Growing up in what would be referred to as ‘country’ in Jamaica my memory of what used to be and what are now show some differences that I would like to point out.
LIME TREE. When I was growing up (and this is a fact) every yard in my community had a lime tree. There was no such thing as calling over the neighbour’s asking for ‘two lime’. With the abundance of lime trees, sugar and water consumption was at an all time high.
LEAF-OF-LIFE AND COW-ITCH. These two went hand in hand. One cured the irritation of the other and they were very abundant. If you found cow-itch somewhere, leaf-of-life was found not far away. When last have you seen a Leaf-of-life plant? A bere house bout di place now.
MANGO WALK. Every country community had AT LEAST one of these! Mango season would find bands of hungry omnivores treking to raid the trees of their, sometimes unfit, fruit.
DONKEY. The old faithful transporter of Farmer X. They have become so scarce that a batch mate of mine recently expressed the fact that she thought they were extinct. (Go ahead and laugh, you are excused)
HEDGE PLANTS. These were the ultimate indicator of where one person’s piece of land ended and another’s begun. Some were luscious and nice while others were a sorry excuse. Now-a-days, everybody and dem aunty have fence and walls.
GOATS. Back in the day, the composition of roads and paths had goat dung on the list. There were goats everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. Goats were the first pets for many little country kids. I even had goats as pets (and rabbits too). Country pickney did affi go tie dem out every morning and collect them every evening.
SALT MACKEREL. You could smell this coming from almost every house. It was a Sunday morning breakfast staple! I always wonder why Sunday? This thing digests with its strong smell and you will burp up that smell later as you sit among the pews in the pastor’s sermon.
NASEBERRY WASHING. Summer months always had a time for Naseberry picking, washing and air drying. The clean, pretty fruit was then either shared up or bagged and sold. I too, was a part- taker in this washing, yet I never liked the fruit. Couldn’t not tell you when last I have seen anyone washing those things.
PIMENTO PICKING AND DRYING. Tell me that as a country pickney, you have never experienced this. The lengthy process of stripping the tree. Picking the fruit, drying the fruit and cleaning the dried grains. I tell no lies that I’m kinda glad that the pimento trees at home have done their time. I am grateful for them though because they did buy school books and make uniforms sooooo……
PICKNEY MESSENGER. No, this was not the early version of Yahoo or MSN messenger. This was the main means of short distance message transfers. As a child in any home you had got to be prepared to carry messages for your parent(s)/guardian. And you had better deliver it correctly. Some of us treasured these moments as it was an opportunity to get out of the yard.
TELEGRAM. Now this was the official means of long distance communication. You sending a telegram simply meant that you have someone to communicate with but when you received one, it meant you were important people and the first thought would be that it was coming from foreign (Oh how many persons were disappointed)
SUN OUT MATTRESS. This last one is serious! Lol. I remember seeing Mattresses in yards, propped up against the house “taking sun”! This was shameful for the youngest member of every such yard because ‘aint nobody was gonna assume’ that one of the adults pissed the bed up!
These are some of the things that I no longer see in the country areas. Tell me what you haven’t seen in a while or what you remember from country experiences.