My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Memories Of My Centenarian Granny

Note:  Last week, my grandmother hit another milestone.  She tied her own mother in terms of longevity.  I spoke to her for her birthday and she boasted that she is the eyes of her daughter, my aunt Ermine.  “I still does thread the needle my boy.” She related.  “I do the reading for Ermine too because her eyes not too good.”  To commemorate her birthday, I dug up this blog that I wrote when she turned 100.  Here’s hoping that Nenny lives to see many more birthdays in good health.  What a blessing!

Nenny, as my grandmother is affectionately called by her children, grandchildren and villagers alike, celebrates her 100th birthday today, June 22nd.  No one in the family is surprised.  After all, her mother, my great grandmother, lived to 103.  Up until the day that she died she was still gardening and tending to her bananas and other crops.   Nenny is healthy for the most part and walks about 3 miles to church every Sunday.

I have many treasured memories of Nenny as a kid.  Her story telling was legendary among her grandchildren.  No one could bring a story to life like Nenny and even though we requested them nightly, we would still get the chills and cower in fright as she told us a jumbie, (ghost) story about some dead person coming back to avenge their untimely death.  Our favorites were the stories told about a cunning spider called Brer Anancy who would tricked the other animals to get whatever he wanted.  They were appropriately called Nancy stories.  Every Caribbean kid fortunate enough to have a grandparent tell them these stories, loved them.  We never got tired of hearing how Brer Anancy tricked Brer fox.  Nenny would also share her growing up stories with us and we enjoyed sharing in her memories just as much as she obviously enjoyed sharing them.

Some nights, Nenny just wanted to sleep but us kids had other plans for her.  We would beg and beg until we finally learned how to trick her into telling us a story.  One of us would start re-telling one of her favorite stories and intentionally messed it up.   Nenny would get so annoyed at this that she would interrupt with ‘That not how it goes!” “It is!” We would reply. “How does it go then?” She would then correct us and before she realized it, would be deep into telling the story.  We would look at each other and smile conspiratorially.

Coupled with her penchant for telling stories and a hard worker, Nenny also possessed one of the most colorful vocabularies of anyone I know, complemented with a great set of lungs.  She could cuss  you out in any shade you prefer and it could be heard for miles.  (Apparently, this is something she inherited from her mom and maybe a secret ingredient to long life).  Her use of profanity was also well known and shyness was not one of her weaknesses.  Young, old, black, white, rich or poor, no one was exempted.  (The poor Governor). If one of us did something wrong, Nenny would verbally tear a strip off us, dropping F- bombs like it was Hiroshima all over again.   Even though she never hesitated to go ballistic on us, she would not tolerate anyone else taking the same  liberties. No way! Not her grand kids.  If Nenny called us idiots, don’t mistakenly think you could too.  Many learned that lesson the hard way.  Nenny never hesitated to put on her fighting gloves and go to war for us.

Nenny had her own quotes for everything. “Bwoy, ah way oil ah oil yo?” was often used when I was misbehaving. It simply meant, ‘Boy, what is the matter with you?’  “Play Play does bring belly” meant that too much playing could result in someone getting pregnant. “Leave me ah Jesus feet” was one she used to tell us to leave her alone.  “Yo ah a watch me like how Johnny ah watch town basket” was one I never quite figured out. I know Johnny but not exactly sure what a ‘Town Basket’ is.

I remember Nenny would accompany us to dances and fetes and wait outside until they were over then walk us home.   She would bring a flashlight to guide us through the pitch-black darkness of the 3 mile walk home.  We would never get embarrassed by her escort. Well except for this one time when my cousin took too long to leave the dance hall and Nenny asked the doorman to let her in and walked around the dance floor looking for my cousin.  She found her slow dancing and untangled her from her partner and escorted her outside.  That was Nenny.

In her 90’s, my grandmother detested clothing that made her look her age.  “Yo tink me old!” She would often say when we tried to dress her in age-appropriate clothing.  She wore high heels and dresses and enjoyed the comments from her fellow church goers on how young she looked in her stylish attire.  She would often comment, “Did you see sikkay bikkay ah wear de same frock like mine?”  (Sikkay Bikkay was her code for anyone whose name she didn’t want to say). Yes, but you wore it better, Nenny, even though she was more than half your age.

