Into every life a little rain must fall and it seems in
this meeting that Im caught up in the floods.
By the time this column hits the Sunday streets my three
small kids will be back in my birthplace, the Big Fug.
I waited for more than a year to see them and would love
to report that we had a swimming time. But the rains came
and swept away most of the good times.
With the ferocious Emancipation electric storm came the
bandits, a well-known trio who are still at large, quite
obviously with police collusion. I didnt mind the
material losses so much as the loss of a safe environment
for my kids. So having anticipated this five-week visitation
for months and looked forward to hearing the voices of
the Mini Levites echoing through my batchie, we all had
to settle for shuttling between St Anns and Princes
Town; snatched days at beaches and mall-strolling.
My friends tell me I need a bush bath or six and that
I really should have my car blessed. Will do. But, for
now, the only blessings I want will be riding the Atlantic
on a 5,000-mile flight that carries them out of sight
and sound for I dont know how many months.
This is a separation Ive been pushing from my mind
as it will feel like losing limbs. Despite the disasters
of the trip, seeing these three small people drove home
the realisation that there is nothing more precious in
life than your family and kids, and in my case the kids
are the only family I have.
Or so I thought until a new friend reminded me this morning
that I have an extensive and extended non-blood family
of friends throughout the kingdom of this world. So I
should take last weekends abortive trip to Maracas
Bay as a metaphor for whats going down while the
Mayan calendar grinds down to its finale.
Finding a bathing beach in Trinidad is a challenge. The
north coast is wild and wonderful, mostly because of the
way the rainforest drops directly into the sea. But the
sea at Big Bay, San Souci, can turn vicious in an instant
and swimming among dog turds in Chag was certainly no
We spent a perfect Saturday at Maracas two weeks back,
in warm safe waters, and decided to head back there last
weekend. With my usual perverse stubbornness I turned
a deaf ear to the storm warnings, telling my car-full
with totally misplaced confidence that by the time we
came through the mountains and descended the dark clouds
ahead would have gone.
By the time we hit the bar above the bay for a food-stop,
the skies were ripped and when it became apparent this
was no passing shower we made the sensible decision to
head back to town.
No joy, we ran into the first landslide and spent the
rest of the stormy afternoon riding round the island (as
my middle daughter put it), along the coast road through
Las Cuevas, La Fillette, Blanchisseuse, down through the
Arima Valley and eventually all the way to Princes Town.
It wasnt the trip Id had in mind that morning,
but then I realised it wasnt so much a question
of what you do rather than who youre doing it with,
and a long wet afternoon with the kids was worth more
than a sunburnt beach to myself.
If I kick against the pricks and start feeling sorry for
myself in moments of sadness, I cant help recall
the fabulous version of Never Ever Worry featuring Resistance
along with the late great Pretender, which points out
the salient truth that, of course, theres always
someone much worse off than you.
And if I really want to put everything in perspective,
the Pulitzer-prize-winning novel Ive just read,
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Dominican writer
Junot Diaz is the bomb. Poor, fat, sex-starved loser Oscar
finds love and death in a Dominican Republic terrorised
by possibly the worst dictator the region has producedRafael
Along with the rapes, repression and bloodshed of that
era (the book is principally set in the 1950s and the
years leading up to Trujillos assassination in 1960),
there is wry compassion and bellydeep humour in Oscar
What I go tell yuh? If yuh aint laugh yuh dead, oui.