Loving Me Some Reggae on a Friday Night!

I may sound biased, but I don’t think I am. Reggae music is the best. Now, there are different eras of reggae – call them styles if you like — that may have different degrees of bestness, but I am talking about the era of the classic Bob Marleys, Dennis Browns and Beres Hammonds. Some fine Jamaican singers. Incredible lyrics. Among the best, not just on the Rock, but in the world.

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Me and Milo

My son have a dog name Milo. A male dog. We adopt him from a rescue place down Miami from him was a puppy. Him did have another name when we get him, but we decide to give him a new one. Well, because we come from Jamaica, we say we have to pick a name that remind we about Jamaica. Without even blinking a second, my son lick out, “Milo!” I guess him have nuff memories of times him spend in Jamaica, especially as a kid. So now all of you that know Milo, or know of him, know why him name Milo instead of him birth name of Orion.

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Gone Fishing

Last Sunday I went fishing. Down in the Florida Keys. I can’t remember the names of some of the keys, for there are so many. The most popular ones don’t escape me though, like Key Largo, Marathon, Big Pine Key and, of course, Key West. Key West is perhaps the most well-known as there are so many stories about its famous residents, past and present, including Ernest Hemingway and the descendants of his polydactyl cats. And one I will never forget is in the lower Keys. Ironic that I will forever remember it as that one has no name. No Name Key. Yes, that is its real name. A name so unique it is unforgettable. There is where I went fishing. Well, not exactly there, but from the bridge you have to cross to get there from Big Pine Key.

Not bad!
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Goodbye Artical Don

Facebook has its detractors. Some folk feel it is a privacy-invasion slippery slope. Facebook also has its supporters. Despite all the issues of privacy currently swirling around the platform, I am one of the latter. Not that I am not concerned about privacy. One of the things that pisses me off, for example, is Facebook’s interconnectedness of almost everything else I do on the internet. I google an item I am interested in purchasing and the moment I jump on Facebook after, ads about the product I have just researched start polluting my page! This is not the kind of invasion the detractors gripe about though. They feel their business will soon gaan a street by being on Facebook! What they fail to realize is that if they don’t post their business there is no way it will gaa street!

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What’s in a Name?

I stepped up from the street, scuttled across the sidewalk and slipped through the front door of the small building. The sign hanging over the door had caught my eye from across the other side of the street and magnetized me. It read: Trace Your Ancestry Through Your Surname. I should have known better immediately and not allowed it to pull me in. But sometimes we act on impulse and end up doing things that make no sense at all. As in this instance. This time around, though, I did catch myself before it was too late. My senses slapped me, spun me around and pulled me back through the door. How could I possibly trace my ancestry through Smith?

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Languages: An Avenue for Life Exploration

I speak several foreign languages. Thanks to my teachers at good old Morant Bay High School in St. Thomas, Jamaica, who gave me the start. French is one that I learned. I am fully fluent today, to the point where I switch registers easily, depending on the need, moving from standard to the very informal. While at university in France, a teacher, handing me back a piece of homework, asked me, “Have you ever thought about becoming a diplomat?” Strange question, I thought. “Why?” I asked. Because your French is so élévé,” she replied. My French was at a high standard. I guess it must have been because it was “book French” that I had learned in Jamaica. Very formal French. Though grammatically correct, no one used that level of French in everyday communication, even for school assignments or in the classroom. So ironic, though, that the lowest mark in my academic life was in my first French exam. Got a whopping 17 out of 100! Why do I still remember it so well?

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Missing Jamaica

I have lived more than half of my life overseas. Outside of Jamaica where I am from. I am not that young anymore, so you can imagine it’s been a long time living in foreign lands. But, I miss Jamaica like Day 1. After all these years. I imagine only those who have lived overseas will understand my emotions. When I left Jamaica first for good, it was for a posting to Brussels by the company I was working with at the time, right after Hurricane Gilbert did a number on Jamaica. And I have lived abroad ever since. So, it’s been a while. Gilbert mashed up my beloved island in 1988.

