|A Merry Trinbago Christmas|
At last, the green, green grass of home. Ah, the joy to be home for the holidays, whether living, studying or just visiting for a cultural exchange. There is something about a Trinbago Christmas that refreshes, revives and reawakens that part of you that strives to break free. So loosen that top button, wear colours you normally would not be seen in and put on a pair of rubber slippers to go out in and make yourself at home.
Its great to be back as you listen to the melodious sound of parang originating from the Northern Range in Paramin Village and the sweet steel-pan belting out your favourite Christmas carols.
The sidewalks are hectic with an array of vendors selling everything you could possibly want. People hustling and bustling seemingly unaware that they push you out of the way. "Shucks man!"
Music blares out from huge speakers on wheels, coming from a man who is selling the latest CD's and music at unbelievable prices and vagrants dance along without a care in the world.
The material shops have sale banners strewn across the front windows advertising inexpensive Christmas curtains. You look through the entrance daring to venture into the shop, full to capacity with women pulling and tugging at cloth, relentlessly buying yards and yards of new curtains especially for Christmas.
You suddenly remember it is a time for "fixin' up" as you witness a similar scene at the hardware where paint and brushes are sold to add that fresh coat of paint to the house.
At the side of the highway cars line the hard shoulder to buy sorrel or pigeon peas from pick-up trucks, amply stocked for one and all.
You decide to go to a mall only to find that the car park is full and the surrounding roads are lined bumper to bumper with cars.
At last you are at Aunty Merles for Christmas dinner. She comes around with a plate of something to eat. "Yuh want a pastelle?"
She lowers the plate to reveal a green, folded leaf. Everyone takes one as though it was chocolate. You watch from the corner of your eye not wanting to show your ignorance. Unwrapping the leaf, bright yellow cornmeal stares you in the face as you take a nibble on the corner and then biting into spicy meat with raisins and olives.
Hmmm, interesting you think folding it up quickly.
"Have some black cake," Aunty Merle says pushing a plate in your hands with a slice of the blackest cake you have ever seen. Alcohol fills the air the closer it gets to your mouth. It's a good thing you are over 21 years of age as the cake is loaded with 100% proof alcohol!!
Christmas music is played as family and friends "ole talk" as some men gather around a table with cards in hand, ready for a game of "all fours."
Aunty Merle and Uncle Augustus start the festive dancing arm in arm doing a fancy two-step.
There is laughter and smiles all around and you can't help but think, it's great to be home for a Trinbago Christmas!