Your Memories Live Deep Within
Cheeks Puffed out
Eyes partly closed
Grinders studded with silver
I see no more
Animated gestures, jumps, prances, dances
I see no more
Phrases, stories and proses
I hear no more
But... YOUR MEMORIES
Live deep within my HEART
Never to be erased
Your steps I try to retrace
Your ways I embrace
I MISS YOU SON
I Know you are safe
in the arms of God!
How do I say goodbye to one I love so dearly? How?
So suddenly you departed, no time for hugs and kisses and our usual wishes.
Life's journey ended, yet my love for you will never die.
Warren, no more will I see your beautiful smile,
no more will I hear your contagious laughter,
no more will I see you dancing, prancing,
gesticulating or advancing as you grew into a handsome young man
Oh! What beautiful memories of the times we spent together
Oh what beautiful times they were.
From the first thug of implantation to our final moments together. These are what I cherish.
Son, you have lived a full life, one of love and good deeds. Your kindnesses will always be remembered.
The Love we shared will never die. Your absence leaves a void in my heart; my whole being has felt the loss.
God knows what's best for you and I. God knows you had completed your tasks.
Now I say Good-bye, Good-bye my son until we meet in glory land.
SOME OF DAD'S WRITING
The Son who made me a father.
It is said: Self praise is no recommendation.
In this vein I'll take the liberty of being presumptuous enough to opine that I believe I was a good father (in my son's brief life time) without providing evidence of it. This year will be 23 years for me as a father and I say "will" as I'm still Wärrën Oneil's father. To a lot of his friends and associates that's how I'm yet described. I'm also known as the man who lost his son and never found him.
As most parents are aware, we tend to lose our identities when we get our kids.
I believe too that I've become a better dad since his passing. The tragedy made me appreciate him and other kids much better. His passing helped (as a matter of fact contributed exponentially) in increasing my capacity in learning to appreciate life's little irritations. When it came to tinkling time, he was a poor marksman, his aim was poor and he found the porcelain throne a hard target. It was evidential to the nose. I use to wonder if with maturity his aim would improve but when I thought of most public male urinals I banished the thought. It was a wee (pardon the pun) bit irritating but I wish I still had that smell today.
His passing has truly taught me, that the "inevitable" will happen.
I bought his first bicycle in Guantanamo Bay. As the doting young father I bought him helmet and knee pads to protect him from head and other injuries, I would warn him against touching any dangling electrical wires he'd see on the streets, I'd have hundreds of conversations about the sea and drowning yet that was how he died (or we presumed how he died). We can plan and pray but things don't always go as planned (well as we plan them anyway), though if you seriously think of it, there is a plan, a divine one (which at times is hard to accept or fathom). Ofttimes it takes a spiritually mature eye to see the pieces of the "puzzle" falling into place and accepting that they are correct and couldn't be discarded as they are integral to the "whole". Wow's passing has helped me to attain that place of spiritual maturity and acceptance of divine plan. All Father's Day since his passing has been tremendously sad for me but when I look on my favorite picture of him there seems to be in his expression: a plea to me to be happy, and also one of his favorite utterances "is awright".
I'll be happy for you son. You made being a good father easy.
**A life not in vain**
When Pëë and I lost our son Wärrën, we did not go looking for persons to blame nor a God to be angry with. We mutually accepted our ordeal and sought avenues to turn our trial into triumph. We believe we have been successful in this. We still continue to hurt despite the smiles. (When I look at my beautiful wife smiling from her heart as she presented another child and his parents an opportunity to feel good in the name of her ONLY child...I call that success L.W.). Thankfully we are able, through The Lord's leading to do what we are doing to help others in our dear son's honor. We hope it can be a good example to others to follow. We'll always speak about our son. Persons (because we never found his body and there is indeed no closure in this respect) ask if we're sure he's dead. From early after our tragedy, God has given us closure of another kind and that's acceptance that we won't see him again in this life. We've accepted that and have been moving on. Sometimes, like yesterday, we are overwhelmed with emotion and even cry. We expect that to happen till we die. (I cried yesterday L.W.)
We love (present tense) and loved our son for what he stood and stands for: kindness, benevolence a cheerful giving spirit. As the song says: If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain. Our son's brief life was not and will not be in vain.
**Tribute to my Dada who made me a son and also a man:**
My Dada was born Ernest Lambert Wallace. He had so many aliases but I'll list only a "few" by which he was affectionately known: Maas Ernest, Cousin Ernest, Uncle Ernest, Dada, Grandad, Grandpa, Sardine, Sir Wal, Porter, Bro Wal and Daddy Wal.
