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THE LOWDOWN: From suffrage to suffering via socialism

Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: From suffrage to suffering via socialism

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“Lowdown”, you will say, “yuh getting old!” But you’re wrong. It isn’t age, it isn’t eyesight. It isn’t Al-anybody’s disease.
It’s a terrible disability. I just can’t recognise people. Or remember names. Or associate names with anything. Worst of all, I usually recognise somebody as somebody completely different.
Back in the 60s some of us Ministry of Agriculture staff were working in a field. A car stopped. I recognised June Roach and started waving and shouting at her. My colleagues were dumbfounded. “You must be on awfully good terms with the Chief Agricultural Officer’s wife,” they said.
Another time I was telling a speculator about another ignorant speculator who had recently paid me way too much for an old bony cow. Afterwards my wife asked: “Didn’t you realise that is the same speculator you sold that bony cow to last week?”
I spent a whole night with Kaymar Jordan at the Bush Bar. Yet when she came visiting a few weeks ago and said she was my editor, I went, “Hello, Carol!”
It never stops. Yet I can remember what anybody said word for word. Like a certain young lady in the late 50s when I mentioned I had told a boy at school that she liked him. (Actually I was joking. I never had any conversation with the guy.) Her exact words, dripping sugar, were: “Well thank you, Baby Hoad, but you can kiss my ***!” (One notes from the Internet that this is now an accepted option in sexual preamble. It wasn’t in those days.)
Nor is my memory lacking otherwise. I know for certain that the last time I had a nice time was somewhere in a previous century. Which century, I don’t recall.
Fast forward to last Friday night. Harrison College put on a boss concert. Music to die for. One worrying thought: lots of current students there; many of my daughters’ contemporaries; the Poonka, Andre Woodvine, Smokey Burke era well represented. But of my generation . . . am I the last?
Anyhow I got to talk with the great Arturo Tappin. Told him how I couldn’t get any sax in Guataka so was trying fluting. He advised that for fluting a small hole is best.
Better was yet to come. I play recorder and was spellbound by the virtuosity of Boo Husbands on that instrument. Wow! Then during intermission who should walk past but: Boo Husbands! This person had on a suit and was short. Just like Boo. It had to be him.
I stood aside and watched him pass in worshipful awe. He saw me watching him and came back to shake my hand. He kept shaking my hand and asking me something. But the steelband was playing and I couldn’t hear. Then finally I got it. He was asking where we had met. “We never did,” I told him.
I rejoined my daughter gleefully: “Imagine”, I told her, “in one night I get to meet Arturo Tappin and Boo Husbands.” “Dad”, she said, “sorry, but that gentleman looks nothing whatsoever like Boo Husbands.”
Luckily I didn’t mention his recorder playing. Seriously though, I feel Government should provide people like me with a female companion to whisper names like “Arturo”, “Boo Husbands”, or even, “your wife”.
Of course Froon will say too many Barbadians are suffering from a far greater disability: socialism. As Thomas Sowell notes: “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” Yet we listened to intellectuals, have embraced this nonsense, have taught recent generations that they can get everything free from Government with little or no effort on their part.
In just over half century socialist policies have taken us from universal adult suffrage to universal adult suffering. Now we need a Socialism Anonymous to detoxify the population and get them producing to save this country from economic ruin.
Hats off to Harrison College. They needed funds, they put on fundraising concerts living up to the “boys who will never give up” in their school song.
Hats off to the Community College boys raising funds by selling fish cakes outside Trimart Supermarket in Mile-and-a-Quarter. Dem fish cakes big and sweet too!
Now we need to see the UWI intellectuals working their 30 acres at Dukes.
Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.