Boat

Saturday ritual for me and my friends was to “run a boat”.

Usually we could not afford such luxuries as beef or goat.

Us being short on change was always a well known fact.

So most times we went to Miss Martha shop to buy “chicken back”

We would be extremely lucky if when we inspected the trees,

there were some fit breadfruits. Or, maybe some ripe ackees.

(To make things worse)

Miss Martha performed an impromtu wedding, she married flour to red herring.

That was when the members of our crew found that be a luxury too.

We therefore had to resort to “borrowing” some of mom’s flour.

We had to wait for her to leave, sometimes we waited over an hour.

A big zinc pan was set on the fire after we chopped some pimemto wood.

Then we started the rowing, and boy did it smell good.

We amused ourselves killing time until the boat reached shore.

Then we started to eat, like we neva eaten before.

Sweet flour dumplings, they were what we loved the most.

We also had potatoes, yams, and corns that we did roast.

Sour oranges flavoured the suga and wata in a pail.

We sometimes played a game called “ship sail”.

That was when, someone hid a few grains in hand, from the rest.

The winner had to guess correctly. “Running a boat” was the gratest.

From “Dream In Colour” (c) 2010

“Nostalgia performs the vital task of transporting us from the slew of responsibilities which adulthood is to that halcyon time, childhood, before our lives were controlled by the dictates of employers or creditors. Then a day was truly ours and a boat with friends would be its most pressing engagement. The store of memories like this allows us to retain our humanity as so much around us works to strip all traces of it from our adult lives.”

Dominic Owen-Williams.

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