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Look for me on de road


Al Gilkes

Look for me on de road

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Adonijah making me do it.
Like him I am about to prove that I still have something left in the bottle, baby.
And come tomorrow, I plan to be on the road win’ing in a Kadooment band for the first time in some 15 years.
Don’t look for me in costume because I only made the decision on Friday night after listening to and watching Adonijah on stage in the Gymnasium.
Yes, ado, you inspired me to come back and prove to any doubting female who want to test me that like you, I not only still able to wind but more importantly, have a lot of good wine left in my bottle.
I knew Friday was too late to get a costume from anybody but I took a chance and with Richard Haynes at Baje International, who invites me to the band launch every year and told not to worry, just come in anything comfortable Monday morning and “cool out” on the music truck. If I felt [like it] I could also take an occasional chip in a section.
Richard’s response gave me even more encouragement to prove to all of you younger ones that Adonijah knows what he is talking about when he tells you not judge us by the age but by the good stuff we have left in the bottle, baby. So look for my wine on the road tomorrow.
I not fooling anybody but I know it’s not going to be easy after such a long absence from Kadooment. I stopped during the ten years I served as NCF chairman in spite of and because of the fact that most band leaders invited me to jump with them, some even offering free costumes.
I refused every year because shortly after I took over at NCF, my friend Gabby announced his retirement from competition at a time when half of the Stadium for Pic-O-De-Crop finals still came from the east to back RPB and the other half from the rest of Barbados to back Gabby.
With Gabby out I knew the competition would be kicking with just one foot so I used our friendship to encourage him to return and announced the good news at a Press Conference. Unfortunately, Gabby won the competition and I ended up being accused left, right and centre of “giving” him the crown.
After that, as much as I had liked jumping from as far back as a teenager in Jaycees Barbados Carnival bands before the return of Crop Over, I refused all offers out of fear that if a band I was in emerged a winner I would again be accused of “giving” them the prize.
During the past four years since leaving NCF I continued to be happy just being on the sidewalks and ogling my eyes red at the sea of bumpers rolling and bubbies jumping from the Stadium
to Spring Garden.
Not so tomorrow. I am back and getting my waistline in gear to help you all accept that Ado is right about how much wine we old men still have left in the bottle.
All that’s left for me to do now is to wake up in the morning in time to catch the band before it reaches Spring Garden.
• Al Gilkes is head of a public relations firm.

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