Submitted by Old Onions Bag
sweet too sweet, young bajan Huck Finn…
As a boy coming from a plantation in St. Andrew, my first introduction to farm life was met with disdain and somewhat shame, as the agrarian life style was a total humdrum. Compared to escaping to the beaches of the East Coast road or even visits to Edgewater gully and Long pond, … why should I be feeding chickens, watering cows and washing down the dirty pig stys. For those who remembered, Onions was a champion boat builder and racer, earning the nickname of Gibber. I was a good fisherman too, holding many baby travali and pompas with only a spool of 10 lb test, purchased with misered pocket money gotten from the farmland chores.
Why I preferred visiting the pristine white sands of Cleavers Hole, flicking for sea cockroaches (which were placed in a sand filled bucket as bait), than cutting sheep and rabbit meat, in the hot midday sun. Preferred, baiting a white cockroach on a jack hook, and tossing it in Bathsheba cooling waters and waiting for that nibble ..dit dit boom, as the fish exploded at the end of the line, making a mad dash to escape the pain of the barbed hook.
As I matured more in years, this farm hand was informed he would be going Cawmeer, and as such would need to hone his skills more in the direction of a doctor or lawyer…feeding the pigs and cutting sour grass was now a chore for the hired hands.
I was to find more time for reading Wordsworth and Shakespeare and that lot. Equally during this time, I discovered a true love for pig and palate. Every Saturday, Mama Gibb indulged in the art of making swine n brine (as it was known then)…and became somewhat of a connoisseur. The concocting of steam potatoes in pre-washed cow intestines with a benevolent measure of the pork and cucumber n pepper (oh yes plenty) collaborated nicely with a ripe aged breadfruit. The smell was also most heavenly, and every Saturday around 11.30 a.m, cars could be seen in a long line up and down the cart road,… their occupants, utensil in hand, awaiting a supple measure of the intricacy that was sold to pay for my Waterford education.
With time, I also got involved in the art of “swining and brining”and to good measure. With good jocose..” Snout, D souse ent dun yet ?” could often be heard when I should have been into Chaucer for the Monday’s exam. Oft I could be seen up to the elbows, stirring the ever now popular Saturday bajan delicacy and afterwards when all the cars were gone, self indulging in glorious soliloquy.