Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jamaica a Low Down Peaceful State of Mind

Every night I sit in the house with the door open, most nights, early, there is activity and sounds of people going about their business. Some times I understand the sounds, others not, music whixh is a constant in my neighborhood from Reggae, to Church, to Jazz, the animals , the sounds coming from other folks home as they do what's  needed to finish and enjoy the rest of their day.

 I've either cooked and served dinner, had dinner prepared for me, the dishes done, floors swept, kitchen clean.  Most times it's the computer, some nights watch TV, or sit on the veranda, or if it's early enough sit and read a book watching the traffic, human and machine pass my door. As the evening gets later the sounds of all around penetrate the barrier of being busy to a vegetative state of  pure Satisfaction,  as I sit and meditate and reflect on the day, yesterday, tomorrow and the distant future. I'm making a plan for some things I might want to do in the near future.

Being retired and living in one of the most laid back places in the world, I find so many more choices, so many vibes, so much more to do, but when and at what pace I want it to be. Should I take a local bus, rent a car, get a charter, take the big bus. to go to which ever corner I choose to explore. Back in July Lynette and I decided to take several late afternoon and evening rides to No Where, courtesy of Mr. T in the areas around Negril, if we've had dinner we get drinks and ride, leaving the route in his capable hands.  A really good driver, person, entertaining and very generous in sharing his past, and reasoning. He has some back road trails that make an evening drive being enjoyed by a couple of friends a Joyful thing. If we've not had dinner he knows where some cook shops with some very tasty yard food.

I also like that even though I am not sure of long term, however long that is. I have some preferences now, big town, little towns, concrete,, city. I still want to enjoy the big and the little things, try hard, and I mean really hard to not let the negativity, drama and stress others want to peel off them selves and lay at your feet get any where near me.

I look forward to everyday, sometimes my day starts 2 hours after the last one ended, but the fact that I still have not committed to a structured anything says a lot for my state of mine. I worked in Social Service and next was a Union Official which I hope explains my reluctance to do it now. Being someones Advocate is not always a smile and thank you, most times folks are not pleased  with you because, they did not get their way, are not pleased with the outcome, or feel you are just plain incompetent or too lazy to do what it takes to win. And you have to explain why they don't stand a chance in hell of winning their case.. And I just feel that if I sink in to any level my time will no longer be  mine.

Each One Teach One, Help, one person at a time, so I find myself on a smaller scale treading wata in the extending out too far in other people's bussiness. Unobtrusive, there if needed, but out of the way.

 I've learned, that in this culture it takes time to build up to the interest of trust, and that you are observed, critiqued, and basically run through the neighborhood committee before you ever get to first base. Folks want to know all there is to know about you, but are tight lipped when it comes to their business. This is as it should be. So if you want to fit into groups other than men, your driver, the guys on the beach, vendors, your best bet as a woman is to be more receptive of the Jamaican women I find most, ignore.

I've enjoyed being in an environment similar to the way it was, that neighborhood closeness and unity in everyone being equal in the fact of no one being any better or worse off than the people around you. For me not quite as poor, but not too far off. Same stock as my childhood. On the one side country, simple living and people, everyone eats from the pot. Over there on the countryside anyone at your yard when you share the food sits and eats under your table. Simple, everyone gets a bite till food finished. Same type of sharing as we did back then.

Watching and being a part of the day to day of from 1 year old Jazz, to 2 year old RJ, Chloe, Edward, Fine, Iris, Boisey, Barry O, so many interesting people, sitting in your yard and spending time getting to know your neighbors and the friends and relatives, or walking through your District and being checked out as the new person in the midst of families and friends who go back 4 generations, all still living in the same spot for all these years. Most times there are gatherings that include from the new born to the elders, still giving wisdom to their flock a time enjoyed by all. During the six months I was Country side, we went to it seemed 2 Nine Nights a month, which is a Jamaican Tradition of Nine Nights of Fellow shipping with Family and friends of the Deceased,  the saddest for me was two young men with families who were struck by lightening. I hadn't heard of such for over 30 years. So Bizarre.

It's nice walking through the District and having people know who you are because of who your folks are and then later, having them know you for you. Know your name be it 'fattie', 'fluffy' 'big ooman' calling out to you by name as you become a part of the community.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Is it Still Good to Me?

Thursday November 22, 2012
Thanksgiving Day.

Today is Thanksgiving. For me one of the slimmest, surreal, sweet. This day has made me realise how humbled I have been. I came back to realise that bad shit can happen. But I've known that most of my life, but this was to be a new faze of living and learning. Not necessarily better, just different, how many ways and how many time must one be taught that the are mean and evil people, who do mean and evil things and have no remorse, nor Soul. Just because they can. Just because they want to. Most even know there will be consequences, and repercussions, the do it anyway and Hope that things will work out as they want it.