Dada was born to Alexander Adolphus Wallace and Fredricka Ellis on 9th April 1934 in the district of Cascade St. Mary.
He was the fourth of 10 children. Rhoda (Inez & Girlie), Mavis, Sybil (Monica) , Ernest, Thomas (Venill - deceased), Ruby, Donald, Setis (deceased), Patrick and Erma.
Dada attended the Newstead Primary School but fell ill at an early age. His illness almost took his life and affected his learning (to the uninformed you'd never know).
He grew up in the Cascade District and left as a young adult at about age 21, to find work in Port Maria. He lived in Bailey’s Vale.
Dada met and fell in love with Mama (Margaret Elaine Bailey) on the 24th of May 1961. She later became his wife on the 20th of June 1962. I guess I was a honeymoon baby as I was born 9 months later March of the following year.
The union bore 5 children, Georgia (Mello), Lambert, Marcia, Dwight and Franklyn. Dada and Mama fostered many children including: Winward (Phillip), Tamara, Donald, Kerine, Kenrick, and Kimani.
The family includes 16 grandchildren: Dwaine, Deane, Daenique, Warren (deceased), Derron, Nevonie, Kishoya, Kerine, Kenrick, Kemar, Kimani, Kevan, Kerona, Kandy, Eduardo, Gerrard, Daughter’s-in-law: Pauline, Carol and Sons-in-law: Handel and Reuben.
Dada was a very hard worker, he recounted with pride how adept he was at husking hundreds of coconuts daily on a plantation operated by an overseer Mr. Smith. He would cite instances in which he competitively outdid fellow co-workers in this task. Dada later worked at the Port Maria Hospital as a Porter. He was subsequently employed at Mizpah Furniture Establishment for a number of years as a Salesman, operating a branch in Retreat Content. He later went on to operate his own business: Lime Tree Emergency Gas until his retirement in 2005. He then returned to Cascade his place of birth where he lived until the time of his passing.
Dada was a devoted Christian who took his Christian walk very seriously. He was a member of the Ocho Rios Gospel Chapel and toward the end of his life he put a lot of his energy into visiting and witnessing; his aim was to win souls for Christ. His motto was “put Christ first”.
Instinctively upon being asked “how are you” his usual response would be “give God all the praise” or “it no mek sense to complain”.
Dada showered us, his children and grandchildren with love. He made great sacrifices for our comfort and advancement. We could always be found in his presence.
Dada was a true family man, a great provider for the family. He was a strict disciplinarian and took the belt to us with regularity yet we have not become serial killers or mass murderers (Defense used against corporal punishment - not abuse)
My father's ministry of help and kindness earned him the name father; uttered not only by family and friends but even strangers.
Dada was deeply loved and cherished by his family who stood by him to the very end.
At home were his wife Margaret with whom he spent 47 wonderful years. Sister Syble (Aunty Monica) who came to live with the family after she lost her husband and she has been a strong support. Sister May (Aunty who has been with the family and though visually impaired, she served as Nanny and teacher; supervising homework, and quizzing us on current affairs, my spelling and knowledge of timetable. Aunty May assisted and contributed greatly to my writing as I wrote all her letters). Also living with Dada was Granddaughter Kerine who lived with him since she was two years old. He cared for her like his own, ensuring her a high school and a college education. Nephew Donald, Grandsons Kenrick and Kimani also lived with him.
Dada was a man of humor, I learned from him the ability to laugh at myself. I recall him running in a race with six competitors, he came in last. When ridiculed he said to his detractors "it took six men to beat him" LOL!
If you learned to drive with Dada as your tutor, you learned well. He was very detailed in his instructions. He taught me to drive. One of his instructions was this: as you approach your parked vehicle, you should assess your surroundings and bear in mind all obstacles or objects and their proximity to the vehicle especially when backing up. He humorously told me that if my judgement failed I should go until I hear "BUNG" (a bang) LOL! Dada taught me to be responsible, honest, committed and hardworking
Though he lacked academic education he was wise and street smart. Happy Father's Day Dada. Love and miss you. You taught me to be a father and a man.
In closing I'll include a poem done by my brother Franklyn affectionately known as Chris.
WHY WEEP by Franklyn J. Wallace
I lived my life in great content
Despite the winds that blew
I tried to share my love with all…
With those I never knew.
