Memories of Christmas

Submitted by Heather Cole

I do not have to close my eyes to remember Christmas Carols on the radio. However, I have a passion to hear live music being played by a band and next to the Black Fingers Band of my childhood years, my next favourite was the Royal Barbados Police Band. Christmas mornings in Queens Park would have been boring without them. To me they were the highlight, the icing on the Christmas cake.

Christmas in Barbados is an event. The preparations start sometimes before Independence Day which is on November 30th. December 1st started a mad scramble in Barbados because no matter what was to be done, it was to be done for Christmas.

Little as I was, like everyone else I had something to do in preparation for the big day. I help scrubbed the floors, we brought sand from the beach in little skillets which were as much as I could carry, and we would sprinkle it in the yard. We cleaned the furniture; wash all the porcelain dishes and glasses that we never used. They just had to be cleaned for Christmas.

Soda bottles or sweet drink bottles were washed and put in cases. We bought whole cases of these drinks, wine, ham and lots of fruits. Getting many presents were not really the big thing in my family, we were content to get that new outfit to go to Queens Park to be on parade just like everyone else.

So imagine waking up on Christmas morning and it is cold outside, the sand on the ground made it look like snow or sort of, and there is the fragrant smell of the lady-in-the night coming in from the bush by the front window and added to it all, the smell of baked ham and freshly baked bread, cake and pudding. The house is spotlessly clean, new curtains are hanging; everything looks polished and brand-new inside. Outside, the poinsettia is reigning in its glory, its red flowers putting everything else in the shade.

We woke up early to go to church, which started at 5 a.m. I can remember it used to be as if I had just closed my eyes and I would hear my mother calling me to get up. When we walked through the woods I was more asleep that awake in the crisp morning air. Sunrise would greet us in church and it was only when you got outside that you could really see what the other people were wearing. After church my cousins took us to catch the first bus to Bridgetown and from there, we walked to Queens Park.

Everyone went to the park to show off their new clothes on Christmas morning. It was the thing to do. Like everyone else, we would stroll up and down the pathways; seeing what everyone else was wearing. We bought glazed candied apples or fresh apples if we did not want the candied ones.

To top it all, was the music the band played. It set the atmosphere for that pleasant day. Rather in my mind, it was as though the music cast a spell. William Shakespeare wrote that “all the world is a stage, and all the men and women mere players: they have their exits and entrances…” he failed to mention an orchestra that directed the activities on the stage.

If he was alive in my early years and saw what I had seen through my eyes, I am sure that he would have agreed with me for I saw the orchestra Shakespeare did not see. The Royal Barbados Police Band seemed to me to be performing a symphony that heralded the part of each player that came onto the stage that was the park.

There was music for everybody. They played marches, carols, traditional songs and other popular songs. All throughout the performances of this great event, the music played. At curtain call when the music stopped, all the actors, dressed in their finest clothes bowed and disappeared.

All my Christmases were not filled with music and excitement. There is a time that stands out in my mind when my mother did not have enough to fill our lives with excitement. That year Christmas was bare of all the preparations and clearing the cobwebs in my mind, we must have wondered why she was not bringing home any packages; she did not bring home any port wine, no falernum, no ham or flour to bake sweat breads. She did not even talk about what we would wear on Christmas morning.

Through it all, I remained hopeful but by Christmas morning I was sad. That day all she prepared was a simple meal, it was all that she could afford. It was a good thing that my uncle came by as he usually did at Christmas to bring ham, sweet bread and drinks and it made us happy. However, the memory of those goodies was fleeting, lasting no longer than a snow-cone.

What I will forever remember apart from our bleak meal is the story my mother told us on that Christmas Day. It was a story that an old man had told her of the Christmas Day that he had nothing to offer to his family. Zander is what we called him, but I believe that his real name was Alexander Yarde. He was a small farmer who worked a quarter acre of land behind our house. The year in reference must have been a difficult one. I do not recall if my mother told us the circumstances but when Christmas Day arrived, Zander did not have one red cent to buy anything for his wife and family. All he had were canes in the field. He made a swing with rope and a piece of wood and hoisted it from a tree. They sucked their bellies full of sugar cane juice that day and took turns on the swing all day long. There was such laughter and happiness that it turned out to be one of the most memorable days that they had ever experienced as a family.

