Monday, March 13, 2006

Last week

Not so broken

Last Sunday morning we drive past pink ‘n’ white ‘n’ lemon concrete houses; big houses with Carnival colours; li’l old wooden homes hanging on to they last nail; children playing cricket; we drive through wood smoke and curry aroma.

We been to visit a doctor friend and he wife from Eastern Europe. Doc. is like family, and he think of my mother as he mother, any favour he want my mother do for him. We very proud of Doc…although he do free work for plenty, plenty poor folks, he very successful…nothing like hard work and stick-to-it-ivness.

We drink tea, we nibble this, we nibble that, we conversation drift from here to there…

Suddenly…blashaiii…we car window break.

The grass cutter been working on the roadside, and a brick fly and break the window.

Doc. say was his fault, he park we car in a vulnerable place.

The next thing we know, Doc. phoning a fella in the countryside.

The fella sell car parts but he don’t sell to Doc. Doc. know the fella from ages back, he always look after the fella family, no charge, no matter what sickness, no matter how many hours he spend looking after them.

Before we could blink, Doc and the fella arrange and bring the new window the next day.

Is the same thing happen with the tech. guy who look after my computer.

He is related to Auntie M husband, Uncle J. I don't know what his real name is, I only know his nickname is Andre, he is a Muslim, and he polite and professional, kind and patient.

I want to believe that Auntie M. or Uncle J. or they daughter tell he something, I don’t know, he refuse to take payment.

He say to me, “I didn’t have to do much work on your computer. I do this for you, maybe one day you can help somebody else.”

Yes, do the same, and pass the message on.

Maybe, maybe, we the people ain’t so broken after all.

The martinet

After the visit to Doc and he wife, we visit a sick uncle. Is not a real uncle, he is the family of family of family. Of family. Etc.

There, I meet a martinet for the first time.

She is an almost-curvaceous middle age woman with thick, black hair, thin mouth and hard, dark eyes. I hear about she before, she got a small catering business; her husband die a few years ago.

All o’ we in the room with uncle Faraz. My mother sit on the only small settee near the window and the woman sit near my mother, on the arm o’ the settee.

I say, “Mummy, you better peep and see if we car alright.”

The woman look at me with she hard, dark eyes.

She say, “Car? Don’t worry about the car. Put aside material things. Material things are not important.” She rest she hand on she cleavage. “It is what is in here that is most important. Forget the car.”

I explain how the car window break and I say, “Anybody can steal the car now.”

“Oh,” the woman say.

We discuss how uncle Faraz don't want to eat much.

The woman say to Uncle Faraz wife, “You want me to cook for him and send the food to you?”

An odd thought pop into me head but I keep it quiet: Excuse me? Auntie can’t take care of her husband? She need YOU to cook for him? Hm, I wonder if you trying to prove your womanhood and superiority. To show that you’re a better cook...that your food gon nourish this man better.

Uncle Faraz wife politely decline, shake she head, vague, vague, and come and sit near me on the wood floor.

The gyaffing…the chatting…circle around this, that and the other. Suddenly, the woman jump on a soapbox.

She launch into a speech about children today, they have no discipline, it’s because of the things they watch on tv, especially local tv, like the half naked, big women with they flesh bulging out o’ they skimpy clothes, they look so vulgar. Her little grandchildren been watching this one day and she tell them, “Switch that off now!”

Nobody say anything.

She continue. She say when she been visiting Canada, she tell her grandchildren who live there that if they give she any trouble she wouldn’t think twice to slap them hard.

The children tell she they gon call the police.

She say, “Go ahead, call the police, they don't look after you, I do.”

She had a cane she used to discipline her own children with and they used to hide it. She brought up her children STRAIGHT, and that is why they so good now.

My mouth itching, itching to say something. I couldn’t stop it. I say, “Oh boy, you're lucky you didn't have children like us. My mother could never catch us to spank us, we used to run, hahaha...”

The woman glare at me and say with all the grrrrrrr in she voice, “I. WOULDA. KETCHHHH. YOUUU...”

And she eyes GLEAM, you could see the thoughts churning in she brain, all the things she woulda do to we if she did only catch we.

Heh. To think that some folks believe we would have peace if women rule the world.

Verandah talk

The last time I sit in we verandah was Tuesday night, trying to forget computer woes…this was before tech guy.

My mother like to sit in the verandah at nights, sit and wait.

Waiting for the red fire in the sky. Meteors, she say.

She saw them on five different occasions, many years ago. Between 7:30 and 8 o’ clock, speeding from the northeast.

She say the red fire was about 30 feet wide; it fly straight, swerve, then shoot straight again, taper off and disappear.

My mother say she read that the lower heavens are decorated with stars. Beyond a certain place, beyond a certain lote tree, jinns and other unwanted creatures can’t pass to enter heaven. But every now and then they try to listen in to what is going on in heaven, and they are chased by a flaming fire.