I'm on the computer with several tabs open going back and forth reading stuff, Face Book, and chatting on a couple of Bulletin Boars. mostly trolling for pictures. OK I won't lie i enjoyed seeing my niece's dinner full of all the food both her Grandmothers, and her Mother and Aunts  used to cook for the winter/Family Holidays. Turkey, Ham, Beef, Sweet Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese, Cranberry sauce, potato salad and green salads, the string bean salad, we never had mashed potatoes at our table on this day, but I see many do.

Anyway a friend sends me a message telling me that  a long time co worker had passed. People know you know someone from work but most times do not know the nature or closeness of the relationship, well she sent me this message, I went through several emotions in one second, sadness, gratefulness, awe. Sadness because she was a nice lady. Gratefulness that it was not someone closer. Awe, that she was gone and not once did we make contact after she left as I am sure we promised when she left.

Today is Thanksgiving 2012 I'm still living in Jamaica and still Learning Life. Hope Everyone had a great day with Family. I was with some of mine via phone.

So much has changed in my Life. Hey, We'll Talk. Soon.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hanging with my Baby Part 2

The road we took through Sav La Mar, though the quickest is not the easiest road. Pot holes add to this rain first a trickle, next a down pour. Everyone knows i love the rain, especially in Jamaica, but today I could have done with out it. Not only did it make me fearful it gave me a headache. I know be careful what you wish for, but I did not wish for it to never come, just slack off a little so that we would not end up in a ditch or an orange field turned upside down.

Actually though, this is a beautiful route, you go through the hills, orange fields, neighborhoods,much more Local oriented. Children on the way from school, parents on the way to and from work. This route also happens to be the old route people traveled to come to Negril, before the more (to them) scenic Seaveiw road was built. In the days of old, Negril was a sleepy  Fisherman's town, but once the Flower people discovered it it became what it is known as today, a tourist town where anything goes. laid back, 7 miles of beach and scantily clad girls on the beach.

Hanging with my Baby

I hear lots of folk talk about the fact that they are not their children's friend. To each his own. As young children I always tried to convey to my two, that if ever there was a need, a stress, a threat, a revelation, a fear, a happy, estatic, a question, an answer, that I hoped they would always feel comfortable to bring it to me. I never wanted them to fear talking to me about anything, or if not me to each other, or someone they could trust.
This has resulted in us having discussions about everything, from, school, friends, first love, sex, just so many Whys about life, never flinching , never judging, never pouncing into anger and admonishing them for having the trust to share with me some, of thier inner thoughts and feelings.
Disclaimer: Now, mind you, I never did these things in front of them, but once they were out of ear shot I might let out a blood curdling scream of anxiety and then go and take care of the issue or digest this new information.
My Mama was this way, so I had a good teacher, however there have been things that now as adults they will share, that make me look at them with a question, sometimes shock.
But.... with them as well as my Grandson, the lines of communication have always been open. With life being as it is, everyone should have that someone they can trust to do what is needed in any given situation, even those they can do nothing about.........except be the shoulder when you are sad and the arms when you are happy.
Meet one of mine.

Look at the huge smile on her face. Been 10 months since we saw each other, and 2 years since she has been back to Jamaica.

My oldest Alisia. Mothers day has always been very special to me because she was born the Wednesday before Mothers Day of the year she was born, and I was released on Mother's Day, ready to be a Mama, I arrived home with my baby and several of my female family members were there, and we had to walk a sort of guantlet, they had to see how I handled her, if I was comfortable holding, feeding, changing her, after being satisfied with the results of their test, I was deemed good to go.

I've often wondered what the test scores would be now. But one thing that I know I love spending time, talking and reasoning with my Kids and they in turn still keep me in the loop, for me this means I did something right,because the lines of communication, and good conversation and fun still flows.
For the past 20 years we have made it a tradition to take a Happy Birthday and Mother's Day combo trip together.

I decided to ride to the airport with Mr. T to pick her up, my Folks were heading over to the South Coast, so we decided to take the Old Route through Sav over. I was reluctant because I wanted to come back home this way, wanted to stop at the Borders Jerk Center, for lunch, a place I learned about from RG777.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Country Roads Take Me Home

Country Roads Take Me Home

To the place I belong. Last year we spent 6 months in the yard on the South Coast, for me a time of reliving the past of my Parents and Grandparents and in some ways my own. But more from the telling of stories from my Mama and Daddy about the way they grew up. Life was simpler then, life here, now was/is simpler than what I’m accustomed to, this is why this time is so special to me.

It was a time of taking stock, just sitting and enjoying the little things , reflecting, meditating, writing my journals, reading many books, purchased as well as the old fashioned way, from the library, reasoning with from the 5 year olds, to the elders in my community, baldhead to Rasta, Moslem, to Christian, to Heathen, seeing things from a new perspective, and at times marinating in the sun till I became a golden brown, with thoughts of nothing beyond how tall the Sugar Cane was growing. Spending time with Myself and all who crossed my path. Through my harassing them or their reaching out to me, or from mutual interests.