I laboured daily, toiled with love
To nurture those at home
To those who mourned, I comforted…
Directed those who roam.
I never was a perfect man
Though I’ve been mighty strong
I’ve never been too manly
To admit when I’m wrong.
To all of you who knew me well
My smile you won’t forget
The gentle words, the kind advice
Would heal when one’s upset.
When conflicts raged and tempers flew
On me you could rely
To find the words that stilled the storm
And anger pacify.
I lived my life with love for all
Reflecting day by day
On deed that tore our land apart
I never ceased to Pray.
I do believe somewhere, somehow
There’ll be a brighter day
When all mankind will live in love
When the lost has found his way.
I’m sure someday we’ll all rejoice
In a place somewhere afar
Where all will sing the joyful song
Where there will be no war.
I must extend my gratitude
To all who touched my life
Friends, brothers, sisters, family
To my darling wife
I tell you now, I haven’t died
Just on a lengthy sleep
A full life I have lived, I’m tired
Rejoice for me!!! WHY WEEP
**This Morning It rained like Crazy**
This morning it rained like crazy as I got ready for work. I prayed that it would stop and that I would get to work dry. It never stopped and as a matter of fact I even got drenched as some motorists seemed to have derived pleasure in spraying me along the way. As I rode I reflected on my prayer and the fact that the answer wasn't what I desired nor anticipated. It dawned on me that the possibility existed of someone who needed it to rain more than I needed it not to. It could have prevented or quenched a house or brush fire thus sparing some lives or serious property damage. Sometimes the Sun is hot and we pray for cloud cover or for it to rain while someone may have put a wet carpet out to dry which needed intense sunshine. It made me appreciate that I do not exist in a bubble nor in isolation of others and their needs and desires. So when we do not get our wish, think that it may be to the benefit of someone else. It may sound stupid to some but I call it selfless reflection.
**Think of the destination but enjoy your journey as well**
Think of the destination but enjoy your journey as well.
I believe in saving for a rainy day but I also need to enjoy the sunny days.
I opine that there is no need in totally depriving myself of life's comforts leaving it to folks who probably won't appreciate it and blow it. I'll leave some yes.
I think of my destination as I travel and though my destination is a point of focus, I always endeavor to enjoy each and every pedal of my journey as well.
Every now and again buy something expensive to eat or drink or leave you smelling nice. If you analyze life, there are many who buy inexpensive things and toss them out because they either don't taste, smell or look good. At the end of the day their waste adds up to or exceeds the one expensive thing you bought and enjoyed every drop of. Think of the destination but enjoy your journey as well.
**Happy 24th Wedding Anniversary Pee**
Twenty four years ago I walked down the aisle of Tarrant Baptist church with the most spiritual, beautiful, loving, caring, good natured, thoughtful, ambitious, sexy (and many more superlatives) wife. Unlike the brides in most wedding ceremonies, she was not late. Sean Jones, my best man, didn't have much perspiration to mop from my brow (I was the better man that day). Happy 24th Wedding Anniversary Pee: My Best friend, My Wife, My Love.
I know I promised this to you for last night but am only now delivering it this morning, my apologies for my tardiness. LOL
Sunday, as I was leaving work, I saw an old lady trying to back out of her parking spot, there was another driver entering the parking lot ,who seemed to have had an extreme obsession with the sound of his horn, the button of which appeared to be somewhere on his seat, as "sitting on his horn", best describes his action. I always reason "if you are able to see the other driver and they cant see you, why not give a courteous toot of assistance/concession, bearing in mind that at other times the shoe is on the other foot, you back out too, right!?
Giving up my right of way and remaining alive is a better option than dying right if I had to make the choice.
When you think of it, cemeteries are filled with a lot of relentless right persons, especially drivers. I guess the "departed intrepids" must be somewhere now gloating "You know I'm dead-right" LOL!
As I continued home, I saw a boy of no more than 14 pushing a bicycle on the sidewalk. Both wheels of the bicycle appeared under-inflated, the rear actually looked flat. As I came closer to him and enquired what had happened to the bicycle he told me that he had not ridden it for over a year and so the tires became deflated and he was trying to find the nearest gas station to have them pumped. I told him I had a manual pump which he could use. When I presented the pump, he stood looking at it as if it were a space rocket or something complex which required a University degree to decipher, so I attached it to the valve for him and began pumping away. After about five minutes both tires were adequately inflated, I removed the pump, he told me his thanks I told him he was welcome. We bade each other goodbyes and I rode off into the beautiful sunset, feeling a sense of accomplishment.
