Culture General

Memories of Back a Yaad– It’s all about Sammy (Part1)

Not so long ago when I was a little barefoot, suck finger, tear-up  trousers boy, I use to sing this song, ‘Sammy plant piece a corn down a gully.’
Now stop y’u foolishness, stop pretend you don’t know it for neither of us is any young guinea chick and as a matter of fact, “y’u of all persons older than Moses rod.”

Come man, sing with me, ‘Sammy plant piece a corn down a gully, heehe and it bear till it kill poor Sammy, Sammy dead, Sammy dead, Sammy dead oh, but a who say Sammy dead, a lie them a tell, a who say Sammy dead him no dead oh.’ (Repeat.)

Lord Jesus! Pickny Gal, ‘mi’  throat hole dry-dry, so bear with me little ‘mek mi’ wet ‘mi’ throat with a shot of brandy and loosen up ‘mi’ vocal chords ’cause from Mass Gussie dead an’ gone, I haven’t done any singing.

Hear what! Draw bench seat ‘y’u behine’ till I come back, ‘mi’ have pot ‘pon’ fire and when ‘mi’ return, I shall sure tell you a story about Ole Mass Sammy.

Yes! As I was saying, this Sammy I telling you about is a peaceful and quite man that keeps to himself. Not one single solitary soul can say, “Sammy do this or Sammy do that, or say, Sammy say so an’ so.” No sah, nuh Sammy.

Monday to Saturday all Sammy do is tend to his crops {papa}, feed and look after his cows and goats, dog and donkey and make sure Misses Matilda’s dinner cook put down on table before she comes home. ‘Yes braba!’ Is Sammy that.

Well, I really don’t know if Sammy and Misses Matilda ever exchange wedding vows, for as far as I can recall, I never remember see no married ring on her finger, but, for a quiet and peaceful life, “mi a beg y’u, don’t carry ‘mi’ name go say, me seh, mi a warn y’u.” Anyways, what I do know is that the both of them are together from wattle and daub a build house and salt-fish a shingle rooftop.

Together,  Sammy and Matilda  have five children, and except for the worthless, wash-belly one who seemingly don’t have any intentions to go find work, the rest have all moved out and live on their own. They have made good use of their schooling and doing pretty well ‘mi dear chile.’

Now, if you not too conceited then you will readily agree that Sammy is no prince charming. The man has a face that creates instant laughter. He is as ugly as sin with an imperfect shaped nostril that makes people discreetly refers to him as the ‘Flaw nose-man.’

He is a lanky fellow, jet black and mild mannered but very much reserved, but I tell you what, if you force his tongue, he will loosen up. Sammy cannot read but he can scribble his name. He is a man that listens keenly and chooses his words carefully and when he speaks, he motions in a methodical and animated way. It is never easy though to engage him in chatter.

On the other hand, Misses Matilda is a far contrast. She is a registered nurse, fluent and articulate, out going and chatty-chatty. One cantankerous ole jezebel if you ask me. She is short in stature and of light complexion and has a ‘bumper’ that will rival any woman in her mid twenties.  Nonetheless, she’s always modest in appearance, somewhat gracious in her mannerism and like Sammy, she is much respected in the village.

Every Sunday Morning, Sammy is tee-tee cluck-cluck, toe to toe with Miss Matilda, I beg you pardon, I mean Misses Matilda for is that I hear everybody call her, yes man! The two of them hand in hand gone to thank and praise the Lord. You ‘waan’ see Sammy, always ‘bush-out’ in suit and tie and pointed toe shoes while Misses Matilda dress like cock-chicken.

Sammy is not a full fletch religious man but Matilda is baptized and claims she is filled with the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit {whichever one} and that she ‘speaks in tongues’ and has been washed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus. {Hallelujah Amen Sister!}

Now, Sunday Services are long and drawn out, but unknown to Matilda, Sammy always carry a little flask of white rum in his inside jacket pocket to lively up him spirit. Ever so often, Sammy would slip in and out of the sermon and head  straight to the latrine, where he would take a quick sip, use him hand-back wipe him mouth and hurry go back to his seat.  All this time, poor Misses Matilda seated on choir bench don’t know ‘what a clock a strike’ perhaps thinking her lovely gentleman having ‘running belly.’

Where do I begin now to tell the story now of how Sammy loose him cool and get ‘bringle’ inside the church? Oh yes babes! The land on which the church is built was up for sale and so the owner Mr. Telwell gave the church first preference.

Quickly a building fund committee was formed and before long several different events was on the go. Bake sales, tag drives, car wash, everything was in progress, rallies, harvest, programs, conventions and just about anything else that raised money.

Within a month, thirty thousand dollars was raised and as the weeks passed the ‘kitty’ piled up to a sizeable sum. Pastor Mc Calla as with all other ventures of the church was the ‘head-cook and bottle washer.’ Yes man! He was in charge of everything, the tides, the offerings,the bank account, every god almighty thing. He was even the ‘comforter’ to all the not so righteous church sisters if you catch the drift.

