You know wha’ is `bedding’? Folklore
By Hazel Robinson
Guyana Chronicle
May 23, 2004

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TELL me wha de does get fu wake now a days nuh. Bay look when yu hear bout wake lang time yu coulda look forward to fun – deh used to get nancy story, bird flying from one tree to the next and de lusty singing – that used to be something else – dem people used to sing all night till morning (day clean). People like Sagga Gee, Daddy Rex, Daa Dooh, Stir About, Alga Seke, Meni Sandy, Stella Bumba, Rachell and dem. Once a wake keeping yu know yu had to get coffee, ginger tea, biscuit and butter, cook-up-rice and meta-gee, but now it different bay. Yu does get a set a thing like if is wedding – cake, sandwich, roti and curry, chowmein, channa, fried rice and nuff mo ting. Don’t talk bout de drinks – long time was just high-wine and white rum, but now every drink yu think bout gat to deh – rum, wine, beer, shandy, malta, vodka, brandy, (aerated) soft drink, orange juice, home made drink, etc, etc. But hear de laff nuh- people does ask fu dem thing when they ent see dem. When yu get all dem thing fu eat and drink plenty people does gu su de does seh de wake “sold out”, but when you gu de old time weh, de done gu rund seh de wake “buss”. What a thing. Yu know ah can’t talk bout wake and don’t talk about Que Que. Deh does still sing Guh night hay, Guh night hay, Nation ah whe dem nation and hide de gal fu de bay find she then put she pun a chair and dance wid she. That used to be nice.

Yu see all dis stupidness bout racism, dah din deh. Dis village had all de races mix up, mix up. Hear who had shaps in here, Dem Gull, Ramsawh, Pandit, Malia, A.B., Ramat, Joseph, Hendricks, Donald Slow, Baby-Bay, Eva, Chan and Sue with Benjie Salt Beef, Sattie, Rick Gouveia, Murrey, Butta Man, Miss Rose Shop (Little Door), Mr. Singh (pound store and 3yard fu dalla – cloth), Isha and Buddy. We used to get good fun with Malia. We used to go in de shop with de mosquito coil papa and ask he to change it or buy something to get back change. Wicked eh! Whe we used to get beef from - Lull, Asrat and Sattar, What about dem cart man – Ice Baba, Macchu, Scurch, Barnwell.

Dem used to fetch all yu materials, yu pig and fowl feed and anything yu want fetch - even when yu moving out. Buck and Perry still trying with that. Ah gat fu gu back to Ice Baba. He used to sell break ice. When he collect de ice he used to go round to all dem shop with he cart fu sell. People used to buy tu. When you buy penny break ice, yu used to get a good piece fu lass yu all day, but you had to wash off de saw duss and rice duss good from it though. Dem shop man used to buy de ice to sell Mauby and Pinedrink or mixture. Talking bout mauby; ah bet yu caan tell me who used to sell de bess mauby – Turkey Money (Alive Nures) – (Walk around and sell), Joekin, Harry, Cardwell, Rick, Flassy (murrey shop) or Uncle Willey (Springy).

Talking bout Uncle Willey – nuff ahwe must be drink he dribble in de mauby. Nah! I ent tink su, dah man was de baddest man pulling up de dribble; de ting used to look like if it reach way down fu gu in de glass den he would pull it up. Dat was class. He coulda sleep too.

Miss Drusilla blackpudding
We de juss guessing who used to sell de bess mauby, but no guessing but de best black pudding. All ah we know that Miss Drusilla gone clear, she was de bess. Look eh, some tings does really stay in families, Yvonne, Faye and Maurette still doing de same ting. Miss Schill used to do she thing by Hendricks Street and Miss Deeka by Market Street. Deh use to try but Miss Drusilla was de big ting. When yu gu fu buy eight cents black pudding it used to full up a good size bowl. Wha ah use to like mo is when yu gu fu buy and Miss Drusilla know yu mudda or fadda yu used to get a lil extra but wha used to get me vex is dat yu neva coulda eat de extra pun de road. Dem old people neva used to want yu to eat pun de road, if yu du dah and get catch yu know wha.

