Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Ol Time Christmas come back agin!

de de do do doo doo doo

I took the role of lead singer
Parang soca in Arima
Fans heard of my parang band so thousands flocked the grandstand
Ne-ville Cook was the mc
When he introduced me
People jumping like carnival
To my rendition of serenal??

Alpacata alpacata
Who no rampu no paratha
Maria Maria Maria!
Me chorosong
From Port o Spain to Faisabad everybody know Jdid mad
Maria Maria Maria
Me chorosong

Was listening to Crazy sing some parang yesterday trying to get myself into the real Christmas spirit. Didn't work lol. Might be too late for me but give me the old time parang, a ham cutter and

"a gallon a rum, a gallon a rum, all I want is a gallon a rum
..........ya bring ya family ta eat me out
and then in January cant even buy a stoute".

So my selector rewind cause, ol time Christmas come back agin if not for real at least in my memories. For me it was all about the music, the food and the Christmas program at the Church.

Christmas back then to me was more that the one day. There was so much anticipation as a child of that Christmas day that sometimes the actual day was a bit anticlimactic. But leading up to that day oh wow!

The music I already touched on and will continue to talk about. In Barbados from the time December 1st hit, bram! Christmas music would be pounding down on CBC and VOB. Big tunes like this one in spouge:

wha ya gonna gi me fa Christmas I need something from you
give me something for Christmas boy and I'll give you something too

and this one in parang

Hurray hurray hurrah!
Hurrah hurrah dey say!
Our savior was born today
It was through his light
While a shepherds (plight)??
for they just could’t believe dere eyes
And when he come a man
Ya kno dem non-christian, get tagetha an pound nails in he hand
And on the third day he rose again
So ya see he shed his blood fa we!

When you heard songs like that it just put you in the proper frame of mind for the season. Everybody painting the house and putting up new curtains, making everything look pretty, pretty, pretty just trying to get everything looking special for that one day. Moving the furniture around and choosing some nice bright colors for the inside and outside walls. All like now, I would have paint in my hair, on my hands, on my skin and be trying to use the turpentine to wipe it off but just ending up with my skin looking dry and scaly.

Verandas and outside walls being painted in bright colors as everyone tries to outdo their neighbor in the painting arena. Everybody turn superstar painter like dem middle name is Picasso.

Santa Clause, do you ever come to the ghetto (ghettoe-oo!)
Santa Clause, do you ever wonder why we suffer so
Santa Clause, When will you come to the ghetto (ghettoe-oo!)
Santa Clause, we would love to see how those reindeers go.
We aint gonna fuss,
We aint gonna fight,
But where are the presents that you brought for us.

The curtains made from fabric that you bought down by Swan Street or Kirpilani or from Miss Ram or that you 'truss' from the coolie man in the suzuki van who would then have hell to get certain folks to pay. Tek care he doan put the steel donkey pun ya! All sort of designs of fabric which the women would sit at night and slowly turn into curtains for each window and of course they had to match the colors of the house. Couldn't have a new paint job without new matching curtains cause that would look like ya aint got no style. But you would wait till Christmas eve or a day or two before Christmas to get up on the chair and put them up.

(baron version)
Mumma mumma
Would you like to join your sonnie
I am over here happy in this cold cold country
Darling for this Christmas
I hope everything is happy
come and join the chorus cause we will be having a party

Meanwhile the fruit for the great cake was steeping in rum, brandy and wine since long time gone in September or even before that. Cherries, Raisins, Currents, mixed peel, that you had to help grind up in one of those old fashion hand mixers, all seeping up the alcohol. I tell ya, If ya eat two pieces of that cake when it dun, ya best not be driving anywhere lest the policeman ketch ya..Matter a fact ya eat two pieces of that cake ya gine sleep cause that thing potent after all the fruit absorb all that liquor.

And that cake taste real nice. Almost as nice as the ham when you cut off three slice and eat wid two sodabix or put it in a fresh salt bread and add a lil pepper sauce. Something bout a Christmas hamcutter that just taste better than any other sandwich in the world back then.

Everything nice, nice and in abundance. Nice n Nuff! About a day or two before Christmas suddenly ya nostrils perk up like when the dog smell he dinner on the way. I talking bout them pot starvers (mongrels) we used to own dat was real dogs not these poor great North American pretenders that cant even chew two bones. Is Kibbles and Bits fa them if ya please! No leftovers! Wha up ta last week I was telling the wife dat back when I was growing up we din need no recycling green bin for leftovers, we had a natural recycling device he did name Rover or Spot or Blackie or Brownie or sometimes he was just de Dog. But nowadays dogs get posh and only eating brand name, store bought food. What a ting! Chupse!

Anyway I digress. Selector bring back some music to set the mood

I've got that old feeling
that seems to fill the air
Its Christmas in my Caribbean land
and though there's no snow or sleigh bells to be heard
this feelings oh so grand!
now soon the bells will be ringing
choirs singing in good cheer
and old forgotten friends are brought to mind
oh tell me of this feeling
why cant this Christmas feeling exist amongst all people through the year (oh yea!)

I going wake up real merry
bake me jug and me turkey........

Not much Christmas lights when I was growing up. Too expensive. Just one or two houses did that but you would sweep up the front yard after ya finish paint and the poinsettia and the snow on the mountain would be blooming so the place looking colorful still.

