A Jamaican living in the States was down on his luck. Out of work and broke, he started going around to various companies in the city begging for a job, any job. Finally he got to the Zoo. The Zookeeper looked stressed out. ‘The monkey escaped last night’, the Zookeeper said, ‘If you are willing to put on a monkey suit and stand in the monkey’s cage for a couple days, I’ll pay you.’ The Jamaican immediately accepted. The pay was OK and the work wasn’t hard. He swung from the tree, and the kids fed him fruits and nuts. He actually started enjoying himself. He even started adding a few acrobatic moves that he had seen on TV. Late in the afternoon he swung a bit too vigorously, lost his grip and flew clean out of the monkey cage and landed in the lion cage next door. The lion let out a huge roar and our friend in the monkey suit bawl out, ‘LAWD, ME DED NOW!’ The huge lion immediately pounced on him, grabbed him by the throat and whispered, ‘Man shut yuh mout nuh, suh we can keep di likkle wuk!’
Joe saltgoods and rum shop in Phonenix January 30, 2011
Joe’s grocery store and rum shop was located across from Cardigan’s house. I think Phyllis Blake owns that property today. Joe was a hardworking man with about four children. It was the place we ran to whenever mom ran out of cooking ingredients. I used to go for a quarter pound of saltfish, quarter pound of flour or what have you. One cent meant a lot and could buy a lot of things in the old days. For example one cent could buy you two sweet biscuits or one or two candies. Remember never-done candy with the rubber band that it was hung upon? Joe also had a rum shop attached to the grocery store and his house was on top. Joe two eldest sons staffed the grocery store. They were nice. When their dad wasn’t looking they would cut their friends some slack by now charging for the extra ounce or so on a pound of flour, sugar, salt-beef etc.
Phoenix had a lot of people (men) who liked to drink a lot. They visited the rum shop on a daily basis. My dad Cardy was one of those men. He used to get drunk a lot of times and he racked up debt as well. I remember one day Joe came and asked my mom to pay my father’s rum debt and my mom was so mad she told Joe she doesn’t drink and she will not spend a cent of her hard-earned money to pay rum debt. My dad was a strange guy he stopped drinking and smoking cold turkey – no counselling or therapy like many people do in North America. I don’t know how he did it. I suppose a lot of people owed Joe money. The family finally moved from Phoenix to Essequibo Coast. I don’t think I ever saw them again. I know one of his daughters and I were in the same class in school. I can’t even remember the names of any of them. Can anyone help me with the names of Joe’s family. The family provided an important service to the people of Phoenix for many years by providing a convenient place to get grocery and other knick knacks.