Nenny is the consummate matriarch of  the family.  She is like the queen on her throne. the family revolve around her. It’s a blessing when someone lives to see 100.  It’s an even bigger blessing that in my 40’s, I still have my grandmother alive and well.  Incidentally, both my grandmothers are alive.

Nenny, thanks for all the stories and memories.  We hope that you will stick around for a few more birthdays.  Today, you will be in the presence of the Governor General and other dignitaries so please use restrain.   As you would tell us when we talked too much, ‘Piece ah yo tongue war clip!’

Happy 100th Birthday Nenny!!  Say hi to Sikkay Bikkay for me.

Nenny, (left) and her daughter

Monday Madness: Sex-Change On A Whim?

Do you find it ironic and equally confusing that we tell our kids to accept themselves no matter how, what and who they are yet we applaud Bruce Jenner for not accepting who he was? I do.  At  65 years old, Bruce Jenner of the Kardashian circus fame, decided to have a sex-change.  He set the media world on fire with the revelation that he was now a she.  Many gushed over the transformation, as though he went from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.  I didn’t.  But then again, I never was one for circuses.

Pardon me here but I find this as nothing short of rich people having nothing better to do with their money and seeking more fame and attention. It doesn’t help that I have yet to see the merits of sex-changes unless medically necessary.  (I have yet to see a medically necessary sex-change).  So it is quite difficult for me to understand why a 65-year-old man would suddenly feel the need to change his sexual makeup.  (And what the heck does ‘Trap in a man’s/woman’s body mean?). Maybe I’m missing something here. Too conservative maybe?

So kids, forget what we say about accepting yourself.  Boys, the girls don’t want you to play on their team? Get the last laugh, become one of them. Ditto for you too girls.  Never again do you ever have to wonder what it feels like to be a girl or boy.  Experience it yourself!  Parents, you can quit trying for that girl or boy.  Just flip on of the other kids. Ah, life is so much easier these days…

Just My Take.

 

 

So Confusing

Sometimes things can be so confusing.  Take this for example:  The authorities are trying to curb driving (No, that doesn’t mean driving on the curb) while using your phone.  That’s all fine and dandy and I’m all for it but wait a minute! So they want us to put down my cell phones while driving but then they  allow the auto makers to make it convenient for me to use my phone while in my car?  I am not supposed to use the thing but my car comes with WiFi. Do they really expect drivers to pull over and use their phones? Sounds good in theory but if realized, would create the need for more shoulders to pull over on, right?

This is like putting a pizza making machine in my bedroom and telling me that I can’t eat while lying in bed.  So, tell me again why we need WiFi in our vehicles because I think it’s flies in the face of reason.  But then again, I could be wrong because it’s only…

Just My Take

Psst, I Agree With Victoria Osteen

A while back, the wife of renowned televangelist Joel Osteen made headlines when she made the following comments,  “When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.”  This set off a maelstrom of criticisms from Christians who were dismayed over these words.  Some church leaders and pastors posted the incriminating video on Facebook with various unflattering captions.  I read a few but try as I may, I just could not see what the issue was. Maybe I need to be prayed for because, heaven forbid, not only did I not see a problem with what she said, I actually saw the point she was trying to make.

As selfish as it sounds, Victoria Osteen is right, we really are worshiping God to ensure our own happiness.  The Psalmist sings that ‘Trust and obey to be happy in Jesus.”  We sing it in our churches without ever questioning the merit of it.  So why now?  We try to bring people to Christ by telling them it’s the way to their happiness.  We promise the sad and depressed that their lives will be happier and more fulfilling if they find and follow Jesus.  Isn’t that what our Christianity is based on?  We never start by telling the non-believers that they should worship God because he needs it.  Or that he deserves it.  No, we tell them how much their lives would be enriched by knowing Christ.  Your neighbour complains to you how miserable her life is and you go, “Maybe you should come to church with me.  It might make you feel better.”  Isn’t that exactly what Victoria said?

So in a nutshell, we are not exactly doing it for God since his existence does not hinge on whether we worship him or not.  We are doing it for ourselves.  For our continual happiness and existence. To say it doesn’t make him happy when we do worship him is denying a fact.  When he’s happy with us, we reap the harvest.  We find happiness that comes from him. Therefore, we really can’t deny the fact that we are indeed doing it for ourselves.

