Island Soul City Dreams

I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

My Little Track Star

My nephew Nicholai, the third fastest Under-11 boy in Barbados.

In a recent post, I spoke about the handwritten letter my nephew, Nicholai wrote to me from Barbados. I’m still over the moon about that. Then today, one of my best friends from back home sent me a photograph via WhatsApp. I am here beaming as I relive that euphoric moment of seeing a snapshot of Nicholai from today’s Nation’s newspaper. I am incredibly proud of him and because I could not help myself, I beg your indulgence as I share this moment with you. After success at his school sports, Nicholai competed in the zone events where he qualified for the semi-finals of the National Primary Schools Athletics Championship (NAPSAC). He made it to the finals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and team 400X100m, placing third in the 100m and second in the 400m at the Barbados National Stadium. His performances earned him an overall second place in the Under 11-boys at NAPSAC. This accomplishment came a mere two weeks after he celebrated his 10th birthday! Congratulations to Nicholai!:-)

~ I Keep it Irie ~

Freshly-Baked Homemade Bread, Anyone?

Bajan salt bread hot out the oven.

It is rare for me to buy bread. Not because I don’t like it or as some folks would say, “I’m trying to not eat too much flour,” but because I bake my own bread. It is a family tradition dating back several generations. My maternal grandparents hail from lovely St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where unlike my homeland Barbados, it is commonplace for families to bake their own bread. All 11 of my grandparents’ children and their children bake bread. I grew up watching my mother make every type of Caribbean bread, cake, pastry etc, and her skills were so stellar, neighbors offered to pay her to bake. Baking thus became a key aspect of her livelihood. Mommy didn’t sell everything she baked though; she would often take some to church and share with members of the congregation, drop off a few by a friend’s house or call and invite them over for the freshly baked goodies. If that wasn’t enough, she’d cut me a handful of slices to take to school and share with my friends, and package some for my favorite teacher or the principal. Years later, when I started working as a reporter, she would send similar treats for my colleagues, many of whom became her loyal customers.

I can still remember my first time baking bread. Read more…

I Got Mail – A Handwritten Letter!

Dear Aunty: A handwritten letter from my nephew, Nicholai.

As I do must days, as usual, I got mail today. But it wasn’t the usual mail. Okay, maybe my Verizon mobile bill was part of the usual mail, as was the alumni correspondence from grad school, but the “via air mail” envelope with a postage stamp from Barbados – that was definitely unusual. Breaking the seal, I opened far more sunshine than beautiful Barbados boasts in its 365-day-a-year of sea and sun. I opened a handwritten letter from Nicholai, my 10 year-old nephew. The first thing that grabbed my attention was his impeccable penmanship. From the carefully poised address and date in the upper right corner, to his salutation, “Dear Aunty,” to his endearing sentiments and descriptive storytelling, I marveled at Nicholai’s expertise with ink. But what impressed me most was the clarity with which he expressed his feelings and his command of the English language: grammar, syntax, punctuation etc. In this digital era where crafting thoughts can now be encapsulated in tweets of 140 characters via a computer, tablet or mobile device, these skills exhibited by Nicholai and in particular, the handwritten letter are almost seen as a dying art. Read more…

Trayvon: Oh Jah, How Many More?

Trayvon Martin

I am about to sign a petition. But first I want to say why. In a few minutes, when I have finished writing this, I am going to support in asking the Department of Justice to arrest George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin. It is a petition that also calls for an investigation of the Sanford, Florida Police for misconduct in handling the matter.

Since Trayvon’s tragic shooting on February 26, I resisted writing about it because I think I write too much about death; well at least on this page. But this is not just a story about death; this is nothing short of a cold-blooded murder. And there should be justice. Read more…

What’s The Big Sucking Deal?

My mother told me that I stopped “wetting the bed” when I was about nine months old. Apparently, I was so disgusted by the feel of damp pampers, that as soon as I “had to go” I cried up a storm. To this day, mommy swears no other baby was potty trained faster than her first-born daughter. But it would take her almost another year to wean me off breastfeeding. Apparently, I made up for all the time she didn’t have to change my diapers by clinging to her bosom for far longer than she would have hoped. From the stories she and other relatives have told me, I consumed enough breast milk to render me an addict. With such over indulgence, it’s a wonder I’m not now among the 75 percent of black adults in the US who are lactose intolerant.

My mother stopped breastfeeding me well over three decades ago and she proudly recalls that she often did so in public – just like millions of women throughout history. It is a natural occurrence I see whenever I’m back home in the Caribbean and even here in Brooklyn. I mean, what is so unnatural about a healthy lactating mother feeding her baby the milk her body created for that purpose? Read more…

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