The yard is on a corner lot, right across from the canefeilds, actually we are surrounded by sugar cane feilds for miles and miles.

The cane feild when we we arrived April 2011

Sugar canefeild by the time we left in December 2011. I  will miss the burning of the cane, an event that I am told is one of great enjoyment, everyone participates in some way, music, food, drinks for everyone, all ages , even RJ.
My Yard or my cozy outside verandah. See my country bench my guys built me. what looks like just a bunch of junk is actually what drew the kids to our yard, we had an old motor bike they could ride.

My mango tree canopy

Sunrise over the canefeilds, in April 2011

Our yard has three mango, and three ackee trees, the mango trees form a canopy that is my hang out spot most days, rain or shine, its my vantage point for watching everything and everybody pass through the district. A good place to hold court and classes. Many fascinating people passed my way.

My main crew were the kids in the District and I enjoyed watching their antics, cousins, brothers and
sisters, friends wholesome good clean child‘s play. The little man in the tram, RJ, his facial expressions never changed, always one of seriousness. He allowed them to carry him on their hips, push him around in the tram, he served as lookout on most of their fruit tiefing adventures with no complaints. It was fun watching the kids, to watching the animals in the yard and realizing how much their behavior is similar to humans.

My main crew

I had to keep a constant eye on the kids, they were always getting into something, one day we were sitting in the yard and Chloe walked by, she came back immediately with an angry look on her face to inform me that Edward and Jean had started a fire, seems they had gathered eggs, gone into the kitchen for a pot and proceeded to start a fire around the corner out of our view, to cook them, but little miss Chloe busted them! Funny, the fire they built was better than the one T had built earlier to roast fish and breadfruit.

Roasted fish, cooked on the coal cook pot along with roasted breadfruit. Cooked outside and eaten right there, inna yaad. Very Tasty.

It seemed that every one in our District is related or connected in some way, 3 and four generations of Sugar Cane employed families and long time friends. In our family Granny had 11 children, with 3 sets of twins one girl/boy set and 2 girl/girl sets. All but 2 had children, who had children, who had children, so we are talking an extended family of over 40 people, 4 generations, most who still live in the district or nearby, a few have gone foreign, or in other Parishes working, but traditionally some of their kids are being raised by the grandparents. They don’t believe in farming the kids off to babysitters outside the family, so babies are sent home to Mother for a time. 

Granny lives in the home of one of the daughters and her husband, who live in foreign, but her caretaker is one of her other daughters and everyone goes by to spend time and check in with her. All around the district this is a practice, sending parents to Old Folks Homes is not a standard practice here, majority keep their families together. Connected. There are many cases where non family members move in with or move non family into their homes to take care of them. This is a very close knit community. Not saying there are not issues, but I love that when a situation arises, someone intervenes and most times it gets squashed. People check on the elders and look out for the children. Or in my case the kids just decided I needed looking after.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Rainy Day in Jamaica is like no Other

Sat March 1, 2012

Pure heavy rain, of course by the time it started we had already put the plants back on the veranda. Sadly seems like all my neglected likkle friends and plants are dying on me. But I will nurse them back to health! Need to take a long Sunday drive, so I can see what I might find on the road, a buddy once told me, when I travel carry siccors so I can clip other peoples plant as I go, maybe not a good idea, but she has many beautiful ones unlike these poor babies of mine.

My neighbor next door is moving, owner of Terrible Tommie, and Auntie of Mis Jazmine. Good/Bad our houses are so close to each other that when one sneezes the other one says Bless! The first time she did that I had been in this yard for 1 1/2 years. We were always cordial and polite with good words to speak to one another, but after that day it was more of a Sista Friends kind of talk where you talked about life things of as much of a personal nature as you choose to share, both knowing that each of you would tell your man, but no one else. But holding back all of the deep intimate conversations because those were for your ears only. Just two women from different places, different generations, but same where it counts, we are both women, no matter what our differences are we still walk some parallel roads. Leading to the same place. Love, Happiness, Healthy children, Peace, Friendship, no matter we all want some of these wishes, and dreams. Same.

Some days I'd be sitting in my living room and I'd hear "ehh!" no answer next Ehh! no answer RRARA!! calling my name she's 11/2 and this is one smart sweety. Always pretty in pink, top to bottom. There is baby Jaz  standing on top of her crib in the window, you look through and the biggest, prettiest pure white with ebony pupils looking out at you refusing to acknowledge you if you were a female, but the guys in the yard got all the play. She has started coming to visit a few weeks ago a couple of times I kept her for a few hours, I fell in Love and plan to continue keeping her in emergencies. Even with her stubbornness she is one sweet sweet baby.
Jazz and her toys
Isn't she lovely&

Most of the above were pictures taken, just so I would remember this particular Rainy Day, In My Yard. March 1, 2012 Sitting on my Veranda of my Little Cottage in Negril.