A couple weeks ago I had a visit from a good friend who I had not seen for quite some time. While we were chatting about our hometown of St James so much was said and shared it was unbelievable.
What stood out was the evolution of our elders and the sacrifices they made to have this city where it is today.
St James was once labelled the city that never sleeps. That title has slowly reduced itself to a more moderate and social businesslike area.
The elders of St James dealt with the incubated period with outstanding levels of astuteness, hence the reason love between neighbours flourished in such a manner that all spiritual, cultural and most of all, sporting events cast a glow on the relationships that prevailed.
While chatting about some of the elders who are still holding the fort, it was amazing to recall the history of such important events that took place in this humble little city. Growth is something we cannot treat lightly.
However, an obvious factor that emanates from the struggles and hard work our elders did must be attributed to camaraderie. It was a unanimous feeling that the elders of St James demanded respect in all aspects of life and due to this rigid concept success was attained and remained always present.
Our discussion ventilated in a manner that created a sense of peace that stood out as a fixed factor in St James. This did not come about easily however, as every town or city’s rough elements felt they must be noticed. This sort of action was quickly dealt with by those who were assigned the responsibility of the area and tranquillity soon returned.
A solid aspect that crept into our city was the demand for respect for our elders. Respect was automatic, simultaneous and without question. It was natural that you performed your duty or else you paid dearly for its absence. The norm was you either complied or felt the consequences.
No one dared argue or retaliate. As a matter of fact if you failed to respect the elders in St James you were dealt the wrath or ills of punishment. If you disrespected an elderly person you were disciplined by them and once you arrived home, the discipline continued.
What always stood out for me was the manner by which our elders related their experiences in a story-like fashion which enticed your attention. This surely moved your appetite so that you were continuously yearning for more. It is a pity that recordings of these episodes could not be retained but have vanished into the air.
Another area we in St James felt proud about was the two dominant races, African and Indian living in harmony. It was so nice to see our elders sitting in the cool of the evening libating and talking about the day’s work.
Elders in St James were not defined as male. When we speak about elders it is understood that we are speaking of both sexes. Just as the men worked hard to keep the flag of craftiness alive, so did the women and more so, they were the backbone of the family.
Unique as it might have been, collaboration between the elders was important. There was no macho image, just a closely knit and balanced way of life. If our elders did not have the patience they so uniquely possessed, our lovely St James would not be the place of note it is today.
A saying our elders used often: hard work never kill anyone. Rolling through the passage of mine it is easy to understand how satisfied and content our elders were in doing what they knew best, which is to work diligently to improve their lives, homes, children and community.
If you ask an elder what is their choice between the good old day’s and now, without missing a beat the old days is undoubtedly their choice because it was less complicated.
If we, as St James people, look deep into the hard work our elders did in order to uphold the ethical and respectful standards for those coming behind to emulate, one must ponder how they should be treated for their marvellous and exciting contributions.
The We Beat programme honoured our outstanding elders, both men and women, for their sterling and deep way of life. What a noble way of dealing with your elders. Credit must also be given to the unsung heroes who supported the cause to liberate this powerful city.
As my friend said, the time has come for the changing of the guards. If continuity is to be maintained, our elders must shine and we must ensure a smooth transition.
To our elders in St James, never entertain the thought that your contributions went unnoticed. It is because of your wisdom we are where we are today. It is said if you look at the quality and standard of your elders you can determine the level of success.
Let us give thanks and praise to our elders and do so with pride and appreciation.
To St James, keep showering your blessings on our elders and may the blessings of the Lord be with us always.
In the spirit of growth