As a deh pun food – rememba when Cousin Meni used to gu rund de village with Hot Cross Buns. She used to seh “Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, one a penny two a penny Hot Cross Buns”. When people hear dat, man if yu see how they used to hustle to buy. Cross Buns and mauby was de only thing we used to eat on Good Friday – sometimes yu used to get lil cheese if tings de lil bright.

Ah know plenty ah we gon rememba when we used to mine fowls. When de small chickens get sick how we used to put it unda a callabach or tin and beat on it till de chicken catch itself. Po’ ting, de noise must be used to friken he su he jump up! What about when yu used to deh checking fu see if is cock or hen deh plenty when de chickens growing. If is plenty cock yu done know yu getting chicken to eat. De din want plenty cocks in de yard. As soon as yu mudda seh catch one or tw ah dem young cock and lack dem up – yu done know wha gon happen. De poor fowl used to get vinegar fu drink fu bout three days – de seh dah was fu clean dem out before yu cook dem. Clean out – ah wanda who had time fu clean out fowl when yu catch dem fu mek bush cook! Dem boy used to throw rice or paddy and lead de fowl away den catch he and cook right away. Yu know wha a does wanda – how de bone used to be suh hard boy yu couldn’t chew dah up at all.

Ah wanda if a seh fu-fu dem young people gon know wah ah talking bout? Boy look, every Sunday yu had fu pung dah fu fu, fu put in de soup – dah was real punishment boy. Like de plantain used to be extra hard, sometimes when yu pung de ting used to jump out ah de mata, but yu had to mek sure dat it pung till it fine and smooth and look-when it done you getting jus a lil piece in de soup. Ow!

Yu rememba all dem ting we used to buy fu eat – Donkey Calla, Salara, Coconut roll, buns, some big, big tennis rolls (atichoke), chip Suga Cake, Crow Crow, Bara Bara, Jellabee, Tennis Roll and cheese with cream soda and a small tin milk, potato ball and so on. Miss Gertrude and Sala used to sell plenty ah dem ting da. How PaPa Aaron crow crow used to choke yu!

We had a lot ah organisations in B.V. for both adults and young people, like The Women’s Institute. A lot a women used to gu and learn plenty plenty ting deh. Teacher Ivy was president for a long time. Mrs Jason too.

Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts was a big thing. We learnt a lot there most of all discipline and preparedness.

`BV full a talent’
B.V. full, full a talent. Nah tink dem din get thief man tu yu know, yes de had couple well but every body used to look out fu dem. De spend some good time in jail tu.

We used to get some real nice concerts – Sunday afternoon and suh. Yu know most times almost all de artists used to come from right hay and dem used to get singing, recitations, drama, dancing, playing de piano and mouth organ and su. Teacher Ivy was one ah de people who used to recite – she was good. Two recitations that come readily to mind are `If I appreciate you and you appreciate me’ and `Give us Men’. Ah gat fu mention Callo Duke, Arther Cush, Franklin Rodney, Neville Miller, Errol London, Joseph Marchus, Henry Mentore (Jefrey), Wilfred Aaron and Polledore – dem was sing man boy.

We had a good steel band tu, with people like Durga, Vava, Washington (Washie), Hector Thomas, William Bowen, Fuggee, Joseph Marchus, dem Rato brothers, Ossey, Bevney and of course Jalim. He used to play all dem pan, but de man bad pun de Bungo. Yu know Jalim still de bout a still playing. De man is a bad drum man.

Talk bout talent, what about George McDonald (Pipee Lorie). He was a bad man bay- dah man used to help out people wid anything – fu baptise yu baby, bury yu dead, preach at any lil service yu gat and most at all marry yu – even if yu din gat a ring he used to lend yu one. Noel `God rest his soul’ used to help out, but Pipee was a bad man.

Ah just rememba something – de bell cryer. SaggaGee and Johnny Pinkey used to do da ting good. As soon as yu hear de bell yu know something happening su yu used to listen. It used to tell yu bout meetings, remind yu to pay up yu rates and taxes, when some one who dead was going to be buried and so on. Ah wanda weh da bell deh?