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The Enigma of My Jamaican Passport

The chill of the night air on the outside still clung to the windows of the bus, but it was warming up on the inside. I shed the jacket the driver had lent me earlier when it had started to get cold. I had not expected, and so was unprepared for any weather like this. For it was Africa, after all, and Africa was supposed to be hot all over, and all the time. Even though I knew better — that it was a jigsaw of diverse countries running up and down latitudes – my recessed imagination of it being characteristically the same recaptured my mind. Characteristically hot. Snow-capped mountains? No. Hot deserts? Yes.

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What’s In An Accent – A Jamaican One, That Is?

The cadence of our speech, our accent, is often a marker of where we come from. What country, or even what region of a country. Sometimes, an accent may be an indicator of not only where we are from, but also of where we may have lived outside of our country of origin. Some accents are described as being rough and thick, while others are said to be sexy and pleasing. Guttural or heavy. Lilting, undulating, or sing-song. Some are more well-known than others, easily recognizable, having spread far and wide internationally; some of the others, I imagine, have remained in the confines of small, remote villages. My own Jamaican accent is all of the above, depending on how discerning the listener is, or depending on where in the world I am. Whom I’m talking with, or even what mood I am in, also nuances how my base Jamaican accent sounds when my words pop out of my mouth. The choice of how I modulate my voice is usually not deliberate. The situation I am in at a given time automatically selects how I speak.

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On the Road to Africa

“Free seating, free seating! Sit anywhere you want!” He had to be talking to me, as it was I who had posed him the question about whether or not he was in the right seat. By the way he pitched his head though, and his voice too, he seemed to be addressing all of the boarding passengers. Perhaps he was already inebriated, getting a head start on buffering himself from the paranoia of being up in the air for the duration of the flight, scheduled to take off in less than half-an-hour. A head start on the liquoring up was necessary, just in case the plane was not adequately equipped – rather, stocked – with the precious fear-of-flying antidote. Flying was meant for birds, and not for man, locked down in great big iron contraptions, hurtling through the skies at forty thousand feet. I have been on countless flights where passengers, scared of flying, either took sleeping pills before take-off, or started numbing themselves with alcohol in the airport bars before boarding.

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Caribbean Christmas in Flight

The Air France flight just took off from Toussaint L’Ouverture in Port-au-Prince, headed for Miami, after a pit stop coming from Pointe-a-Pitre. On the way up from Guadeloupe there was an older man and a younger-looking woman seated beside me, just behind the exit row on the left hand side of the plane. Haiti was their destination, as a young dreadlocked guy is now sitting in the window seat of my row, the middle seat empty.

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The Evolvement of My Driving

This is embarrassing. Really dreadful. I know the car is going to buck again like a raging bull and shut off in a huff! It has done so already, three times in a row. Each time followed by laughter. From derisive giggles to roaring, fatuous hoots. I have always been good at learning new things, grasping them effortlessly and mastering them quickly; but my one-O-one in driving a motorcar is turning out to be an unforgiving exception, proving now to be my undoing.

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Upon the Departure of My Mother

I did not cry when my mother died. Not when I got the news. I was in the kitchen at home in Florida, tooling around the stove trying to fix a quick breakfast, when the red, car-shaped phone rang. I reached quickly into the corner of the counter where it was parked and grabbed it before it stopped ringing. I pressed the on button and jammed it against my ear, gripping it firmly between my hunched-up shoulder and my head, cocked awkwardly to the side. They were my extra pair of hands, as I needed my regular pair to delicately turn my eggs over so as not to burst the red; I loved them slightly runny, just like my mother used to prepare them for my father when I was a little bwoy growing up in Norris. My brother’s voice came through from the other end of the line: “Miss Lil gone,” were the words I heard, somewhat perfunctory, and the egg red burst.

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Things I Am Grateful For

A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to participate in a Gratitude Challenge where, for each of three days, I had to list three things for which I was grateful. I posted the lists on Facebook, per the challenge, and have decided to repost them on my blog. Perhaps my decision to repost them is driven by my conviction that giving thanks is necessary in life and doing so is an affirmation of the items of gratitude I originally expressed.

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