Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2013 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Recalling Christmas Day as a child, the thing that
comes to mind first is food. It may not be because
we had so much food then, but how little we had
in comparison on other days.
That should not be misconstrued as meaning we
went hungry: on the contrary, we always ate well, but
this assortment of foods was available on this day
because we were celebrating.
Homemade bread, boiled ham with local hot choco-
late brimming with that oily substance, constituted
breakfast. We d also be privy to many snacks---apples,
grapes, fruitcake, and sponge cake, all.
And while lunch was being prepared, my olfactory
prowess discerns roast pork, stewed chicken, some
wild meat, lagoon rice bubbling in coconut milk, and
sundry other dishes simmering in the kitchen. (I am
recapturing those aromas with accuracy as I write).
Mother and sisters are bustling, fussing over some
detail. The resident decorator is still pulling huge
buckets of palms up the wooden stairs, belting out
stern warnings to whoever thinks they d bring mud
over the floors she scrubbed---and that includes our
father who, with a long steups, quietly returns to his
hammock, boots on, avoiding the fury of his "Jane."
New plastic, fresh varnish, wet paint, window treat-
ments, neighbours stopping by for their Christmas
drink, and people who may have been on the wrong
side of my dad venturing into our yard, using the sea-
son s goodwill as a re-entry into the good graces of
a man mostly remembered for his ill temper and
Then late afternoon, we would set off paranging,
going from house to house in the village, eating and
drinking at every stop. We d get back home and get
into our beds and as sleep set in, there, at the front
door we d hear, "Sereno, sereno, sereno, sera," the joy
being that the paranderos were able to creep up on
us in the dead of night and burst into song.
Christmas in Moruga was a child s heaven. The
focus wasn t so much on gifts but on the sharing of
food, drinks, and fellowship, the redecorating of the
home, and visiting siblings/relatives who were not at
home during the year.
As unpretentious as it was, it was a happy time for
me, leaving me with joyful memories that I wish for
every child and every family.
It s only as I got older, with a more-than-complicated
existence, that the season became overwhelming for
me. Somehow, the attention of a Christmas day birth-
day always threatens to crush what is an otherwise
quiet year of little attention from most people who
It s no joke. I feel inundated by the outpourings of
"merry birthdays" amassed each Christmas day, and
I mean that as no offence, but as a statement of fact
about the impact on my usual mental disposition and
mainly unflustered head space.
The holiday season dictates that I be of good cheer,
but not being an exuberant celebrant I m of a more
And so, with thankfulness, today I mark my 51st
birthday. The gratitude I feel, though, is saturated
with anguished thoughts for families who have expe-
rienced loss this year and whose Christmas memory
will be tainted with grief.
The ones that bend my fingers backwards are those
of our innocents who met their demise so brutally,
and often in their homes, where they should have
All of the newspapers are recounting the gruesome
details, overshadowing my half-ounce of cheerfulness
and forcing frontward the intensity of my unvoiced
suffering. So I recount the early joys of Christmas
today, bearing the pain of the family/relatives of Jacob
Monroe, Jabari Hernandez, and Keyana Cumberbatch,
three children, ages one to six, all brutally murdered
in three separate incidents that occurred in a two-
week period. Their premature demise presents their
families with a shattered narrative.
I extend an embrace to the grieving parents and
My grown-up Christmas wish
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
CAROLINE C RAVELLO
relatives of eight-month-old Sidney Emmanuel
Stellan and Kimora Roopnarine, two, who were
beaten to death at their homes in Morvant, and
Chaguanas, respectively---those innocents who ll
never have a Christmas recall.
Today, I carry the torment of the relatives of
Nishan Lal, whose body was found stuffed in a
bag floating in a river, and that of two-month-
old Andre Mowlah, who was thrown to the
ground, allegedly by his father, and who died
My Christmas wish is for ministering angels
with wings of therapeutic balm to encircle the
hearts and minds of these families and those of
the almost two dozen more innocents snuffed
out from under our noses.
My wish for the future of T&T comes from
my sincerest nerve and toughest sinew imploring
that "God bless our leaders (and) give them grace
to guide; (that he) bestows on them his judgment
wise to rule this land aright."
Lord knows we emerge too inexperienced and
illogical in the face of mounting misfortunes.
Peace and blessings.
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