SLICE OF BAJAN LIFE: 50 years with God’s blessing
The celebration of marriage as a worthy institution was eminently placed in focus when Earl and Beverley Clarke rekindled memories of their wedding of 50 years ago on Sunday.
First there was the church service, at which the couple reminisced on the rituals associated with the big event.
The Clarkes returned to the St Lawrence Church, where they were married, and in the presence of guests received a blessing from Reverend Sandra Hazell.
We caught up with them later during a luncheon reception at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa. There close relatives and friends joined in the celebration, against the backdrop of the blue Caribbean Sea.
Here was the ideal setting for nostalgic moments, shared through photos which still looked fresh in the album put together by photographer Cyprian LaTouche Jr 50 years ago.
Love songs were played by Paul Reid and Clifford Boyce, a two-member guitar and pan group called Caribbean Visions. Their selections included I Want To Wake Up With You, I Just Called To Say I Love You, It’s Now Or Never and Love Story.
The service offered at the restaurant also set the mood for the occasion. There was that special invitational flair as one entered the dining area, with service-provider Timilia Bacchus being identified for her caring spirit and pleasant smile.
We quickly recognized that she was adorned with a Customer Service Award badge. We learned that this was the second straight quarter for which she had been awarded the badge for service.
The scene was therefore appropriately set for this grand celebration. Prayers offered by Robin Skeete, Earl’s cousin, helped to lay the foundation for the spirit of love, peace and gratitude to prevail as he petitioned for many more years of marriage for the Clarkes.
In Earl’s absence, we asked Beverley, a former accountant of Barbados Business Machines, to what she attributed the success of the marriage. She told us: “Marriage calls for give and take, understanding. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath and don’t bring in third parties when there are any problems.”
Earl was also philosophical. Noting first that a marriage can only last long when there is the grace of God, the former marketing manager of Purity Bakeries Ltd declared that marriage was just like a business.
He said: “Unless you can adjust and can modify with the changes in life, you will fail. You have to be a step ahead. It is a life-changing experience.
“It is advantageous to work together to achieve a common goal. I believe that without the quality wife I have, I would never have made it. We are compatible. We are dependent on God. We saw His works made manifest. When I see that He has sustained us for 50 years, I can only give Him credit.”
It was not surprising that Earl would hold this perspective. A businessman and innovator, he embarked on his own business ventures after leaving the Goddard Group.
He is credited with producing products under the Sunlife brand which included frozen flour and cornmeal dumplings even before this product was recognized as an innovation under a local programme to recognize innovators.
Earl’s spiritual orientation reflects his involvement with the church as a reverend and organist.
The couple’s children Gina and Roger, who were also present and savouring the occasion, seemed to have some of these business interests in their veins, with Roger now working in the business environment at Music & Echo and Gina having held a lengthy stint as a secretary to the purchasing manager at Pine Hill Dairy.
Roger is married to Scarlette and they are the parents of Victoria.