He remembers it well, as a young boy in grade school, and hating the ringing them “back to class” bell, as a tool. While messing around with a bunch of other rowdy boys one day, and shunning the girls who wanted to play. You know them, they always wanted to join in on boys’ games of the day.
He was to have noticed a conversation going on between the headmistress and her, yes, the head tomboy, as it occurs, in a blue uniform dress. One of the girls vying hardest to participate in on boys’ games I guess.
The conversation was to have continued on the inside too when classes resumed minutes later than him and you. The headmistress wanted to use the little incident as a teaching tool. The young girl had gone in and made a complaint to her about something which she said, one of the boys had said to other fools, she was sure.
I somehow couldn’t shake the feeling that that boy of whom she spoke, was none other than yours truly, sweet and kindly, Sonny old me. The boy had said something which in her view. Was a forbidden thing that should not be said by anyone such as him and you, ever. Certainly not by boys their age and the clever.
Luckily for him, and us, and for all concerned, yes, go on and cuss, but, first and foremost, listen up and learn. Don’t bother with that, because, as it is –Kern. Miss wasn’t too far away from the happening. In fact, she was close enough to have heard clearly everything like that which the boy had said, to him and them, out of the open in his head, to go around and spin.
And although it might have sounded quite like that thing as was heard, popping into an inquisitive girl's Earshot-head, and in sync with her version of things as she had said, it wasn’t what the girl thought she heard. Teachable moments like these weren’t going to go unused with miss –mi bred.
So Miss, as soon as she got the rowdy bunch settled down in class, like this. She ventured into telling boys what she’d called a wartime story of sorts. Real or imagined, though? I’m not sure to this day’s Inn glory oh. Did she make it up just like, for the desired purposes? Possibly so.
The battle was raging, she had said, in boys’ hearing, while gazing at the chalkboard from where it was read, for their learning. The captain needed help to forge ahead. He called for a young corporal. Sent him off to go pass a message along to the Marshalls, or to base, as was usual.
Tell them, he said. Tell them to send reinforcement, we’re going to advance. However, by the time the message got to the Marshalls at the base, it says something quite different to their taste. “Send three and four-pence, we’re going to a dance.”
Needless to say, they lost that battle at once on the bay. Or sometime, later on, that very day. Be sure to first, get the message right and then deliver it as you got it. The right way, this is the takeaway here –my dear.
My next lesson for you, from somewhere in the messaging world and lessen anew, was to come about not long afterward. Growing up in the 60s, 70s, or 80s in small-town Jamaica you see, without the use of the telephone, for most folks and me. Messages travel on legs above the knee, mostly on the legs of fast young runner boys like us, and she. Sometimes.
Via mail too, sometimes, or by way of telegrams, on the bus Ted lines. But mostly on air, like: Cleveland, Errol, Aston, B…yu, pickney bwoi, come yah, my dear. Or, come here this minute. Run guh dung au mass, Chopin. Tell him seh…
This is the norm of getting a child’s attention, and getting her or him into action, and useful service according to dad and mom, wherever there are so many children in the home that the parents can’t always remember who is who. And that was almost every home, every time for you.
They’ll just say. Pickney, or hey, you bwoi, cum yah. Or, come here, as said in the queen's most beautiful language school over there. Or, go there. And boys go off running bare, footed. Bearing important messages for them, and humming, as such pickney did.
Most of which pickney doesn’t even understand most of the time –man. To boys and us they were like codes which grownups and grownups alone could decipher I’d supposed. But it gets the job done for the grownups every time, sure.
My next lesson was to come about when a dear old family friend had died. Imagine. He and his family live two township districts away from yours, on the other hillside, just a gaze, a shout, and a half loud earshot away, from the blabbermouth, of the day.
The valley between those two, is yet another town or village where one may stay, to figure things out, for you. Always in a position to be able to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, or to be volunteering to share some of theirs in either direction.
Quite conveniently situated they were, to be a party to or, or be meddling in everything there and therefore. Which may or may not be as friendly a thing. Only depending on one unsettled matter, one unresolved family-quarrel or two, or three, maybe. Not proper, and she?
Too tangled a web for the minds of the young such as us too, like you and me. To understand in those times. Anyways, let’s move along to better days. It so happened that the family friend died that night. As was the norm, in those places, times, and fields of corn.
As soon as the breath leaves the body warm and lying, there. Or when the in-house announcement is made ready, for the flying, clear. Perhaps. Somebody was sent to go fetch somebody else, one who always knows these things and nothing else, and who has got to have and give the last word off of their tongue to them and you, and to give it into the hearing aid of the family home to view. Whether or not she’s a physician, and she never was one.
The next move is to announce it abroad –oh Lord. This is where the message gets to traveling on the airtight head chord, the announcer, usually the loudest of the loud-mouthers in the village square, or anywhere else on the township over there. She gets to go spread the news far and wide, on the wings of the windy tide, to go out and use.
“Mark Cole dead oh!” Was what we heard floating in on the windy show. Then came the loll, low tone chatter, and the whispers. The somber moment to pick up again all of those dropped jaws of theirs –mister. And to try to digest what was heard and of course, some reflection too, on how the man had lived with you. Before the buzz which is to follow through, to most of them and guess who? Yes, you.