From that, I knew that our plight was not new; it was not desolation it was not the end of the world and like my mummy said there will be good times and bad times; ours just happened to be on that Christmas Day.

Joseph on the first Christmas Day had nothing to offer to his wife or his first-born son. If you are fortunate enough to have more than you need this Christmas, please share with those who have lost their jobs, with the single mothers and their children. Remember the shut ins, those with children far away, the homeless, the desolate, the lonely and those in need of care. Put a sparkle in a child’s eyes as my uncle did long ago when I thought that all was lost. Have a Merry Christmas!

312 comments

  • ….the charges were brought solely on what a DEA SNITCH SAID…who himself was a convicted criminal….THEIR CRIMINAL….this might be a good time to stop allowing the US to cause you to criminalize your own people, based only on their say so…without solid and definitive PROOF.

    Like

  • I rarely ever quote statements by Chomsky, but this should teach the uninformed and limited intellect Enuff, what I really meant, poor soul can use all the help “he” can get….”he” still got 4 years 6 months to go of making “himself” look foolish..at “his” own expense..

    “Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people into a system of debt, they cannot afford the time to think. Tuition fee increases are a “disciplinary technique,” and by the time the students graduate, they are not only loaded with debt, but has internalized the “disciplinarian culture”. This makes them efficient components of the consumer culture.”

    Noam Chomsky

    In this particular case, Barbados has lost out big for decades on brain drain because of bad minded, jealous minded, useless, corrupt government ministers…and nothing will ever change that REALITY.

    Like

  • I thought Mia as Opposition leader and the BLPites on this site were complaining when the last government started to enter and concentrate on foreign business through on island offshore medical schools.

    It just goes to show that this government had no ideas or serious plans about generating foreign investment – the only plan they had was to win the elections at any cost.

    So all she is doing whether its tourism,off shore sector,agriculture construction plans – whatever – she is relying on the plans the Dems- that she said was incompetent – put in place and she is running with that it seems.

    This after being Opposition leader from 2008 – with a short break in-between – enough time to formulate serious economic,crime,education etc policies.

    Remember leading up to the election Mia never gave you a full manifesto but instead she gave what she called a ‘mini manifesto’ with a promise to deliver the real thing.

    Are we going to be relying on the IMF loans to boost the foreign reserves going forward then ? Steupes

    Like

  • Abigail
    Limited intellect, but I know the difference between a candidate and an MP. Anybody can cut and paste, none better than you. That’s why you were confused and accused Dr.Hinds of taking public funds under false claim. Here once again you’re talking nonsense, and no one else on the blog is willing to call you out for the repeated untruths. Unless you cut and paste, most of what you post is filled with wrong info.

    Like

  • Enuff 68…do you really think that is the reason…OR..is it that anyone who thinks ministers and candidates are the beginning and end of life..and are THAT IMPORTANT …is really and TRULY of limited intellect…ah think that is what it really is…

    what you see as IMPORTANT…I don’t, I see the same people as BENEATH ME..big difference..

    …anyone who PARROTS and MIMICS ministers, candidates and politicians…ARE OF LIMITED INTELLECT…..for the simple reason that YA ARE UNABLE TO THINK FOR YASELF..

    I have no such problems…

    BTW…everyone knows ya full of ish…lol

    All politicians whether they are candidates or MPS…take public funds under false pretences…they lie and lie and spread false information…particularly to yardflowls…who are NEVER WELL INFORMED..

    Like

  • TInniss
    Stop lying. Here are two extracts from the last manifesto:
    “We will also pursue wider tourism activities in education, health and sports tourism that can be developed in the centre and east of the island from St.
    Lucy to St. Philip.”

    “If Barbados is to realise the optimal benefits from the sector, we must broaden our understanding of and
    approach to tourism and hospitality, to embrace the idea of the visitor economy. This concept encompasses broader economic activity such as events, sporting
    competitions, festivals, conventions, exhibitions, as well as education and sports tourism.”

