located in the interior of St Ann, Jamaica. It is home to the Bob Marley Mausoleum, birthplace and now final resting place of Legendary Reggae artist Robert Nesta Marley.

Well the  cause for the agitation,  while she was out someone had gone  into her room and pilfered a few items, luckily no money, but her sense of security was broken, and she also had her teen aged daughter with her, and she no longer felt safe;  and to her the office staff were not paying her problem the attention that they should have.  After getting her business sorted out and making her police report, she came back down to my apartment to hang out, while  the staff was trying to figure out how to sort out the mess and her daughter and the rest of her group had dispersed into the main of Ochi shopping and sightseeing.

Her name was Diane, I believe there was a great age gap between us but this was a wise woman for someone so young and we got along well. As I stated I was something of an mystery woman to she and her group, mainly they wanted to know "who is she that she opens her door and comes onto her veranda and everyone that passes stops and greets her, why is it that we have been sitting for minutes waiting for our food, but the minute she comes out of her door her food is on it's way to her, she never seems to leave her spot, always there holding court or reading her book, or writing in her journal. Who is this mystery woman"? Is she a writer, an owner, an artist, a teacher? I learned about all of this speculation in the first hour of conversation with Diane and when  she learned what I really did , I believe she was a little disappointed, but our connection was already cemented. We talked about everything, and made a date to hang out later that evening and possibly find something to do the next day.

I had an errand to run in town so the next morning after breakfast we decided to go to town together, I was about to call a ride but she nixed that and said we could walk down of the hill, uhhh ok but...."we will take it slow, at your pace Obra (she as most disregarded the r in Orbra but coming in that proper British voice it sounded pretty cool) so off we went with me stopping every  5 minutes, you see Skycastle is pure up and down small hills and paths and even though we were going down, sometimes from my apartment you had to go up to go down, this really was a beautiful and interesting place it was just so much of an adventure to get from point A to point Z, as I said it rose like a zenith out of a high hill above Ocho Rios, and had one of the prettiest and best views of the town as  well as the Sea. We walk, I rest, we walk, I rest, it probably took us 45 minutes to walk what for a normal person would be a 5/10 minute walk to town. It was at this point that she gently but forcefully decided to consul me on exercise, taking better care of myself and a good safe diet.

We get to town and handle our errands, a friend had given me the assignment to give her number to someone she had met back in February so off we went to take care of this, mission accomplished, time to go back up the hill, of course as we came out of Island Shopping Mall, one of my cabbies happened to be passing and stopped, "going back up? Yes!!, hop in" well Miss Diane had other ideas, as he is attempting to help me in she is pulling me back out of the cab, saying no we will walk Obra, at your pace, well this was a tug of war between he and I against her. She was the smallest of the three but her force of will gave her the advantage and we walked back UP!!!!!! that hill with me grumbling the entire time. Half way up we passed a couple of housekeepers on their way down, who told her the office needed to speak with her, well she tells me," I'll see you in a bit" and proceeds up the hill, but stops at the guards shack, brings him out and  points to me and admonishes him that he is under no circumstances to allow me through the gate if someone has picked me up in a car.  This was one feisty woman. Suffice it to say I crawled up the rest of that hill, crawled to my apartment and fell out gasping for breath, calling her some not so nice names.

For the rest of the week  other members of her party would come by and hang out a little in the evening, my buddies who worked on the property came by and our time together turned into a great but intimate party.

In April this year it will be 7 years since I have seen this woman, we speak periodically, maybe 7 times in that many years, but when we do it is as if we are continuing a conversation from that week in April 2004, as though we talk every day.

Some people come into our lives for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime. Today on my face book page, Diane sent me a shout out, and the words that I said to her were that she had come into my life for a Season of Reasons for a Lifetime. My friend. Diane.

After returning home I realised how much I missed those evenings on my veranda, getting to know each other, talking like two old  friends who had years of history, though having just met . When I called back I spoke with my friend Joe who handed her the phone, the three of us spoke for a few minutes all realising we were missing each other.That still happens to me here, I guess Jamaica gives you the freedom to make short and long term connections very fast.

This is one of such connections I have made in my visits to Jamaica and one of the things that makes this place so special to me. Meeting people from all over the world and sharing the beauty and all that this place has to offer. That is the effect my Beloved Home has on so many, you return time and again because like a siren, like a mother' kiss, like a lover's embrace, it's something you just can't turn away from.

        Downtown Ochi                                                                                                                                       

Downtown Ochi                                                                                                         

Craft Market in Ochi                          

The white buildings on the hill are SkyCastles

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or
a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you
will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is
usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have
come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you
with guidance and support, to aid you physically,
emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a
godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason
you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an
inconvenient time, this person will say or do something
to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realise is that our need has been met, our
desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you
sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .
Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount
of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things
you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional
foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the
person, and put what you have learned to use in all
other relationships and areas of your life. It is said
that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Author Unknown

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