While riding I couldn't help but remember a previous post of how I missed a ride from a co-worker and through missing the ride was able to help a Haitian who had suffered a flat on his bicycle as well.
I know you would like for me to cut to the chase, well here it is. How many of you watched on TV that fateful police High speed chase in Miami in which Maritza Millan Medina was killed by a crazy male motorist who had earlier shot to death estranged family members?
Many what ifs were asked.
What if the gate that cuts off the community was not there or what if it was opened. Some may even ask what if she had stopped to let another motorist out a little earlier in her journey or stopped a little longer at school, where she had dropped off her daughter? The point I'm driving at is this, sometimes we have to turn back at home or work for something or we may have a delay of some sort. We may consider these occurrences irritation but they could very well be for our self preservation.
Though the Lord didn't create us robots but gave us the ability to make our own decisions and provided us with choices, it is clear He sometimes puts obstacles/safeguards/speed bumps in our way to protect us. It could be in the form of an old lady backing out of a parking lot, a young cyclist or a Haitian with a need. Many times we ignore or brush past them to our own peril
As human beings we tend to bypass a lot of physical safeguards, we bridge fuses in home, automobiles or electrical devices which could result in fires or explosions. We avoid home car and other forms of insurance. Recently I was watching a TV program called "Caught on Camera" and in this particular episode there was a woman visiting a park, the woman went past 2 security fences toward a holding area of the zoo for bears, she went too close to the final fence and one of the bears was able to snare her. Fortunately she survived but it took almost an eternity for other park visitors to free her, not before she had sustained severe injuries to one of her legs.
In Numbers 22 there is the story of Balaam who slapped his donkey repeatedly as he unwittingly was heading in the path of a death Angel. He had the eye opening experience of having an ass speak to him.
I believe if the children of Israel were in a hurry to escape the pursuing Eqyptians in the Red Sea experience and ignored the Lord's command through Moses to stand still, they'd probably have hurled themselves into the Red Sea.
Friends, pause sometimes for a worthy cause! Do not ignore what may be a safeguard.
We are always seemingly hurrying to the point where we cannot help others in need and it could very well be to self destruction.
In closing I will concede that delay could mean danger as well. Follow your heart,follow the Still Small Voice, The Lord's Sheep hears His voice.Good Morning.
(To "meself")This probably full of typos as I need desperately to sleep.
**Nine years stronger.**
Nine sad years ago we lost our only child and dear son Warren.
This morning as I sit and reflect, I draw the conclusion that the worst “task” I’ve ever had in my life was to tell my dear wife that it appeared our son had died. I remember driving “up the road” to find him only to be told by one of the guys who was with him. I recall her response, I remember it as if it was yesterday.
I know the grief I faced then, and the pain I yet feel today, but even today, this very moment, I cannot come close to nor fathom the depth of grief my dear wife faces from day to day moment to moment at this tremendous loss. I say this not with an intention to quantify nor compare our level of grief. I have neither scientific evidence nor data. I however guess men and women grieve differently to the loss of a child. My guess is as a result of our own experience and our individual responses. My guess too is based on the fact that there is a 9-month bond (from conception to birth between a mother and child that is intimate only to the mother and not the father (no matter how close she is with daddy during pregnancy).
Nine years ago I was able to go through all the family photos (though washing them in tears) while Pee could not bear seeing them. I was very vocal, while Pee was more reserved. Few things have changed, though some have.
Nine later the pain gets no less nor lighter for us, there are still somethings we both dread hearing or seeing. We don’t like nor make beach trips anymore.Thank God we daily get stronger yes and so are able to bear some of the painful memories with less of a groan and volumes of tears.
There are still unanswered questions, nowhere to put some flowers where his remains lay, we don’t know where they lay.
There are persons whom we haven’t seen for years and, understandably, among their first questions is “How is your son?” It is difficult telling them he’s gone, harder still is the gory details they require.
People are sometime unintentionally hurtful. As recently as yesterday someone told me my son is dead and gone and I should forget him, I had to be gracious in my response. I thought why should I remember all the strangers of history and forget my son: bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh, someone who shared so much of Pee and myself in personality and character.
When it comes to grief I think it is better for people not to say anything, than to try being “counselors” (I think the grieving will understand).