    Like

  • TInniss
    You ever hear bout Gabby song ‘Cadavers’? Please don’t talk about the BLP lacking ideas and mention offshore medical schools 🤣🤣🤣

    Like

  • Indeed the first jury could not even come up with a verdict. One wonders what new evidence there was in the second trial. Some people think Buju was set up because of ‘Boom Boom Bye Bye” which advocated for the shooting of homosexual men. I don’t agree with the sentiments he expressed but I do not agree with a set up either. Now if it was marijuana possession rather than cocaine distribution I would have believed that in a flash.

    Like

  • The new ECFMG standards are a game changer for the Caribbean medical education post 2023. I have always believed the vast majority of schools in the Caribbean will close down or they will change their marketing strategy to attract non-North Americans. Some schools have already started doing that by marketing to students from Nigeria, India, and Middle East who would go back to their respective countries for clinicals or residency.

    The larger Caribbean schools will see their market shrink as residency spots become more competitive. For now, all schools are trying to make as much money as they can before the storm hits. They know full well the end is near. This is all the more reason to be careful if anyone is thinking about the Caribbean school because schools will do whatever they can to get as many students as they can.

    Another trend that is alarming is the availability of legitimate clinical education. Clinicals have dried up for most schools and those who still have them have to invest millions to keep their spots. Most Caribbean schools are cheating their students by sending them to doctors’ offices where they learn next to nothing and will have no inpatient experience. Those students could face hurdles with state licensing boards when its time to apply for a license. What many people don’t realize is that doing a residency does not automatically entitle them to an independent license to practice. State boards still scrutinize and verify clinical education, and in some states, even basic sciences and premed credentials. So there are many pit falls along the way and most students, at least the ones I have seen, have no clue about these issues!

    The last I heard even St. George is up for sale and is looking for a buyer!

    Like

  • WARU
    Hahaaaaaa, more obfuscation. You accused Dr.Hinds of collecting taxpayers money and not doing anything. Massive lie, because the man was not an MP and therefore not receiving any taxpayers money as a politician. I choose to call you out for your arrogance and arrant nonsense. If you can’t get the basics right, why should I waste my time engaging in “intellectual” debate, which ought to he grounded in evidence/facts? I have always been taught that it’s pointless to throw pearls before swine.

    Like

  • John
    December 27, 2018 6:41 PM

    Fortunately nobody will want the internal organs of me, my parents, my siblings, my children nor my grandchildren, since according to Georgie Porgie we are all a bunch of smoking, drinking, drug taking, ungodly, criminal, and no doubt STD ridden whores.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    It is you who claim to have children from an unknown father and are looking to pin paternity on GP!!
    It is you who forgot the father of your children.
    It is you who are pulling a Stormy Daniels claiming an illicit affair with GP!!
    Don’t you realise what you have said?
    Lexicon thinks this is acceptable and normal behavior to be expected from a woman.
    After all, look at Stormy and her protestations!!
    Me, I suspect it may be early dementia … but then I am not a doctor, not even by half.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Has your family pulled your computer privileges as yet?

    Stormy looking for megabucks for wasting Triumph’s time!!

    Like

  • I remember back in the days of christmas, if you didnt had any money to buy cases of drinks, people would just laugh and point their fingers at you, and tell how you didnt get any drinks for xmas, like the drinks are only available on xmas day. Now those same sweet drinks causing lots of diabetes and high sugar levels. If you drink a bottle of water, thats more healthy than sweet drinks. Then you have the great cake, but people put too much sugar and rum in it. You can celebrate xmas any day. I remember people would go in queens park dressed in suits and winter coats, and women dress in nice dresses, and look to see what you wear in the park, but all you do is walk around. If you didnt have new blinds, low and behold people would say, oh she didnt had any new blinds, are the windows complaining about new blinds? In big countries christmas have another meaning, and that is to get all the nice bargains and cheaper items, you see people rushing for things they not going to use anyway. Then the day is gone before you know it.

    Like

Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s