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Queen of the band
When I met 96-year-old Audrey Williams last Wednesday I was immediately taken aback by her dynamic spirit and infectious laughter. Williams looked younger than her four scores, one decade and six years and was still as sharp as a tack. She came out walking vibrantly, decked in a sky blue pants suit. Her soft, grey curls impressed me and her eyes were bright and sparkling.
Not what I expected. Before the interview I was rather dubious. “Granny,” I was informed, played mas on Carnival Tuesday. She isn’t afraid of ageing. And when asked if she needed a cane to assist with walking her reply was, “When I get older.” She laughed so heartily. “I don’t need a stick yet, girl,” she quipped.
Williams said she loves her mas and nothing will prevent her from playing. It’s what she looks forward to each year. That, and counting the next few years until “the big 100.” “God, let me live eh,” she said laughing. This year she played with Just Friends presented by Earl Crosby. We sat and spoke in her gallery for almost an hour at her home at Belle View Terrace, Long Circular.
“I like my mas…but no nakedness” She’s been playing mas ever since she could remember but always respects her body. She is now referred to as the “queen of the band.” She played with Mas Men and Starlift in years gone by. Her daughter, Margaret said everyone shows extra care and attention to her mother although she seems healthy and strong. Williams boasted her only ailment was arthritis.
Early to bed, early to rise
Carnival Tuesday she wore a long, red flowing skirt, red, gold and white corset-like top piece, accesorised with a tiara and wand. Of course, she wore a T-shirt because “I don’t like that nudeness and vulgarity.” She said, “I have to respect my age and my body.”
Of bikini and beads, she said, “Nah, nah, nah…that eh fuh me. My priest is watching me you know.” She goes to the Church of the Assumption in Maraval each Sunday. She said she enjoyed Fantastic Friday by “Blue Boy” (SuperBlue).
Williams showed no signs of being fearful while she was out on the road. When she got tired, she rested and then was up again. She said she left home around 7 am and got home about 9 pm on Carnival Tuesday. “I like my mas, girl. I look forward to it,” she said.
Granny had me laughing non-stop. She takes a taxi and heads into Port-of-Spain weekly “to lime.” She loves watching Crime Watch at 6 pm everyday. She cooks and eats what she wants. She washes her clothes. She prays. And she doesn’t want to go to a public hospital.
“Ah good, girl. Ah good, good, good.” That’s her response to her age and strength. Williams has four children. Her only son died. She has 17 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and ten great great-grandchildren. One of her grandsons, Joivon Glasglow celebrated his 25th birthday on Wednesday.
Williams said, “Maybe today as it is my grandson’s 25th birthday I will take a little drink.” She laughed. In a strong and assertive tone, she said her advice to people was the adage—Early to bed, early to rise. Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Saddened by treatment towards the elderly
“I don’t like how they take away people’s pension and thing, you know,” she said as she shook her head. Williams said she couldn’t understand why people would want to harm elderly women and molest them. As she began to talk, she hails out to a woman on the road. “Sunny!” She said, “This one (Sunny) does say, ‘Margaret, your mother younger than you’.”
Sunny pays her a slew of compliments then walks away. Williams shifts back to her response. “Goshhhh. I don’t know what they does be thinking.” She cringes. But she is not too daunted. Anyone who “humbugs” her will have to deal with her. She said, “You feel I old. Come, come. Try it. I strong you know.”
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