A wha’ happen den, Mas Charlie?
Ah chile, is dream mi a dream,
Bout Christmas in Jamaica – so long ago it seem.
Yuh know wi las’ spen’ Christmas deh. In nineteen sixty-eight,
An every time mi tink of it, it really seem so great.
Remember how at Palisadoes when wi start fi lan’,
Yuh turn to mi so frighten that mi had fi hol’ yuh han’-
Because yuh thought the plane was gwine fi crash with yuh an’ mi:
Yuh clean figet the runway dem shove out in the sea!
Remember how the hill dem look so tall aginsst the sky?
No hill like that a Ottawa, believe me gal – no lie!
Christmas Eve a Harbour Street. Mercy! What a ting!
Mi have two whites with Ronnie an’ boops! Wi start fi sing.
Every Christmas song there is an’ carol that we know –
‘Cept any one that mention anything ’bout snow.
Wi visit all the stall dem set up round Parade
Where every kind o bric-a-brac an’ toy wi see displayed.
Remember wi had dinner at Blue Mountain Inn that night?
That really is a pritty place – bwoy! What a lovely sight!
Nex’ morning bright an’ early, wi hear a happy noise –
The pickney dem wake up fi see Santa bring dem toys.
Then off to church we hurried, there fi sing and pray,
An’ give Big Massa thanks again fi another Christmas Day!
(Remember chile, when wi was young, how every single year,
Wi used to tek tram car go down fi see Victoria Pier?
Mi hear the market mash up now, an’ hotel build down deh
It really seem a pity, but progress – so dem seh!)
That morning after clean up, my time fi have a go –
At las’ mi get fi play six game of pretty domino!
Believe mi chile, mi tell yuh, mi feel jus’ like a king
When me an’ old frien’ D.P. give Dick an’ Dave “the ting”!
The relative an’ frien’ drop in fi have a drink with wi;
What a lot of people this long time wi no see!
At las’ the time for dinner come, an’ mek mi tell yuh this –
When yuh live a foreign, is the vittles that yuh miss!
Ham an’ turkey common, but still is Christmas fare,
But all the good Jamaican foods – everything was there.
Rice an’ peas an’ yellow yam, green bananas too,
Breadfruit, pear, cassava, an even duckanoo.
All kinds of good Jamaican food, some foreign tings as well,
Finish off with pudding an’ wash down with sorrel!
Then afterwards wi ketch a smoke – mi know it bad fi yuh,
But nothing like a good cigar after a Christmas do.
Nex’ day wi tek the pickney them fi see the pantomime;
All o’ wi enjoy ourselves – wi had a backra time!
It really sweet mi once again to listen to Miss Lou;
There’s nobody can tek her place – she really good fi true!
Ah gal! Remember what a blast that Christmas prove to be?
Well if mi win this contest yah we gwine home fi FREE!
Merry Christmas everyone!
The following prize-winning essay was found on a newspaper clipping that was among my mom’s belongings after her death. I really believe it captures the spirit of Christmas in Jamaica and decided to share it with you all…Halfwaytree
This is the prize winning essay in the competition ” My Fondest Christmas in Jamaica” sponsored by the Jamaica Weekly Gleaner. The essay was written by Charles Levy, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He won a trip to Jamaica (flying Air Jamaica) and a week’s all inclusive accomodation at Hedonism, Negril.
Photos – Deposit Photos