Me hart does de in me hand when a gat fu travel in some ah dem mini bus su a always gat fu rememba dem hire-car driva dat we had, like Basil, Nalie, Ole Boy, Winfield, Mr Bacchus, Satacoo, Budso, Man Singh, Badru, Roop brothers, Accur, Mike, Barnwell; Smallie, James, Shaw and others. Dem man dah used to carry yu anywhere yu wan gu safe safe.

Apart from being so talented we are also rich culturally. Rememba how we used to celebrate Ghana Day – de big fair and suh with Miss Sines, Pipee and dem, all dressed in rich African outfits. Den de 1st of August with mudda Bramma – da was another big affair in de village. Little Jones used to wake yu up early morning.

B.V. had everything, we market de big, big – all dem stalls that deh deh used to full up. De fish side hardly coulda hold dem people who used to sell fish. Look yu coulda stay in B.V. and buy greens, groceries, clothes, jewellery, raw cloth, yu zip, buttons, everything, every ting. We had good tailors – Bash, Nine, Claud, Low. Seamtresses – Earna Mingo, Miss DeLima, Miss Drean, Miss Lewis, and plenty mo. People used to stay home fu get de baby because nurse Change de good. She deliver baby in almost all dem house in B.V. plus plenty home at she, and when she finish de delivery deh had de old ladies who used to give yu de afta care – one that a can rememba was Miss Suzan (Tuntan). De used to put yu in hot wata, wash de bedding and su. Yu know wha is bedding. Long time people neva used to throw way de old clothes den use fu keep dem and spread dem unda de bed or pun de floor fu sleep. Bedding is dem ole clothes dah. We had we own drug stores with dispensers like Mr. Strawn, Mr. Persaud, Mr. Ogle and dem.

Hi, long time when yu get a bicycle was a big ting. Dem man used fu dress up deh bike – put all kinda light and of course de cheese cloth (New one(s) yu know) had to deh tie on pon de bike. Wha! Pun Sunday afternoon dem boy used fu dress up and ride out with de canstance or ticka bike, if yu see how deh used fu catch swank pun dem girls man. Now bicycle is nothing, down to de smallest pickney get bike and don talk how de while.

Baronians we should be a proud people. Al yu know that de B.V. Community High School was the first of its kind in this country. Yes! That school was called de guinea pig. De used to teach a lat ah ting deh, carpentry, masonry, joinery, wood work, welding, technical drawing, cake decoration, crochet, agriculture, home economic, pig rearing and academics tu – English, Maths, Social Studies and su. Why ah we can get back dem tinh da eh.

Ah know nuff man nah gu wan fu hear dis, but is whey drugs come from. Dis ting does really badda me. Dem ole man used to drink de rum and even sagewang (spirits) and stagga and go home, dat used to be fun fu we. Yes, de used to smoke de pipe and cigarettes, but the effect was not de same. When we did small we used to fold coconut fiba in brown papa fu smoke, but when yu tek de fuss pull/draw yu used fu caff su much dat yu eye used to get red, red and run wata, when deh don with yu, yu ain’t want anadda pull. Le we all wuk together and show one annada dat drugs is not de way to go.

A nadda ting that ah puzzle me is dis HIV & AIDS ting, whe in de name ah Gad da come from. Da ting bad, bad, as soon as yu hear de word “positive” start fu mek yu funeral arrangements. Nah fu she dem old and middle age people nah bina have unprotected sex, de bin just as sexually active as even mo bad dan de people today. Unfortunately, God talking to ahwe today in dat way – with de HIV & AIDS so ahwe can change. Hear he-me a beg alyu be careful because me na want fu be sorry fu nobody – protect alyu self.

Is wha it gon tek fu bring back some a dem ting wha we talk bout – leh we tink, what about forming groups to plant up de land either in we backyard or in de back dam, forming a steel band, youth group(s), drama group(s), and so on.

My people yu interested? Alright, afta dis village day leh we organse ahwe self and show dem big people dat ahwe can du ting like dem and even betta – Right!

Leh we try.