Those who knew Charlie Denbow as well and as long as I did would readily acknowledge that an urbane and accomplished Guyanese son has passed.
I remember growing up with Charlie in post-war Guyana as pre-teens, then teenagers who worked hard and played equally as hard. Charlie was a brilliant scholar (he qualified as a medical doctor in his mid-twenties) and an outstanding cricketer. His was a rare combination of intellectual excellence and adroit sportsmanship. I can see him now on Farnum’s playing field in Subryanville fixing the glasses on his nose as he settled in to bat for another hour at least.
Though I was one of a small group of Subryanvillers who for years went to school every morning in the Denbow’s De Soto with Charlie and Claude Jr, I can recall no pearls of wisdom coming from Charlie’s lips as we travelled to Queen’s College − no philosophical outpourings or deep pronouncements, just the usual banter and gaff and help with our homework if required of him. For despite his obvious mental acuity and formidable intellect Charlie was a regular guy − a young ‘banna’ like us all. Whether we were at the LCP fair on Long Road advising the itinerant 3-card man to let us win a few games or be sent off the ground (Charlie often intervened on the card tricksters’ behalf), or moving slowly and purposely from house to house at Christmas as the resident 4 H Club threatening to sing our self-composed carol ‘Happy birthday baby Jesus’ to cowering families who would throw money out of their windows at us to relieve the agony (Charlie always insisted that some of the money we earned be used on the poor and not just to feed ourselves and friends at Brown Betty’s) or playing ping pong at the Persauds with one eye on their handsome jamoon tree, Charlie was always in the moment and focused to a fault. A committed but prudent team player whatever the game.
I will remember Charlie for his camaraderie, his integrity, his concern for the least, the last and the lost, and for his eloquent simplicity. Charlie died this week in Jamaica where he lived.
May his soul rest in peace.
F. Hamley Case