Then she change the topic. She say how, in the 60’s [when we were a British colony], some British soldiers find a strange child in we interior.

Apparently, whenever they fly over a certain part of the jungle, they see a li’l girl running into a cave. They look for her and bring her to the Georgetown hospital. The newspapers say she had strange scaly skin.

Around the time that she been in the hospital, a family friend son been there too. My mother and a cousin went to see the son. My cousin ask them nurses for the li’l girl.

My mother say, “They point out the child, she been running around, playing. She had a pink complexion, the scales gone from she skin. Was a very pretty Amerindian child, 10 years old. Them nurses say when rain fall, she does run out and play and play. And when rain ain’t fall they had to give her a tub of water to play in.”

Lemme tell you, after this, computer problems delete from my mind that night.


Friday morning bright and early I been trying to kill a fly...or rather, my mother having breakfast and ordering me to kill the fly that bothering she.

The fly refuse to sit still to get kill. My mother saying, “Ketch it, look it there, kill it, nah! My hand more accurate than yours.”

I saying, “Why you don't come and kill it then?”

She say, “I can’t, I having breakfast.”

So there me is, chasing fly, she calmly eating breakfast and directing me where and how to kill the fly away from her. And the fly refuse to cooperate. My mother say she really hates flies.

I say, “You should mind a big fat crapaud to eat flies for of them big fat toad with warts on they back, when dawg or cat bite them, the dawg or cat die.”

I tell she how in oz they got the terrible cane toad, and if I ain’t wrong, them Aussies did first take them toad there to control something, but the environment don’t have what it takes to control the toad so they overrun the place.

I say, “Maybe them Aussies should come here to study what it is we have in our environment that control them toad...if is the same kind of toad.”

My mother say, “We don’t have one darn thing to control them...

...They just scared of Guyanese.”


DaveM said...

Hey, I'm the first one. I bet you get loads of comments after being away for a while...........nice to have you back. As usual great stories, especially the Doc one. Cheers, D

cadiz12 said...

so glad you're back! and that the computer's fixed. this set is great work. but what a mean gramma!

Anna, Fair and True said...

Sweden was the first country to prohibit and make illegal any sort of child abuse and that includes just regular spanking. We don't solve conflicts about adults with violence (or at least most people don't) so why do some people think it works on children? What sort of example does that set?

Hayden said...

ah GG, lovely to have you back, and with such an abundance of riches to make up for your absence! Three stories at once! I know now that this will be a very good Monday.

Caribbean Colors said...

Lovely stories GG. Glad to see your puter fixed and back online!

PI said...

What a post. Good people - bad people - your lovely Mum - I'd give a lot to see you two together.
You have brightened up the day which has been full of 'You are not allowed to view this page' ao I've been switched off most of the day.
God bless GG.

patita said...

ooh, it's like finding treasure to have so many new posts at once! very glad to see you back online.

Raheel said...

Your mom sounds so lovely. Glad that you are back!

Ancient Clown said...

When I was growing up, and to this day, people would/will come from over 50 miles away to get my Dad to fix stuff for them, or make something for them...he's never had a business or a shop or a sign...people would/will just come.
He's always helped them all, if he could, and he only ever charged them, if anything, as "much as they could afford to cover any materials used and to do the same for others".

Dan Flynn said...


There I was enjoying The Martinet when all of a sudden the words “I. WOULDA. KETCHHHH. YOUUU...” leapt off the page and made me jump! Bloody hell, I bet she would KETCHHHH YOUUU and any other poor child that was caught in her orbit. Make's me shiver just thinking about the certainty of her convictions.

On a lighter note, your mother sounds like she's really dry and funny, and wry. I like the image of her calmly eating breakfast whilst both directing and criticising her daughter's skills as a fly catcher. Parents, dontcha just love em? Unless they're Martinets of course. I bet the she'd have killed that fly stone dead with just one look. In fact I bet there's no flies in her house. Too frightened.

DCveR said...

Thank you for this precious update... I missed your posts. No, not all people are broken. Bet if you had even started to go broken your mom would've mended you in no time! A nice family is the best way to never become broken...

cream said...

I remember the martinet! The cat'o'nine tails! Got a couple of whippings before I was ten!
But did me no harm, I think!

Robin said...

Now dontcha just know that the martinet is a deeply unhappy woman,... but dosn't know it herself.
All these stories at once! such a lot of sunshine in one go, I've got to get my sun glasses... and a shady hat...and a cool drink...and a fly swat!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Heh, I didn't think of that Robin, that she's could be right. Mean folks are usually not happy at all.

Cream! You didn't know how to run? I'm glad it didn't affect you negatively. I don't think beating a child is the right way though, not the kind of beating I've seen some folks do. Terrible.

