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OF MICE AND MEN:  Sugar baby, won’t you come on home


OF MICE AND MEN:  Sugar baby, won’t you come on home

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Today, we bring another article from one the columns written by late Editor Emeritus Harold Hoyte. Of Mice and Man was a staple in the Daily Nation for several years when Hoyte was Editor-in-Chief. He passed away on Sunday at age of 77.

These days, the fields and rolling hills of our verdant countryside are being swiftly transformed into a rusty brown carpet.

For us that used to be an exciting time, signalling that my sugar baby is finally coming home,

These days, narrow, winding streets are gradually gathering heaps of trash and cane peelings, another indication that my sugar baby is just around the corner.

These days, heavily laden tractor-trailers are meandering through our winding roads, slowing traffic to a crawl. When that happens, I know my sugar baby is not far away.

These days and nights, the air is full of conflicting smells. The factories are emitting a foul, loathsome odour, interspersed with a compelling, pervasive aroma, both signalling the final preparation of my sugar baby for home-coming.

The stacks of ripened cane they are lumbering along the road from the fields to the factories will turn like magic into a golden brown crystal to flavour every Bajan’s cup of tea or glass of lemonade. No one worries about the inconvenience We all savour the though of having our home-grown sugar baby back in the family.

Everywhere in rural Barbados we know the harvesting of the 1995 sugar crop is on. But it is different these days.

We have a crop. We have a harvest. We have the trash, the traffics, the fires and the fragrances.

But we won’t have our sugar baby back.

The trash, the traffic and the troubles are leaving a bitter taste in my mouth in the midst of the season for sugar.

Instead of staying home, my sweet-tasting sugar baby is slipping quietly away from the rural factories in trucks bearing three hurting words “Sugar for export”. Nothing wrong with those words if other trucks were saying “Sugar for home folk”.

But there are none.

The trucks are all headed for Bridgetown. There they are piling it up, grain by grain, millions and millions of grains, in the sugar bond at the Bridgetown Port.

And while our sugar baby is climbing to the high ceiling of that mammoth warehouse in the Bridgetown Port, some ships are ploughing their way across the Atlantic to take our sugar baby away from us for the tables of Europe.

I hope this will be the last such year I don’t get to see my sugar baby.

I want my sugar baby back.

I miss her.

Dark or light, my sugar baby is the sweetest.

You don’t need much to sweeten your tea. Just a little does the trick. My sugar baby does not melt very easily like other sugar babies. With my sugar baby you have to stir it up to get results.

That’s the sugar baby I learnt to handle.

I hope to get my sweet sugar baby back before I lose my taste buds.

If not, I wouldn’t recognise my sugar baby at all.

That would be a bittersweet day.

* Harold Hoyte is Editor-in-Chief.


This article was published in the Daily Nation, February 27, 1995.

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