Ole-time August Holidays
-and some lessons from Linden
Whilst again slightly escapist from our now-normal sordid national goings-on, I recycle much of this, after three years, to celebrate the youth of my generation, in the hope that the nostalgia could influence today’s Guyanese young to balance their captivity by the technology, with clean, healthy, innovative, even outdoor pleasures, at this time.
August month of fifty years ago meant the long July-August holidays from school for the thousands of pre-teens to sixteen-year-old children of Guyana. We poor ones had to spend those long weeks right here, in Guyana, of course. Poor parents. What were they to do with all that time we, the little ones, had on our hands? What were we to do?
Mind you, in those days, Guyanese young ones knew nothing of “vacation.” We knew “August Holidays.” And we would have been ashamed or crazy or foreign-minded to the extreme todescribe our July-August as “Summer”! So let me invoke the work and writings of the three late masters of memories – McAndrew, Charlie Deflorimonte and Godfrey Chin – to remind my generation and introduce all those under-18, as to what we did in August, years and years ago. They might just try some of the clean natural fun themselves.
“Country” come-to-town, and…
Georgetown youths, especially, would be taken, in old wooden buses, to out-of-town treats, excursions or ‘outings”, as they were then called. “Town children” thus got rare opportunity to sample rural/coastal country life – like back-dam hunting, milking cows, real bush-cooks, fishing, swimming, endless fruits and red dusty country roads.
In the reverse, some discourteous, show-off city children would (privately) make early initial fun when their country cousins would spend some of August in Georgetown. “Country Boo-Boo” would be an immediate nickname for the little visitors. The city hosts would then show-off all that Georgetown boasted. (I always suspected, even back then, that it was the “country children” who benefited much more from the August holidays when they returned to the “country.”
Games, food, fun…
In those “good” old days, a few families did own short-wave radios. But there were no television sets, video games, computers, ipods, ipads or cell phones!
So it was to “matinee” at the city and country cinemas during August. A little more frequently. Then the games, the games!
Before so-called urban development deprived youngsters of wide open spaces all over Georgetown, boys gathered there to play with marbles, buck tops, toy boats, sling shots, cush, chink, (dangerous) tin spinners (rake) and so many others.
Some joiner-shops helped out some of us to access “wood guns.” We used rubber bands to project buck-beads (Job’s Tears) as bullets. We made our own slingshot – forks from branches of genip and other trees.
Both Charlie and Godfrey loved to remind their generation – and mine – of the cakes, the “sweets”, the foods of our time. Cakes? Rock buns, cassava buns, jackass collar, bull stones, white eye, square cakes, coconut biscuits and black cakes. Chased down with real-real mauby, pep-me-up, lemonade, swank and pine drink.
August “fun” meant a variety of events and child-like past-times, too many to recount here. Let me invite all grannies and granddads to sit their grands down and tell them tales of the past. Now that’s one family way to spend August. Just before the “kids” return to their modern electronic games of these days.
Lessons from Linden
Definitely one of my weaknesses, even “inferiority complexes”. What? To comment on current issues, most sensitive, which every commentator, and his cousin, are going to town on. As in the Linden Tragedy.
Before, therefore, I offer my two comments regarding lessons from the aftermath of the deaths – which comments might be provocatively unpopular amongst the protestors and their leaders – I must record that I too feel that no live bullets should have been used at that stage. Any, everything else but not live bullets on those protestors.
Having said that, I now record my disgust that one community in this land (can cripple economically, socially, so many other sectors of this country and economy. That should never be! However valid the reasons for protest anywhere, Guyana should never be held ransom by any group. Minister Robert Persaud seems to know all the alternative hinterland routes to and from the capital. Knowing Guyana and its current decision-makers (and their utilization of resources) I can’t see those other routes being effectively developed – for years. (How I’d love to be wrong.)
The other lessons – or considerations – of course, have to do with my “reflections”. Such as how protests and demonstrations could accommodate those who are allowed to break current, active laws to give teeth and meaning to their protest. Indeed, the security forces sometimes actually suspend enforcement (for the greater good). After all, I’m told that democracy provides for the exercise of “freedoms.” Discuss.
As for the considerations of alternative/optional Georgetown-hinterland routes, could not one roadway to accommodate cyclists, cars, mini-buses be constructed from, say, Turkeyen or South Ruimveldt to Eccles or Diamond? Just for starters, through the old cane fields to reduce the painful, stressful, time-consuming journey from Georgetown to East Bank Demerara communities? Is something like that beyond us? Even tho’ we need another East Coast – Timehri Road?
Do you know of the African connection with the origins of Olympics?
I virtually torture myself watching those superb Olympic Gymnasts. Little young ladies are asked to achieve perfection with the (fragile?) female body. Both male and female gymnasts amaze me so much, I hardly want to watch!
How is the real Rihanna doing?
’Til next week!