Features

Christmas…"Out in the cowl."

Written by Kharl Daley

Like ants gathering provisions prior to a downpour of rain so too are the vast majority of Jamaicans in preparation for Christmas. Yes Iyah! Parcels and barrels are now being cleared off the wharfs in abundance; every postman mailbag is bulging with holiday greeting cards and thousands of “foreigners” are arriving daily on international flights or on the prestigious Air Jamaica Lovebird at Palisadoes and Mo-Bay Airport. There will be no place like home for the holiday (but as foh me, mi dey yah bredrin… out in the cowl…waywey from yaad.)

Jamdown radio stations are no doubt blaring out Christmas Carols right now. Christmas Songs such as “Mek the Chrismus ketch you in a good mood, mek the Chrismus ketch you feeling fine… put on y’u dancing shoes and come with me tonight we goanna rock till broad day light.” And “Santa Claus, have you ever come to the ghetto” must be surely bringing on the Christmas feeling amid a gentle cool breeze and flickering multicolored pepper bulb lights.

Some of the carols should be revised though, for example …. “Dashing through the snow on a one horse open sleigh”…shouldn’t that be galloping down a marl road in a mule drawn dray? And of course Bob Marley’s “Coming-in from the cold” would be a nice one to meet and greet the many yardies that have flown in for Christmas.

Between carols, commercials, news, sports and weather reports everybody’s favorite will be aired…Yes man! The Christmas Greetings from Abroad…“Greetings to Uncle Herman and Aunt Dassa, Cozen Benny, Rebecca, Tatlin and Mildred, all of Beggar Bush Lane Spanish Town and nuffs big-up to me bredder Delbert han me frens Coolie Gwal and Benfoot Thelma from Portmore… haul deese greetings har cuming from the one and only Wilbert, live and direct fum way out in the cowl, Lawndan Hengland.”

Christmas seemingly is the only time of the year when puss, dog and rat put their differences aside. They visit, send each other Christmas cards, exchange gifts, hold parties and make phone calls, sincerely wishing each other a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Hafftah Chrismus come and chrismus done… “All hell han powda house bruck loose, not a blinking soul will care if the nex, stink or starve….heehaw… bless my soul . All they’ll do is to reluctantly ask, how y’u spen y’u Chrismus and presumptuously demand wey dem new year’s gift.”

Despite the proclaimed joy to the world and you better watch-out and you better not shout, Santa Claus will not make it to many homes where well behaved little boys and girls hopelessly awaits an evening’s dinner and a toy. These are the ones out in the cowl.

Along the shopping routes they will be passed, children and adults alike, bounded in poverty, ragged, battered and bruised by hardships. They are desolate, out in the cowl, far away from the warmth of chestnut roasting on open fire or fruitcakes and turkeys baking in ovens. Commuters will go about their business hunting bargains, filling presents, unconcerned about the less fortunate. Be mindful and drop a little something in the Slavation Army Kettle.

Organizations such as Food For The Poor and the Salvation Army will try their utmost best to bring the tidings of great joy to those left out in the cowl, thereby putting a little love in their hearts so that the world can become a better place.

Christmas morning when other children are excitedly opening their presents those out in the cowl will not have their eyes aglow. Except for the twinkling lights from decorated homes and business and the aroma from others kitchen, there will be absolutely nothing to celebrate. So, while others merry … those out in the cowl will be having a silent night, a lonely night, when all will seem dim and nothing bright…and as others exchange presents they can only exchange tears for hopes.

NB. Please make a contribution in whatever way possible to a charitable organization of your choice this Yuletide Season.

About the author

Kharl Daley