‘Look here nuh.. Ha dinner time now han Mi bickle ready so galang a y’u yaad …ketch y’u tomorrow.’

(Next Day)

Garnet! Garnet! I heard someone shouting.

“Is who the backside that calling out ‘mi’ name so though ye?” I questioned.

“Is me man,” came a snappy response.

“Me who?”  I bellowed back in an even angrier tone.

“Is me Elsadie, calm down man, how you so cross this morning?”

“Look yah Elsie, day just light, ‘mi’ a beg you make ‘mi’  keep ‘mi’ peace, ‘mi’ not even empty ‘mi’ chamber yet, let alone to wash ‘mi’ face and scour ‘mi’ mouth. Is what you want with me so early? If is money you come borrow, please waltz straight right back to where you coming from, ‘cause ‘mi’ don’t have a red penny to lend a soul. Anyways, come inside, the door open.

(Elsadie enters the room)

” But what a lovely dress y’u wearing. Is where you get it?”

‘Wait, you miss any?” asked Elsie in a saucy tone.

“No!” I blasted her in return.

“So why you asking then?” [is that the feisty renking ‘pissin’ tail gal come a ask me.]

“Haw-right, forget it, you should a box me ‘in-na’ me mouth, so what you doing here?” I again inquired of her.

“Is come me come to hear bout Sammy.”

“Look yah nuh Mavis [Rawtid, Mavis must be calling mi name] Elsadie, y’u love su-su su-su too much, anyways, find somewhere sit down until I finish spread up mi bed.”

 But kiss me neck back!”

“ Is what now?” Elsadie jump-up and ask.

“You see me dying trial, mi tell the pickny make sure him wee-wi before him come to bed last night and now the blasted pickny wet the bed. Y’u know what, a going to pack him up ship him straight back ha country send to him mooma. I don’t know why the hell she leave him yah fah.”

“Then that big seven year old boy still a wet bed, y’u better boil him some king of the forest give him to drink” Elsadie suggested.

“ Y’u can tan deh, a some big lick him want; a beg y’u give me a hand carry the mattras outside go sun, two twos chink start full up the blasted old kyah mattras.”

So you want hear bout Sammy, [him is another one] well, the land on which the church is built was up for sale and so the owner Mr. Telwell gave the church first preference to buy it.

“Y’u tell me that part already,” Elsie interjects.

‘Look here nuh, is so mi get it, ha so mi sell it, mi nuh ask no question, mi naw tell nuh lie.’

Well, the church is situated at a T-junction and out there is always a busy corner. Every night a bunch of people would congregate near the cane-man cart. Mass Berty for years sells cane and jelly coconut at the crossing. Sometimes he would even stay into the wee hours of the morning long after church close and lock-up.

Baby love, I remember it as if it was just yesterday. A group of children were playing ring games in the church yard. They were singing, “What can you do Punchinello little fellow, what can you do Punchinello little girl.”

In the middle of the ring was a little girl no more than six years of age and when it was time for her to show her motion the ‘lily sinting’ twist and shake her hip like any eygptian belly dancer. Boy oh boy, the other children couldn’t keep up with her. She ‘wild and wassy mi a tell y’u.’ I only hope she can do her school work as good.

Now one by one they were entering like sailors into a rum bar.

Who was entering? [Elsadie interrupted me.]

“Cho, y’u a eediat? Nuh mus the church members them mi talking,” Brother Joe, Elder Lloyd-foot, Deacon Campbell, Sister Ivory, Sister Rebecca, Mavis, Icilda, Sammy and Misses Matilda. I suppose they were having a member’s meeting as it was not a regular church night. In fact, It was a Friday.

All this time I was by the cane cart minding me business y’u know, then all of a sudden wi hear hard talking coming from inside the church and is so y’u mother and I venture over there to go peep and find out what’s the matter.
“Y’u know is long time since me and y’u mother going out enuh? [May her soul rest in peace] Yes man, from we were little bit.”

“Yes mi know, sumbody did pinch mi tell mi that is y’u is mi daddy. Nuh wonder mi granny always a sing seh, Mi daddy isn’t’ mi daddy but mi madda don’t know…shame and scandal in nah the family. Ha guess a wud she did a throw.”

Well, Nuh worry get into that, so as I was saying, inside the church the pastor was seated at a table and in front the table was some benches. All the members were seated except Sammy who seemed a bit agitated. Well, Misses Matilda beg Sammy to sit down little and allow the Pastor to explain himself and is so we get to understand what the ‘dicance’ was happening.

Anyways, hold on little ‘mek’ me go boil a mug a bush tea. “Y’u drink sorosee?”

No Sah, said Elsie, that too bitter for me and by the way, you hear me have belly a dash weh?

“Is what that you asking me? Mi and y’u ever involve yet? Mi ever into any frowzy rub-up with you; but what a piece of outer orderness, just know you place with me, y’u hear me?

If you want to hear what took place next, then drop me a line, me have ‘tory fi bus.’

About the author

Kharl Daley