I made this analogy somewhere before: The first time someone, who is unconditioned/physically unfit, attempts to pick up a 100-pound sack of cement (if not impossible) he finds it is extremely difficult…hard, requiring a great deal of effort to accomplish. Over time, however, with continuing practice is able to effortlessly hoist this sack like a bed pillow. The fact is the sack is still 100-pound but it is easier to bear.
We are nine years stronger, but the pain is still the pain.
At my place of employment I get to see daily, parents assisting kids struggling to learn to walk. I also see a reversal of roles, I see children assisting parents trying to remember how to walk. Life is indeed an interesting cycle...be very careful how you treat those in your care, tomorrow they could be your caregivers
**"Tell me things don't happen for a reason"**
Psalm 37 v 23 says: The steps of the righteous man are ordered by the Lord.
Antoinette Tuff was not even supposed to be at work on Tuesday. Although she was scheduled to be out of the office for the week, she went in to fill in for the secretary who usually sits in the front office, where Michael Hill appeared with his rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition. Antoinette Tuff, the Atlanta-area elementary-school bookkeeper who talked a mentally ill gunman into giving himself up to police this week, rightly became a national hero Thursday as the 911 recording of her role in the ordeal went viral. She gives credit to the Lord and the teachings of her Pastor.
"Tell me things don't happen for a reason".
Monday (August 19), a sympathetic coworker offered to give me a lift home. I felt for some tripe and beans so I told her I was going to pick up some honeycomb beef tripe and some Grace butterbeans, she said she was in a hurry as it was late but she too had a few items to pick up and we arranged to meet out front in the parking lot. When I went to the meat freezer there wasn’t any tripe, I saw one of the meat guys who offered to get me some from an internal freezer. This took a bit longer than I liked as he had to cut it up parcel and price the packages, after cashing out the items I hurried out to the parking lot. I did not see Sharon and as there were hundreds of cars in the lot and not knowing where she had parked or if she had already left I jumped on Lexy with my heavy backpack and started my 7+ mile journey home. The day in the earlier hours was very hot and I was very exhausted so I took my time as I got my nightly “cardiac workout”. About a 1/3 of the journey another rider, like a bat out of hell, blazed pass me as If I was standing still. I continued my slow trek home enjoying my leisurely ride.
About 2/3 of the ride or about 5 miles I saw someone in the shadows ahead and he appeared to be pushing a bicycle, as I got closer I recognized it was “batman” the rider who had earlier flown pass me. As he pushed his bicycle it wobbled and bounced appearing to have a flat rear tire. I could tell too that he was much younger than I am.
I encountered three voices, one said continue riding, the other said stop and help and the third was his, I had great difficulty with the last voice, trying to communicate was a challenge as he spoke creole and I didn’t. What was clear however was that he was going much further than I was and needed help. He probably had another 12+ miles based on his mentioning of a certain street with his thick Haitian accent.
He had no bags, pump nor containers on the bicycle so I presumed he had no tools or repair kit. I got down from my bicycle and removed my backpack which I placed on the ground. I searched for and removed my mini pump and repair kit which contains a sanding pad, patches and solution. I pulled out the tube and pumped some air into it to ascertain where the hole was. After this was determined and that this was the only hole in the tube I tried to find if what had caused the hole was still in the tire. It was still there, a one inch piece of mulch twig, you know those red ones placed in gardens? Yup went right through the tire. I removed this patched the tube, pumped the tire. While the solution was drying I borrowed his phone to call home as my battery had died and as I ended up running a bit later than expected. After this and being satisfied that the tube was holding the air I indicated that he rode ahead (just in case he needed his guardian angel again). For the final 2.5 miles of my journey he rode ahead sometimes skillfully gesticulating with one hand while holding his cell phone to his ear with the other, at times he appeared to be speaking about me and his “beesiclke” (bicycle). At my intersection I rang my bell to let him know we parted company there. He had about another 10 miles on his own.
Though with a bit of challenge (the following day) I was able to find out that he reached home ok and he wanted God to bless me. This was possible as I was able to retrieve his number from the caller ID at home.
Now don’t tell me things don’t happen for a reason! I was supposed to miss my drive home so I could help a total stranger who I could not understand nor could understand me and who would probably have had to walk 12.5 miles home.
A little information for persons who ride and get frequent flats. After getting my fair share of punctures I spoke to a bike policeman on how he survived all the sharp stuff out there and he introduced me to a product called Mr. Tuffy Tire liners. The tire liner is placed in the tire between the tire and the tube, it takes most things that would normally reach the tube, haven’t had a flat for the past 4 months even though riding over broken bottles etc. Despite this I still carry my puncture kit and ask the Lord to go with me daily.