Victoria’s wording may have left a bit to be desired but the message is not entirely lost.  It’s funny that even though we all fall under the umbrella of Christianity, we still can’t agree on what and who God is. and what he wants of us.  We have our own ideas and opinions, I do too, and that’s why this is just…

 

My Take.

 

 

Be Back Soon…

I am suffering from a bad case of writer’s block right now. :(  Doc said to give it a few more days to go away completely. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious and I should be good to go come next Monday.  Thanks for understanding.

Who Found Who?

I have always wondered about the saying,  “I was lost but Jesus found me”.  I never fully agree with it and have spent hours analyzing its true merit.   I have no argument with the ‘being lost’ part of it but the way to salvation or ‘Jesus finding you’ is what I am not in agreement with.

Before we are saved, we stumble through life blindly or lost but remember, we are lost to knowing Christ but HE knows where we are.  He does not need to find us. We need to find HIM. When a hunter or a hiker is lost in the woods for a few days then suddenly emerges to see his cabin in the distance, he cannot claim that his cabin found him. Yes, he was lost indeed but he was searching for a way back to his cabin. In the same way we search for God or some other reason for our existence and we find him.  He never finds us because he was and is, always around us!  Get what I’m saying here?  I know there’s a parable about the lost sheep being found by its shepherd but that’s different.  The sheep NEEDS to be found.  A sheep would not go looking for the shepherd.  Luckily, we are a bit smarter than sheep.

Saying we were lost but Jesus found us sounds as though we were sitting there waiting to be found and Jesus showed up and that was it. Found!  It’s not that simple.  We need to search for a way to HIM.  We were LOST TO HIM and need find our way back home, TO HIM.

Again, this is just, MY TAKE.

Bothering God?

Image result for prayingHave you ever felt that some things are not worth bothering God about? Like that headache that’s keeping you from going out with your friends or the pimple that suddenly showed up just when you finally had a date.  Dear God, please make this embarrassing thing go away so my date could go well.

I know we are supposed to take everything to the Lord in prayer but when tens of thousands are dead and thousands more affected by earthquake in Nepal and other disasters around the world, parents mourning the murder of their young child, my embarrassing cold sore pales in comparison.  So I don’t.  I know HE’s omnipotent and can see all and do all but still…I can’t help but feel selfish asking God to attend to my selfish and petty wants while others are in dire need.  Instead, I choose to pray for those whose needs exceed my own.  And there are many of those.

Don’t you agree? Or is it just My Take?

Finding Happiness

Happiness

Happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happiness is perhaps one of the most debated topics.  A quick visit on the web and you will be bombarded with ads that offer inspirations or blogs on how to find the elusive happiness.  How To Be Happy, What Is Happiness? The Happiest City to live.   Many hit songs and movies are centered around the subject. Happiness.

In this soup mix of life, happiness seems to be the base.  It is our raison d’etre or the bane of our existence.  No matter who you are and what you do, your main quest is happiness.  Even the cold-blooded murderer seeks happiness.  Unfortunately, bringing harm to others would not bring you real happiness. Happiness is also subjective, meaning it is relative to the individual.  What makes me happy does not necessarily make you feel the same. On the flipside though, making someone happy could also make you happy.  How easy is that?  That’s what I would call true happiness.

Even though it is unanimous that we are all in the same hunt for happiness, many of us are so caught up just fighting to merely exist that happiness becomes an afterthought.  A luxury only the lucky few could afford.  We seek things that either give us a false sense of happiness or a temporary happiness-fix.    I am going to make lots and lots of money, I might not be happy but I will be rich.  If I do find happiness, then bonus!  The majority of us are in jobs that give us no sense of happiness but they pay the bills.  We spend our entire lives in this situation.  Money does not equate to happiness, just ask anyone who has won the lottery.  Some even wished they had never won.

We sometimes envy celebrities and the lives they live.  They seem so happy and why shouldn’t they?  They have everything.  Well, except true happiness.  The happiness of going for a walk without having cameramen jumping out of bushes.  Walking into a local grocery store or shopping at the mall without wearing a mask…who should envy who?

