"Yuh need a Sea Bath"

Lawd Precious, yuh sound bad, a whey yuh have”

“Mi ave a touch a de flu 2 week now”

“Yuh need a sea bath”

For those of you who don’t understand, a sea bath is said to cure any cold or flu.

I remember my first sea bath. I was about 7 years old & my brother and I had this lingering cold. Our noses were running and we were coughing bad. I think it was so bad that my parents committed the cardinal Jamaican parents sin; withheld us from school for a day. Actually it was a Friday so the sin was “half” forgiven”.

My Daddy would not have me miss another day of school and the doctors have no cure for cold. What was his solution? A sea bath that Friday afternoon. It was the middle of the day and we got in the car to head east for the beaches. My brother and I were excited about the idea of going to the beach on a school day. We could boast about it at school on Monday. I was feeling much better as I looked out the window of the car. As we got closer to the beach I became excited as I could see the water. I could not show the excitement because I was supposed to be sick. We pulled in to the parking lot & got out of the car. We had our trunks under our clothes so we headed to the shore.

My father dived into the water & my brother and I watched from the shore. We were on the edge of the beach playing in the shallow water. It was mid morning so the water was warm. I could see my dad about 12 feet away swimming parallel to the shoreline. My brother and I were really having fun and were not feeling too badly. My nose was cleared of blockage from a cold.

“Xavier and Collin come here”. My dad was beckoning to us to come out to him. He had come in a little closer. We moved towards him and he grabbed us in each of his arms. He took us a little way out in water and we could see the shore in the distance.

Suddenly my dad plunged us under the water. “This man must be crazy”! I thought to myself as I gasped for air. He pulled us back up & dipped us down again. By this time my stomach was filled with seawater and I was screaming.

He pulled us back up with just enough time to get a breath of air and kill our expectations that this nightmare was completed and dipped us again. Finally he lifted us out of the water and took us back to shore. We were both crying like babies.

“Stop unnoh crying yuh neva a nuh sey yuh whole body have to dip in a sea bath. If not yuh will stay sick. De sea water kill all the virus”! He explained, trying to console us, as we got ready to leave the beach.

We went back home and by that night our colds were all gone. Yes, a sea bath can cure a cold or flu.

A few years after moving to Florida my brother & I got real sick. I had a great idea let’s go to the beach. My brother & I got in my car and headed for the beach. We dipped fully in the water and went back home. By the evening we were sicker than when we started to the beach. I asked my father why it did not work. He laughed and said ‘ the water is not the same as Jamaica’

About the author

Xavier Murphy