When I was a child I had as good Christmases as any child ever had – the love of parents which anchored life, the tree with the star and the gleam of lights, the gifts in white pillow-cases found mysteriously early morning, the fat balloons flying and the decorated crèche, the spread of food and sweets and aromatic cake and even sips of wine allowed, the fragrances of Christmas, the hugs of old grands and aunts and tobaccoey uncles, the carols and immortal songs of Christmas, the sights and sounds of happiness.
Earlier this year, in May, I wrote a column entitled ‘The miniaturisation of sugar’ which commented on the planned future of the sugar industry previously announced.
Some time ago when our young son was struck by agonising abdominal pains in the middle of the night and we had to rush him to Emergency at York Central Hospital in Toronto.
The staff and members of the History Department of the University of Guyana used to produce a feature in Stabroek News called History This Week.
My father died twenty years ago at the age of 89. He was a good man and a beloved father.
The writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honour and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.
My heart has grown heavy and heavier yet in recent times, as I have contemplated what seems to be the fading of the dream of West Indian unity.
A long time ago when I was with GuySuCo there was an occasion when I found myself growing irritated because my secretary was urging me to find time for an interview with an old man, a pensioner from the old sugar times, who had been trying to see me for a couple of days.
Why does anyone keep a diary? For a man conscientious about his career perhaps it is in order to keep a record of his mounting success and developing ambition.
Sveinsson Knut, Canute the Great, King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018 and King of Norway from 1030 until he died in 1035, was perhaps the most successful and effective of the early rulers of England.
In any given situation we assume that people, including ourselves, will act sensibly.
One of the worst aspects of the self-righteous is that those most guilty of it most vociferously deny that they are guilty at all.
In a vibrant democracy elections should be a cause for celebration, an ever welcome occasion regularly marking the successful outcome of what in any country’s history has always been a long struggle to overcome authoritarian, and often brutal, rule.
In a long life I have on a number of occasions been asked to address various groups graduating from school or university or making the transition from one stage of life to another – for instance, new recruits in a company or first-time members of a national sports team.
I find it difficult to convince friends – or anyone – that poetry is worth reading.
My tutor at Cambridge, Professor Nick Hammond, authority on the history of ancient Macedonia and on the life of Alexander the Great, used to coach me on what he called “exercises of the mind.” He knew I played tennis for the university and he put it to me that just as I trained hard for the tennis so should I stretch to exhaustion the muscles of the mind.
In a recent column I mentioned Nick Hammond who was my tutor at Cambridge.
These days, as increasing age makes the discovery of new lands much less likely, it remains perfectly possible to voyage in the mind as adventurously as ever by reading books and talking to good friends.
Winston Churchill, exasperated by opposition politicians constantly questioning his policies and his own credentials and frustrated by having to consult and compromise on measures which in his judgement were straightforward and ripe for introduction without hesitation, once exploded: “Democracy is the worst kind of government!” Then he paused, thought a little bit, considered the alternatives and ruefully concluded – “Except all the others.” Democracy ensures, or should ensure, that the differing views, varied cultural persuasions and diverging concepts of how the people’s affairs should be managed are allowed expression and none ever squeezed into resentful, and eventually festering, silence.