Happiness is elusive but only because we make it so.  It’s actually simpler than we think.  It’s a smile, a song, a hug or making someone’s day.  Things that money can’t buy.  Then why can’t we find it?  One reason is that we really do not know what happiness is.   We seek to have the happiness of others.  We want what we think makes those people happy.  Sometimes when we stumble upon happiness, we dismiss it.  It’s too easy.  I don’t deserve this.  Why am I happy?  Another reason is that we seek to be selfishly happy. It’s been proven that making others happy brings us happiness but who really wants to make others happy? What if we make them happy but do not get any happiness out of it?

Happiness is there for the taking, barely elusive.  So how do we find it? By realizing it is not lost in the first place.  Don’t over-think it, just be happy.

My Take

 

On Fat Shaming

michael-buble-instagram-fat-shameThere has been a lot of discussion on the issue of fat shaming lately, with stars from Kelly Clarkson to Pink being targeted by ‘fat shamers’. What’s that you asked? Well Fat Shaming is basically the act of poking fun of someone who you think is overweight.  Noticed I wrote ‘think’ in italics? It’s because it is usually the opinion of the shamer.

Last week, Canadian nice guy Michael Buble got the social media world in a frenzy when he posted a selfie of himself.  Nothing wrong that except the photo had a woman in the background wearing short shorts.  Buble posted the photo on the Instagram with hashtags, #babygotback, #myhumps and #hungryshorts.  Adjectives you can hear any time and any day on your local radio station.  Maybe it’s me as I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes but I fail to see where that could be fat shaming.  The woman in the photo had nothing to be ashamed of.  Maybe mad as hell that someone she didn’t give permission to posted a photo of her on social media.  Did I mention that he also had the hashtag #beautifulbum?  Not #fatbum.

Fat shaming is a form of bullying and so can be very traumatic, especially when the victim is vulnerable.  Although some of us could do with a wake-up call or a gentle nudge that we need to smarten up and go easy on the coke and chips, no one has that right to try to shame us into it.  if we are the architect of our own fatness by the way we live, we might need our friends to step up and tell us exactly what they think in a constructive criticism kind of way.  The last thing we need is a fake friend to tell us how great we look while we put on the Macdonald’s pounds.  There are diplomatic ways of saying things.  I once thought I was at an ideal weight until my Wii Fit Fat Shamed me by announcing that I was overweight!  The nerve! I wasn’t mad though, I took the constructive criticism in a positive light and shaped up.

There are a couple lessons to be learned here.  Do not post people photos without their permission and do not take everything so personal.  Growing up in the Caribbean, it was considered healthy to have some meat on your bones.  I was skinny shamed, called names that made me feel I was starving Ethiopian kid.  So know yourself, love yourself. If someone try to fat shame you, look in the mirror and see if you like what you see. If you do, shame on them. If you don’t, fix it. Remember, people will talk about you no matter what you look like.  So it’s up to you to like how you look.  If you are unsure, see Pink’s response to fat shamers. Here.

My rant:  We created this stupid vicious cycle with our ill-placed obsession with physical appearance then get offended when the very weapon we create is used against us.  We feast on shows and songs that promote certain body types and looks, yet act shocked when it comes home to roost.  Tut tut! Until we can evolve into a better race of people with a grasp on how to co-exist, fat shaming, bullying, racism etc., will be forever with us.

Buble, although in my opinion you did nothing to suggest you were fat shaming the cheeky damsel, your irresponsible actions, especially given your position, left a lot to be desired.

But relax man, it’s just my take!

 

That’s What Friends Are For

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

credit: Wikipedia)

I have been toying with the idea of deleting some of my stagnant Facebook friends for the longest time now.  You know those on your Friends list who are just ‘there’? They never comment, they never like and they never have anything on their own page worth liking or commenting on.  You wonder why they are even your friends since you haven’t spoken to them in forever.  Well that’s where I was but never got around to it because I had more important things to do that unfriend people on Facebook.

Yesterday, I was made to feel guilty about my dastardly plan.  I posted that my father had passed and a tidal wave of comments in the way of condolences washed over my page.  Those who didn’t offer comments via my page, called or messaged me.  It was overwhelming as it was touching.  Many of the well-wishers were old friends who I hadn’t spoken to in over 15 years!  To think, I thought they didn’t even know I existed.  Some were on my ‘To Unfriend’ list!

So you see, not because your friends are stagnant and not contributing much in terms of communication, they are there for you in your time of need.  They are probably too busy with more important things than liking or commenting on Facebook.  Having a Facebook account does not mean one has to be a Facebook addict.  Right?

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