Two nights before Christmas your nostrils would light up from the scents wafting in over the breeze. It started the first night with sweet bread, Great cake and pudding and continued into the second night with the meats; delicious ham, succulent pork, turkey, chicken with the gizzards as stuffing. Heavenly scents! Everyone in the neighborhood baking at the same time and started a day or two before Christmas because the ovens small and ya baking enough to feed two armies because when anyone stop by the house you got to offer them at least a slice of pudding and sweetbread and depending on how much you like them possibly even some great cake. And all ya hearing;

Maizie in all in this heat
Wine up under the Christmas tree
Maizie I am vex because
ya making movements wid Santa clause

Maizie where is the Reindeer
Maizie I aint see no sleigh
If he have no reindeer no sleigh?
Came on BWIA

And of course as a child you don't want dinner those days when you start smelling those scents because you're hoping for a first slice of cake or meat that night and you staying up late dreaming of hot sweet bread washed down with a cold soft drink from the 2 or 3 cases that got bought from the drinks truck when it was up the street earlier that week by the village shop. A few weeks before ya had to go out in the yard, collect up all the empty drinks bottles to make sure you had a full case. Then wash out all the insects and cobwebs from those bottles cause you couldn't go and give the drinks man no nasty bottles ya kno! It wun look propa!

Then you had to make sure you knew what day the drinks trucks came to the village shop. The Banks truck came on Tuesday and the Ju-C truck Wednesday so all Tuesday and Wednesday ya trying ta keep a look out for the truck or if ya smart ya tell the shopkeeper ta give ya a call when the fellas reach. Tiger Malt and Plus, Sprite, Ju-C, Bim and Frutee in all sorts of flavors from Kola Champagne to Pineapple and Banana and even Sorrel Flavored although the sorrel flavor ones aint taste as sweet as the real thing. Ya wud tell the drinks man ta mek sure he doan gi ya nuh stale drinks cause if ya open dem an dem flat ya gine be vex. But those drinks had to last into January so you couldn't start drinking too early although if nobody looking you might sneak way one and even sneak a lil Falurnum in the drink to spice it up. :-)

But ya din have ta do dat too often cause first ya frighten ya get ketch and secondly ya had sorrel.

Drink a rum an a punch a crema
Drink a rum
Is Christmas morning
Drink a rum and a punch a crema
mama drink if ya drinkin

Christmas eve night everything in full gear. The cakes mostly done bake unless ya run outta gas and din smart enuff ta have a spare bottle in the house. I mean ya kno is nuff nuff baking to do so ya shoulda been prepared. If not ya got to head down to the gas station and buy a new bottle.
Its all the scent of meat baking that you sniffing in the air. And the sky bright with stars and outside chilly but you still pushing ya nose through the jalousie(jealousie) window or sitting down on the step with the rest of kids indulging the sense of smell and being overcome by that feeling of Christmas. The air smelling sweet, the stars looking brighter, the air just feeling sort of tingly on ya body. You can taste the excitement or is that smell it.

You cant wait for the Christmas morning.

Looka though this blog getting too long (and it kinda rough cause I was rushing it). Selector bring out my favorite tune fa de people dem. I coming back tomorrow to talk about the Christmas Church program. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me bout ya Christmas experiences. Bless!

One Christmas eve casually I was walking down the street
One Christmas eve casually I was walking down the street
I was attracted by the voice of a lil boy
as he strolled along the street no shoes on his feet
as he walked he continued to repeat

Listen Mama I want you to tell Santa Clause
To bring a trumpet and a consantina for me
I'm so lonely and have no children close by me
ma you don't kno how happy your son would be


Abeni said...

Take a bow,real nice post.You even got me singing along to the songs too:)But seriously you capture the scenes before Cmas real good.All the last mnute work,the smell of paint and new linoleum etc.What you call great cake we call black cake and some of that thing can really drunk you.My mommy can't eat much especially if it strong cos she head start getting light unlike her daughter.

Scratchie said...

JDid, I love the post. You painted a great Christmas picture for us. Sadly I only know one or two of those songs though.
Tek care till lata.

Melody said...

Encore! Jdid, yu Blog nicer than ever today, man! Me know the Punch A Crema song!! Me did have de Merry Men album inna mi collection. Carlene's song bout Santa in de ghetto too sad, and the constantina song also too sad; but Kami and Scratchie right, man, yu outdid yourself today.

WIGIT said...

Jdid, seems like your Christmas was almost as nice as mine. Except we also had to varnish the floors cause you had to see u face in it and the curtains didn't go up till late, late Christmas eve. But your post sure bring back some good memories. Thanks!!!

4panist said...

Not being born in the Carribean I can only speak of my experiences with Christmas in the sun. Sounds like alot of work but also good times and good tastes. I always say Christmas is a season and not a day so I hope everyone out there is enjoying each moment of these festive days. Slow down, sing a song, have a drink and remember Christmas is to be a time of joy.

Jdid said...

Thanks guys glad you liked

Anonymous said...

Will admit Crismas did plenty sweeter when me was a yute, but it still irie!

Ham suppose to bake tonite rude bwoy! Dr. D.

Sunshine said...

Hi Jdid-nice nice post here. Appreciated your wonderful memories. You brought a lot of mine also as a child. Love yu spirit.

Jazz said...

you are slowly bringing me up outta my funk,......thanks for the songs and thanks for the encouraging words about Kas.

Anonymous said...

As I mentioned to you the other day, this took me right back in time to Christmas past. Had me waking up bright and early next morning to logon to VOB to see if I could ketch a few ole time tunes but alas it was not to be.

Fortunately I got smart...finally...and decided to check Toronto-Lime.com and lo and behold I found me some good ole time Christmas/parang music including Listen Mama, and yeah I do know it.

A Sorrel Fruitee, some hot sun, and a piece a black cake now and I ready fuh Christmas :-)