Here’s a link http://mrtuffy.com/
**This World is not or home**
When I lost my son Warren and after that my Dada I really got to realize this profound fact: Life's trials are kinda reminders that this is not our home, we should never become too attached to anything. I recall one of the houses I rented a couple years back, it was nice but small and uncomfortable and the furniture barely held, I would constantly stub my toes trying to negotiate my way around them. A couple years later I moved into my own and it's like the furniture was lost in it. We have better things and a better place awaiting us!
**It isn't always obvious**
Saw this mom today in a parking lot with a baby in a carriage. The carriage was pink, the baby dressed in pink. I asked her if it was a boy or girl, with sarcasm she asked, "Isn't it obvious?" I told her no, as nowadays I don't know men from women, boys from girls. People cross dress, mothers cross dress their kids, the world has become so"liberated" anything goes. She immediately lost the look of sarcasm and replied "you know you are darned right"
I have a neighbor to whom I'm also related. He appears to some to be doing very well. Years ago he had businesses that thrived as he produced a number of quality goods and services from which he was able to export and amassed much wealth. Many of the neighbors around from all the various districts, streets, avenues and lanes benefitted from loans from this kind man. Over the years things took a downturn, after he decided to give up his production and export business and invest in something more like a pyramid scheme. He imported almost everything he needed.
Though things were spiraling downward, you'd never know. I however learned (from other neighbors) that our flamboyant neighbor is insolvent and bankrupt, but again you'd never know as he continues obsessive spending. He who was the greatest lender now owes everybody and he can’t stop they say as he has to maintain the wonderful lifestyle he has come to enjoy over the years. It's coming to a head now as word is going around and people who covered his losses are now withdrawing their assistance, I understand that almost all the banks have cut him off all except one. He wields a measure of power over this institution which without any collateral or clear assets continues to allow him unbridled credit and the ability to write checks as if there's no tomorrow. When he needs cash there is not a problem as his favorite bank like Thomas De La Rue appears to run the printing press nonstop for him.
But more and more of the shareholders of this final bank are having the jitters as they are convinced that my flamboyant relative's spending habits is unsustainable and a brake or a halt has to be put on his demands. His debt and liabilities far exceeds all the combined earnings of the neighbors of the community as well as the assets of the bank (his final bastion, his fortress). During the wonder years he was able to send his many kids (and he has a lot) to the finest of institutions, sadly most graduating but are now unable to find jobs. Family members still drive the finest of cars, wear the best of everything, shop and dine at the most exotic places. They are the "envy" of the neighborhood. They still live the life!
If these shareholders have their way it will be chaos as my neighbor and kids are unaccustomed to austerity. They have become so insulated that they'll have the utmost difficulty adjusting to a life of need. Can you imagine them turning up at their fine shopping centers and having their cards declined, or having their BMWs and Maseratis repossessed, their utilities cut off or having to scale back on their use of these amenities. Yet! a lot of us his neighbors and relatives are all dying for an invitation to visit and benefit from the apparent wonderful lifestyle and amenities our neighbor and his family continue to enjoy.
I believe if something is not done soon, it will be chaos for my neighbor who is also my relative, you may know him. He is:
MY UNCLE SAM
**The Lost White Honda**
I have a very "soft spot" in my heart for the elderly and usually go out of my way to help and be understanding to them. Call it selfishness or self preservation as I truly believe we reap what we sow and I'd like to reap goodness in my hoary and geriatric years. In these "old people" I see myself, if blessed with longevity of years, in a couple of years. I see myself with all their deficiencies, handicaps, "annoyances' and weirdness.
Last night in our very busy car lot, I encountered an elderly lady who in tears (real tears) asked If I could help her to find her car, I suggested that she use the panic button on her her remote to sound the car's alarm. She told me her daughter and husband were in the car (where she had left them to get a few items in the store) and that she couldn't remember in what lane they had parked. She was wandering around in the partially dark parking lot for over 15 minutes, she told me. That's not easy in our huge shopping lot which is also an occupational hazard for us young agile workers yet much an elderly emotionally charged person.
I asked her to describe the car. She told me it was recently rented and that it was a white, new Honda station wagon. I suggested that she make her way back to the store and wait in the lobby and I would try to locate the car and her family. I also told her I would either take a family member to her or have them drive to the front of the store or I would return to the store and take her to the car. She said she was tired of walking so she would remain where she was.
