I went home last year man and I took the big steamer to Leguan. I am afraid of dem lil ting de call speed boat. De go too fas fuh me and I kiant swim yuh know. Anyway, when I lan pun de Island me taxi was waiting fuh me. I tink he is one of Silas sons, yuh know Silas the Black man dat had a little night club (grocery store and rum shop) in Louisiana near papa Austin and Mrs. Barka, he was dere waiting fuh me. He only came because me cousin, James Garden son, Claudie, sen him. It was a flying visit because when we touch down, the ship captain or somebody dere announced dat the steamer will be going back in two and a half hours time which did not give me much time fuh visit but betta little dan non at all. I wuz going to see me sick uncle James. Dere were a few changes along de way like de Island now gat electric lights and de roads a little betta. Wen I get to Phoenix and passing me old School – Success CM School – it was just a shell of its farmer self. Dey really need a new school dere. It wuz depressing to look at. Memories of happy times flood over me like a big wave from the sea it overlooked. I had good times. De school was new, the yard well kept. We played rounders and all kinds of games in dat yard.
I rememba teach Vira who used to teach Std II downstairs and the licks she’d put on you if you misbehave but she loved us – all of us kids she loved. We didn’t mind getting de lickin sometimes.
As I passed her yard, I remember how as kids we used to call out to her “Goodaftanoon teach Vira” and she would say something sweet like, “goodafternoon sweetie” or goodaftanoon deerie” and such nice words. We na accustom to nobady taking like dat to us so we sucked it up a lat. I rememba we kids used to compare what words sheh used for us.
Anyway, Phoenix was just the same. Kids were going to school in dere brown uniform and everyting. De only ting dat changed is de people, I didn’t know many ah de young people. I could only connect dem wid through de modda or grandmodda something like dat. I felt good being dere. I felt at home. De peace and quiet, good people, boy you kian buy dat. De only school mate of sorts dat I connected wid was Desiree Nedd. Sheh still in Phoenix in her cousin Rinty House. Rinty and her Bajan husband left to go to Barbados now dat Barbados is considered a “developed country”. Good fuh dem.
Ah saw Uncle James, me cousin ardered up some bad fried rice from fram a caterer next door – cousin Mary Data she had a broad named Frankie Nedd (ah tink is he girlfriend) – delicious. Good Guyanese cooking wid fresh ingredients. We washed dat down wid some coconut wata he pick from back yard and dessert was fresh sweet mango. Yuh don’t find dat kind of smooth sweetness here in Canada. Most a de mangoes you spend big bucks on are forced ripe. We hurried down de food and de taxi was ready to tek us back to La Bagatelle to catch de steamer.
I felt sad leaving but even dough I liked de place it’s nat de same witout de friens I grew up wid. You kiant really go back, you just got to move along wid yuh memories. What made Phoenix great fuh me was nat only de landscape but more importantly is de friends and de family dat were part of my life growing up.