Summer Time

Bags packed: three nighties, fifteen panties, ten set of yard clothes, eight church dresses, one pair church socks, one white stocking, one black church shoes. Two slippers one for the yard, one for going out. Six days good clothes for vacation bible school. Toothbrush, one rag, one towel, two plastic combs, one small Dax hair oil, V05 shampoo and conditioner, three bath soap, three tissue, Colgate toothpaste. 5 lb rice, flour, sugar, cornmeal and milk powder. One dozen quench-aid, two cream crackers, butter, condensed milk, one bread, six mackerel, three sardine and one bully beef.

Last day of school today, going downtown to catch Bill bus tomorrow. Bus park crowded, every child being shipped to country. Fight to get a seat or stand up for four hours from Parade to Savanna-la-mar. Try get a window seat, make sure you watch your bags, put the school bag on your lap. Six in a row made for four. One box of doughnut, one box drink, one tastees patty. Give the money to mama, don’t let them pick you pocket. Aunty J will meet you at Hendon.

Welcome to Westmoreland. The bus stops at border. Vendors pushing in: peppered shrimp, fry fish, fry bammy, roast corn, boiled corn, festival, careful with the hot soup. Almost there.

Green everywhere, green grass, green tree, green bush. Blue skies, blue beaches, white rivers. Cane, mango, hog plum, guava, apple, jack fruit, june plum, cherry, sugar plum, naseberry, star-apple, jelly, guinep. Cows, goats, pigs, jackass, cock, chicken, common fowl, rabbit, turtle doves, pigeons.

Granny’s house: big drain filled with fish, mosquitoes and their larvae. Verandah, hall, kitchen, front room, middle room. Pit toilet in the backyard, shower in the front. Grandchildren come from Kingston, how you skinny so. Fresh cows milk, hot and cold, dasheen and cho-cho, dumpling and yam, salt mackerel and corn pork. Freshly killed chicken straight to the pot.

Use the brush and shine the floor, pick up the leaves in the yard, full two water jug, bathe before night. Don’t go to the river, don’t go over the common, don’t eat from anybody, don’t talk to that boy. Don’t climb the tree without shorts, look out for green lizard. Careful of the black heart man, look out for rolling calf. Come out of the sun, get out of the house, go play outside, don’t bathe in the rain, stop the playing. Hopscotch, skipping, chinese skip, dandy shandy, hide and seek, run down and ketch, stucky pulley, 123 red light, see-saw, tire swing, cricket, kite, tire wheel.

Summer rain, river full. Moonshine, candlelight, slugs, bullfrogs, crickets and peenie wallie. Story telling, bible reading, chorus singing. No t.v., one battery radio. Sunday morning church, Sunday night church, Tuesday night prayer meeting, Wednesday night choir practice, Thursday night women’s meeting, Friday night youth meeting, Saturday morning market, Sunday morning church, Sunday evening ice cream.

September morning free paper done, drink the ‘wash-out’. You get so fat. Summer time, summer fun, summer done.


One Comment Add yours

  1. I remember those days, so vividly. My mom used to pack me up and ship me off to St. Ann. The window seat was a must for me because I used to get sick when travelling.


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