I went off on the adventure of a lifetime up and down the over 9 lanes. I could not find a white Honda station wagon anywhere. There were hundreds of white cars but none fitted the description. There was one white car, It was neither a Honda nor a station wagon and it only had an elderly gentleman as its passenger, no young woman! I returned to her and she was sobbing so terribly I almost started sobbing myself. She began to wonder if (as the store was busy and she had stayed an inordinately long time) they had waited out of patience and left her. I made one more round and could not find a white Honda station wagon anywhere. In my up and down I saw a younger lady who seemed to be searching for a car as well, this was not unusual as so many persons leave their vehicles distracted by conversation, texting etc not noting where they parked and on the return trip wander for minutes unending trying to locate their cars. It's worst too for those with older model cars without panic buttons or if they are not the driver and the key is left in the car. This young lady would later turn out to be her daughter who was supposed to be in the car. The daughter became concerned when mommy did not return so she had left daddy alone and (after unsuccessfully going through the store lane by lane cashier by cashier) decided to search the parking lot.
While I was in an adjacent lane to where mommy was waiting I heard animated conversation, It turned out that her daughter had found her. Fortunately, though the daughter had left the key and remote in the car, she had noted the lane number. I met up with them. I could hear her describing me as "the nice young man" who was trying to help her find the car. To be frank I did not feel too young after doing carts from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and had the additional challenge of trying to find a lost car. My feet felt as old as Methuselahs.
I accompanied them to the car to collect their cart. Interestingly, I had passed this car several times, and although it was white there were so many other lacking variables: The car was not a Honda, it was a Nissan Note which is also not a station wagon but a hatchback and had only an elderly passenger.
I know many will find this humorous and may even think the lady silly for not noting the lane in which the car was parked. I do not. Sometimes I hear acquaintances berating the elderly for asking stupid questions or doing stupid things. I refrain from joining in, as we know not what our impairments will be. In a couple years I may be just as "stupid" or "silly".
**Happy 52nd Anniversary Mama and Dada**
You may not believe but most of these lengthy epistles are typed on an iPhone with me laying on my back.
Today June 20, 2014 is 52 years since my parents had gotten married. Dada was 28 and Mama a year younger. I guessed they had all the honey from the moon as I was born 9 months later LOL! They weren't wealthy but you'd never know as they cared for us (their biological kids as well as those they adopted plus aunties and cousins, all of us living under the same roof) better than some with lots of money. Dada, the commuting hard worker, went out daily to take home the bacon, sometimes on Saturdays he'd follow his boss Mr. Vincent Mason to Portland (porkland) and brought home (though not bacon) tasty Boston jerked pork. This was a delight and a treat for us as he unrolled the sweets savory smelling greasy paper.
I recall him riding a bicycle for years. Over the years his mode of transportation evolved from his bicycle, to a Honda 50 motor bike, to a BSA Fleetstar a motorcycle designed and built in the 1960s and 1970s by the Birmingham Small Arms company in Birmingham, England. I loved that bike. At that time it was considered very powerful.
The B25FS had a 250 cc engine that produced 21.5 hp. Dada wore some reflective shades like that worn by Lieutenant Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti played by Sylvester Stallone in Cobra then. The BSA Fleetstar gave way to a Morris Minor pickup, then to another after an accident withe the first one, then to a Toyota hilux pickup and others.
Mama, the stay at home mom was both housewife (homemaker the now politically correct designation) and dressmaker. These two profession didn't go well together as she constantly had one or two of us five children entangled in her skirttail or hanging onto her legs (you see except for our big sister, four of us were "produced" one year apart like a car assembly line. 1963, 1964, 1965 and1966), I wondered if they had some sort of deadline to meet. This dual role led many days to customers waiting on our verandah for their unfinished clothing, some disgruntled while some amiable. Dinner not yet started and probably not before a slightly irritated but not quarrelsome husband coming home made me feel especially sorry for mama. I can't recall Dada cooking anything in my lifetime, his only relationship with the stove as far as I can recall, was to reduce the volume of the contents of the pots. I can't recall my parents quarreling, though they had their disagreements, one of which was how hard Dada flogged us. I preferred Mama's flogging anyday LOL! as Dada knew how to put it on.
