MAVIS BECKLES: Age is just a number
YOU COULD IMAGINE dat a country the size o’ Barbados; a country dat is a mere dot pon the map could boast of being one o’ the top ten countries in the world wid the most centenarians?
Look, we ain’t only pon the world map through entertainment wid people like Rihanna, Rupee, Shontelle or Hal Linton and others so, or King Suki wid draughts. We ain’t even only pon the map wid the senior games or the Special Olympics nor wid the great athletes like Bradly Ally, Nicky Neckles and Andrea Blackett or the Olympic medalist like Obadele Thompson and world champion Ryan Brathwaite.
No, soul. We have another set o’ people, the centenarians; duh doing it week after week. Dem like duh deciding dat dem ain’t lying down and gine ’long from ’bout here fuh a boy.
But tell me something tho’. You could imagine a man or woman living fuh one whole hundred years, though? You could imagine being pon this earth fuh suh long and still got ya good senses ’bout ya?
Ting, dat is a long, long time tuh be ’bout here. You could imagine seeing your children, dem children, and then dem children too?
The other day I was talking there wid a cousin o’ mine and she was telling me dat she thinks Mr Sisnett is the third oldest man in the world and a lady from either Japan or China is the oldest. She was saying dat as far as centenarians go, Barbados was up in there at the top, wid places like the same Japan, China, I think a few Latin American countries and the United States of America.
But what have dem living suh long, though? Well, evahtime ya see one o’ dem pon the TV or in the newspapers, ya does hear dem saying dat not only is it the mercies o’ God dat has kept dem this long, but real good bittle. The ground provisions like potato, yams, eddoes and good old time cassava – dem kinda ground provisions so. They does also tell you dat dem used tuh work real hard in the fields.
But it ain’t only the hard work; wid it comes good food. Dem people used tuh feed duh bodies well.
There is something dat I cahn seem tuh understand tho’, where all o’ this lot o’ hypertension, diabetes or, as duh call it, sugar come from all of a sudden? Wha’ these very people used tuh eat all kinds o’ fatty foods like the pork jowl and snout fuh flavouring duh rice and then the tripe and belly fuh belly soup, the very pig belly dat some people does still use fuh pudding and souse nowadays.
Talking ’bout dat, dem old time people used tuh corn duh meat, and put up salt ham up in the roof every single Christmas. Then there was the Palm Tree butter in the yellow tins wid the trees pon it or the Clover Queen rich yellow butter dat duh used tuh take and put pon white rice or cassava and ya never used tuh hear all this lot o’ talk ’bout salk, sugar or pressure; and now look, the people who grow up eating all o’ dat sort o’ food living long, long, long.
Well, I would have tuh say that it is the lot o’ chemicals dat duh putting in the foods nowadays dat bringing on all o’ these diseases and ya would notice dat these centenarians ain’t eating nutten so ’cause, look, I read in the newspaper what Mr Sisnett say.
He say he like he soup wid evahthing in it, along wid some kinda meat and he, like a lot o’ the other centenarians, does eat evahthing and he like a li’l strong drink evah suh often too.
I think I hear something ’bout dem calling it the silver age or something so. People living real long nowadays, hear. But the young ones dying out fast enough. I wonder why? I even notice dat the professional people who does work pon the risk factors fuh the insurance companies now raise the life expectancy age fuh women from 80 to 85 and the men from 75 to 80.
• Mavis Beckles was born and raised in The Orleans. She has an opinion on everything.