My theory Dcver is that good families make good communities make good societies.

Dan, we should set the martinet on some of those cats that torment you, man. She'd find some way to terrorise them for you, make them run.

Yes, my mother has a dry sense of humour, it's true.

Hello Ancient Clown, welcome. Now that's interesting...I just never think of folks overseas fixing me, they throw away everything...what sort of things did your dad fix?

Hi Raheel, yes, she's not too bad, my least I'm never bored, hahaha...

Patita, it's the whole week all in one, phewwww.

You too, PI? I was getting the same message, couldn't get on Blogger. argh. Oh, as for me and my mum, we do argue sometimes too!

Caribbean, I just got an idea, send your vehicle here to get fixed, haha...

Hayden, I'm trying to catch up too...ever noticed how sometimes there's lots to write about, then sometimes nothing?

How do folks discipline children over there, Anna? Here people are completly baffled as to how to discipline a child without hitting the child.

Cadiz, she should work for the army, that's what!

Davem, it still surprises me when I meet goog guys like Doc and tech. guy.

Ale said...

haha maybe the aussies should import the Guyanese to control the toads....!! eeehhee, but than the Guyanese would overrun the place ;) - BUT DONT worry- than they should import some new yorkers! we can scare anybody!!!

R2K said...

I would stress the maybe. But it is a good thing to hope.


Kingston Girl said...

I was thinking about you a lot yesterday as I spent most of the day trying to make calls to Guyana... and couldn't get through!

Ancient Clown said...

Hi Again:

My Dad would fix anything and, trucks, trailers, things with motors, things without. He makes stuff from scratch with spare parts of other stuff.
One time when I was little boy, we poor and can't afford cement mixer, so my dad uses old rain barrel, some scrap metal, and fixes lawnmower motor and puts all together to make his own cement mixer. Which still works to this day.
I learn about fixing stuff from watching and working with him. I love that. My dad says if a jobs worth doing, it's worth doing right the first time. Always do your best for everybody, and you'll always be doing the best for yourself.

kfm said...

gyal, me had plenty out front de house..dem does come from de lake an do poopie all ova, an if you see how dem biiiiig. now, me kyant remember wey me read dat moth balls does chase way me sent dallah store an buy couple bag, den in de night, me open de bag an tro all ova de wuk, de toads gone...dem aint dere no is see? we need some guyanese hey...hahahha

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oh me Lawd, KFM, what you saying? The Guyanese gon curry them ducks?

Ancient, I love what you're saying. And I enjoy fixing things, using old scraps to make new stuff. Your dad sounds like my Uncle Deen :-)

Oh Kingston Girl, sounds like more broken things. Sigh. Broken telephone system, something.

Yep, yep, Alex, stress the 'maybe'. Oh, how's the scuba diving in Florida?

Ale, hahaha, guess what...lots of Guyanese live in New York now, so who's scaring who I dunno.

Clare said...

I love the thought of that enchanted little girl running out into the rain.

Felix always tips his head up when it rains here (it rains a lot here - we live in the rainiest city in England, which makes me feel proud) and drinks the rain. The other mums frown, but it makes me smile.

Reluctant Nomad said...

I've had so much catching up to do here!! And I love stories that show that the dismal state of the human condition is not so dismal after all.

watersprite said...

This one is a masterpiece. Enjoyed all your stories.

What your mother said about the jinns and other creatures and the flame of fire thrown at them. We believe that. Since childhood, when in school we were taught to wish on a shooting star (not a comet), Dad told us the truth behind the shooting star - the flame of fire.

If I come home during fly season, Mom will hand me the swatter and tell me to get rid of them. So there i am in the kitchen swating flies and mom cooking away and giving me directions. She bought a new one, so now we have two. Your mom sounds like mine. Except she doesnt sit calmly, she points, gives tips, and if i miss, there are new directions. :)

It does the heart good when someone does something for you just to repay someone who did them good. You should watch the movie "Pay it Forward" - its a beautiful film. Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt

Guyana-Gyal said...

Watersprite, she read it in the Qur'an, I haven't reached that far in my reading.

Haha, that's funny, you and your mum and the flies. As Cadiz said, it seems our mothers went to the same school...I can't find any other explanation for their similiarities, maybe they ARE related.

Is Pay it forward a really sad movie? I think I saw it and BAWLED.

Nomad, I hope the world is not in as dismal state as the media likes to tell us.

Clare, Felix is adorable, I'd love to see him drinking rain. I don't understand why the other mums frown.

watersprite said...

My parents also read it in the Quran. And yes Pay it Forward is that movie that makes you cry buckets! But the story line and the lesson learnt is excellent

I dont think moms are related, i think its in their makeup. Hand the flyswatter to the most accomplished! lol (in fly murder)