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Celebratin’ life. Respect it first nah

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December 7, 2013 by Fensic

Stay wid mih on dis one nah, yuh might see how ah does tink.

When somebody wid ah remarkable life dies, we does hear about celebratin’ dat life. Usually is ah way tuh say dat we wish we life could ah be like dat one. Or, we eh know when anybody else go come along an’ have ah life like dat, so leh we celebrate dis one. Take de late great Nelson Mandela. After ah historic, world-changing life like his, how yuh could do anyting buh celebrate it?

I get de honor tuh share in one such celebration larse Saturday. Was fuh Fred, de fellah ah mention before who lorse he battle wid cancer. He wasn’t even 50 years yet. Why ah pick 50? Well, it halfway tuh bein’ ah 100 an’ damn ole. Fred wasn’t even halfway tuh bein’ damn ole.

It had not one, buh two celebrations ah he life. De first was more ah gadderin’ ah family an’ close friends eatin’ primarily Jamaican food.

Ah have tuh do some serious digressin’ here so ah sorry in advance.

Please, mih Jamaican friends, as well as Jamaican Trini-haters. Allyuh serious? How we go let allyuh een T&T or solve dis boycott ting eef allyuh does call dem tings “dumplings”? Dem wasn’t no dumplings. Ask any Trini, dey go tell yuh de same ting I sayin’ now. When it come tuh food, dumplings does be in soup . . . wid pigtail . . . an’ spilt peas . . . an’ eddoes . . . corn optional. Dumplings make wid flour, buh de good ones have cornmeal in dem too. Allyuh cyar tell Trinis de dumplings comin’ just now an’ leave we wonderin’ where de soup dey een. Dem tings was dinner rolls. B-R-E-A-D.

Dumplings mih Trini baxide.

Like ah say . . . how ah does tink.

So after dat gadderin’ was over, was off tuh de next location where everybody who had de pleasure ah knowin’ Fred, could celebrate. He was we link. Was more dan enough tuh share. It was spiritual in ah way.

It had ah live band playin’ one ah de genre ah music he did like. He did also like de clothes ah dat era, so it had people wearin’ dem outfits. Dat era was before my time. It was when people probably used tuh dress up just tuh brush dey teet. Ah wouldn’t be surprised eef back den, dey didn’t have dey radio orn an’ was doin’ de Jitterbug while dey was brushin’ away.

Anyway, it was truly ah celebration. No speeches, no cryin’, just people who presence alone was tribute tuh ah man who touched dey life fuh de better while he was dong here. It was what he would ah want, he son tell mih when as ah was leavin’ tuh go out into de bitin’ cold.

In de spirit ah full disclosure, was only once ah had trouble swallowin’. Was while watchin’ he wife an’ son dance tuh ah song dey departed husband an’ faddah did love. It symbolized why all ah we was dey buh it was also highly emotional.

One larse digression? It two sentences an’ two exclamations short. Tanks.


What make people tink dey supposed tuh live in places dat does get dat cold boy? An’ winter eh officially startin’ fuh ah whole two more weeks.


Five days later, an’ some 2,500 miles from dat freezin’ place, ah fellah name Khalil, was headed tuh he wuk in ah store dong Cocorite. He eh make it. He geh shot dead right outside de store. He wasn’t even half Fred’s age.

Dat night, ah start gettin’ texts. Since ah didn’t check de first one good, ah geh confused readin’ about who gorn where tuh buy paint. What de person was sayin’ was dat dey just find out how de-sensitized dey had become tuh all de killin’. Dat mornin’, dey went tuh buy paint at dat same store. Dey tork about dem an’ udder shoppers parsin’ Khalil dead body on de grong, under ah sheet. It wasn’t only dat alone dat had dem troubled. Apparently when dey reach back home wid dey paint, dey went an’ fuhget what dey did see outside de store. De story on de news jog dey memory.

Was fuhgettin’ ah way fuh dem tuh cope?

What was my comfortin’ response?

Ah tell dem 300 plus murders ah year fuh de larse how many years, bong tuh make Trinis reach de point where ah murder is no big deal. Ah tell dem Triniland gettin’ de kind ah murders dat used tuh happen only in udder countries; dat just now dey go have serial killers an’ people takin’ hostage an ting. Ah say more, buh I eh need tuh say none ah dat here tuh make mih point. I just eh sure yet what it is doh. Patience?

Ah tink ah say everyting connected tuh everyting else enough times, I eh have tuh say it again. Not tuh mention “de bigger picture”.

I eh torkin’ about who text mih now eh.

Yuh cyar celebrate life eef yuh reach de point where dyin’ doh do anyting tuh yuh inside. Even eef was ah murder. Eef everybody de-sensitized, who celebratin’?

“Oh God Jesus, is only when it reach home you does know how it feels”.

Dat is what Khalil mudder, Merle Thomas, bawl dat mornin’. It obvious dat family an’ friends go mourn. Dey would be at de intimate family an’ close friends ting. Buh what about de celebration ah life?

Dis eh about Khalil Blanchfield no more. Ah dey wid all Trinbagonians.

Would de people at dat celebration be de same group ah family an close friends? Would it have udders dey? Would family an’ friends be comfortable arong dem “udders”? All ah dem go be on de same side ah de law, even de law ah decency?

Too much lip service in de place eef yuh ask me. De big picture say dat unless life start gettin’ respected, takin’ ah life go get easier an’ easier; stoppin’ de killin’ go get harder an’ harder as people geh more de-sensitized.

Eef ah had tuh choose between de pain an’ grief associated wid somebody ah love dyin’, versus de upbeat celebration ah dat person’s life shared by all who was touched, de choice is duck soup. Ah been tuh each kind ah event. While de traditional one wid people bawlin’ an’ udders comin’ up an offerin’ dey condolences is heart warmin’, de feelin’ at de celebration ah life radiates positive vibes.

Seein’ people who life richer because ah dat person does make yuh want tuh go out an’ do good tings, just so you could leave dis world better dan yuh did find it. I like dat kind ah community feelin’. Yuh cyar have it doh when yuh not adherin’ tuh ah fundamental requirement of livin’ in ah ordered society—respectin’ life nah.

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December 2013
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