Now, on over to his house goes all walking shoe and this may last throughout the night and on through until way after the burial weeks later, even.
As soon as the buzzing was to gets started, though. Little Billy Joe was to have chimed in soft and slow, like a late echoing partridge, from the windy message of moments old ago cartridge, off of the original call. Mass Cole dead oh, he said. Echoing what he’d heard, or thought that he had heard coming in upon the windy chords to hit strumming upon their hearing aids.
Grandfather was quick with the rebuking rebuttal, rebutting him on that one –pal: no, don’t say that you hear me! A sign of respect for the dead buddy you know, and family. And towards the man who was his dear friend, not me. But then.
Moments later, the grandfather himself, couldn’t resist the temptation –Sir. So it would seem, couldn’t suppress the urge, not in your dream. He was heard to be saying almost in a whisper, but mimicking grandsons, timely mock-minister, ring. He who was mimicking the first-come yeah, that call, coming in.
“Ass hole dead oh,” whispered grandpa, in the hall. In times like these, a laugh can be the greatest of remedies. And that’s what that was meant to be. Did lighten up the moment somewhat. More or less like a hot fart. From somewhere nearby a hot heavily meat-laden fork.
The point here is this, the message was out and riding on the wind. By tomorrow this time, no matter where in the world family and friends of Mark Cole may happen to be staying to shine. They would have known the story, the news would have reached home to them already. And you wonder how?
Telegram, perhaps, one of the more sophisticated means for doing that, at the time. On top of word of mouth. Yes, no lying, of course. The telegram man too? Was a-who-is-who around those parts, no doubt, but.
Then came the day when sonny boy’s own dear grandfather too, had decided to take a walk on out in those types of shoes, the last traveling shoes. He was an old man, had lived a full and good lifespan, as measuring instruments of the place and time was to suggest, yes, that one.
About a week earlier, he was admitted to the hospital in Port Maria, yeah, down by the Bay area. About five miles away from home base I’d say, that was where they used to stay, back-a-yaad, someone else might say.
Saturday morning is sonny boy’s turn to go visit grandpa in his new hospital, home. Walking was the main mode of transportation, as you already know that one, or run. So walk on soldier, or March, or run which was the first and quickest to come to the start.
Sonny boy did them all, he got there to the grim announcement that grandpa was dead, he died last night sometime after midnight. The said announcer person had said.
Now, blowing the bugle from here won’t do, won’t cut it this time for you, with all of those mountains, valleys and high uphill climbs, and sonny boy himself had not developed that kind of calling voice as yet, never did, as a matter of fact, to the skid, so.
As you’d guessed, the foot runners’ role is now in effect. Only, no running this time for him, and you, and me, no need to. A casual walking pace will do, when everything you want is coming to or at you, and later on down the way too.
Uncle, his son. Was working for the bus company, Mac-Caughley’s bus company yes, that one. At the time. Plying a route from Kingston through Spanish Town, Linstead, uphill climbs to Guys hill, near Gayle, through Dressekie, over more mountains and down to the northern sea coastal lines, through Oracabessa, Galina and on through to port Maria, yeah, Bay of course.
It’s about a two to two and a half-mile journey from the hospital to the market house in Port Maria Bay where the bus route terminates and stays. Until the return trip back the other way. The terminal is situated there. Sonny boy is footing it where? Yeah, there, also.
To meet up with an uncle, who’s already on the go to come to the meet up with sonny boy and me there, and you, slow. Not too far into the journey, sonny boy ran into someone’s buddy, from the hometown, one who was heading back the way home. Sonny boy told him what had happened and asked him to deliver the message to the family for him.
Not that sonny boy, had to. He would have told them anyway –Sue. What for? It’s just the way things are. They parted ways. This was as important a mission as a country boy will get to partake in, in those days. So there was a pep in sonny boy’s steps, stepping both ways.
Got to the terminus before the bus, and him. But not by much, sweating, even. How surprised he, sonny boy was to be to hear from his uncle that he had heard the news already, from Dressekie, as a matter of fact steady.
Until this very day, although sonny boy has grown away, seen and heard a lot of things to say, like, to say the least. Is now an old man himself too, older than them and you. He’s still having trouble a lot understanding that, one or two.
How on earth did the message get around so fast, in those times and conditions to the start? It did though. Nowadays, everybody has got a calling device in the palm, near the ears, or there, yes, and everywhere else to stare. But ask them for the important information you want. Few can find it a place to plant.
They’re talking though and calling around, messaging everyone about everything. Or nothing at all, I mean. I’ve got one too, but I’m very slow in calling for you. For a darn good reason true. You already know that everybody else is calling already, or will be, soon.
So why bother? You’re only likely to get in other's way and clog up systems anyway. Do yourself and us all a favor. Give the darned thing a break, to savor, it ain’t that important –mate.
Here’s another message for you the new-look "Manley" book is out. It’s a book Notion press and Amazon is proud about, proud to bring you the new Manley book. How to train a wild puppy dog named, Manley. Go take a look, or.
Pick up a copy today and save big with promo code, woofwoof. I’d say. Anyway, that’s it for today. Yes, yeah man, a Jamaica yaad mi cum fram. Until next time, I remain your very best of a friend, E.K the-writingelk , and I’m out.