People nowadays say I can cook, if this is indeed true, it as a result of me trying to help out mama in the kitchen. I would hear her sigh over the sewing machine or her cutting board as she stitched something or was expertly freehandedly cutting out a dress design. Mama never cut from predesigned patterns, she was a marvel. Her sigh would be accompanied with a little "boy this dress don't look like it going done for now and a don't put on a pot yet". Having a fair idea of the time that Dada would come home and not wishing to see a "long mouth" (long face), with empathy I would ask if there was anything I could do. Mama's usual response was that I was going to "bun up" (burn) the pot. People who know me well know that I'm "dedicatedly persistent" and so I never stopped until one day Mama gave me a little lesson and from then there was no turning back. I honed my skill in the little kitchen and contributed to a happy husband and father. I learned to make stews, pot roasts, soups, curried this and that, fried this and that, rice n peas, cakes and puddings, juices of all kinds. You name it!
If I can be called a pacifist Mama contributed a lot to it. Two of her favorite quotes: a soft answer turneth away wrath and render no one evil for evil, still ring in my memory.
Dada did everything to protect us. I recall a John Wayne moment when a man was discovered hiding underneath our cellar, Dada came out with his fish gun and pointing it at the intruder shouting at him with a stout "hands in the air". I found it most hilarious though it could have been deadly. There was another time we went on a Sunday School picnic. Lunch was served for the bus driver who after having left us at the picnic site went, it appears, to have a drink or two. When he returned his meal could not be found and all the pots were washed and turned down (as we Jamaicans put it). The driver was upset and he showed it in how he was driving us home. My protective Dada asked him to kindly stop and let us off. As kids we felt more than a tad embarrassed as the other passengers were snickering but when adulthood and parenthood came for us, we realized that we would not have had it any other way and would have done the same thing.
As the "fus (first) boy, I spent a lot of time with Dada. Spent most of my holidays "working" with him. Love him a lot but I have to be careful not to be lopsided but balanced in this tribute. :)
Mama was kind to a fault (still is). Extra soup or curried chicken on Saturdays to meet the needs of a few street people and indigents who would gather at a back step, some with their washed and personal veedol cans for their soup or curried chicken and rice and lemonade. Mama had a bank of "carriers" containers stacked on each other. This she would fill with meals and trek about 3 miles return, to deliver to inmates at the infirmary or some needy neighbour. Mama would give away the house now!
One year our parents gave us a serious scare. They had gone further west to a church function. Night came and we could not see them return which had us all worried. In those days, home phones were limited to the very wealthy handful and they were so few that the numbers were 3-digits. No kidding! There were no cell phones (obviously). While we waited the evening took on an ominous air. Cane was being burnt somewhere and the burning leaves wafted on the air and landed on us as we hunkered by the gate with the hope of hearing the Morris Minor rolling home. One of us voiced the concern: wonder if something happened to them and the cane trash was an indicator. It got really late and us kids went to bed but it appears as if the other adults of the house waited up. At some point in the night word came that they were involved in an accident, had suffered injuries and the van was "write off" (written off). Muffled conversation awoke me. I remember feeling a chill come over me when I heard the word accident. I thought Mama and Dada were dead. Thankfully their injuries were not life threatening and they soon recovered .
In those days, even if couples were lovey dovey, they weren't all publicly kissy face like today, I guess they thought it inappropriate. Despite this lack of outward expression in affection, I knew Mama and Dada loved each other immensely. There were just those little telltale signs, little petnames.
They remained faithful and committed to each other until Dada departed this life in February of 2010. In Dada's final days we all did what we could to keep him comfortable and have him feeling loved, Mama (along with a cousin Donald who Dada adopted, being there most of the times as us kids lived at a distance from their home) bore the brunt of the required care.
I recall that Dada had cravings for everything he was not supposed to eat. His case being terminal we deprived him of nothing. He had large servings of ice cream, real buttery shrimp in batter, the works - he died happy! He told me that he knew he was a little rough on us but it was for our good. I hugged him and told him he did a great job with us and all we had were praises for him. I know Mama miss her Dada a lot. We try our best to keep her happy and comfortable. She still strong and rambunctious. She always loved to and still loves to sing. She sang instead if quarreled. I believe I must have heard her a lot in utero as I find myself loving to sing a lot too and many of the songs she sang.
Happy 52nd Anniversary Mama and Dada. I'm gone only 24. Hope to do as you did or better. Show to the world that marriage is not a disposable commodity with a very short shelf life.
(Pardon any typos and structural deficiencies, I'm dying to sleep)