Home > 1, Music, Puerto Rico, The Music Business, The Virgin Islands > Book 1. In Nueva York Continued 57, 58 And.. Book 4. Gran Faddah Buckra An De Ol Geeal

Book 1. In Nueva York Continued 57, 58 And.. Book 4. Gran Faddah Buckra An De Ol Geeal

Book 1.  In Nueva York Continued 57, 58

 It was just the beginning of one of the more interesting and consequential seasons of all…the fall.

“Island In The Sun” with Harry Belafonte had just came out and Mud, Gale and I took the subway (a long and dreary ride across cold mucky mud brown marshes, that Mud had to traverse twice a day to and from her job) into the City to see it at “The Roxey”. The minute the opening shots of the beautiful green Island in the beautiful blue sea appeared on-screen, I knew it was a deal done, a conclusion forgone, sooner or later, we were heading back to the bongo isles…

 Gale and I were both in PS 198 AKA Benjamin Cardozo Junior High School, when Mud announced that she was going to St. Thomas on a “little Vacation”…

Gale, Little Larry and I stayed with Aunt Lea and her family just a few streets over in Far Rockaway while Mud was gone…

 In those days I was wearing a little silver heart ring that I had bought for myself in Puerto Rico, from a street vendor for something like a quarter. The little ring said ”Yo Te Amo” (I Love You, in Spanish). I loved it and all it represented. I really did.  

One day during lunch recess I was waiting my turn at the handball wall when someone hit the Spaulding over the school yard fence. It was a very tall chain link fence of the type favored by the New York City public school system, a design thought to be tall enough to discourage even the most defiant of kids from climbing over it. Unfortunately I had stuff to prove (being a shrimp with the cohones ah…rather, jive bravado, of Godzilla) and I rather quickly climbed (to a chorus of “Hey kid dontcha kno etc.) up and over the sky-high thing, down the other side and got the ball.

The truth is the world seemed a much more interesting and inviting place on the outside and I ought to have just thrown the pinky ball over my shoulder and strolled away to make a life with Arleta, but no…

Being a good boy, I climbed back up the blasted fence and when I reached the very tip-top, decided to jump all the way down thus ending my demonstration of casual but exemplary rule breaking/fence-climbing with what I  thought would be great flourish and style.

 Instead when I landed back in the concrete consciousness of PS 198 I discovered that my right ring finger (the one with my Te Amo Heart ring) was now all but ripped off my hand. The ring was gone and my poor finger from the knuckle up, was hanging by a grisly gristle-thread…

My dear friends, I was dumbfounded, shocked and deeply wounded at one and the same time…many an exclamation of confused horror followed me as I headed directly for the Principal’s office where I would turn myself in, confess my sin, beg mercy and petition all in authority for a miracle do-over of the last five minutes. Ah…ah was tragical and upsetting in the extreme.

God bless my dear sister Gale, they summoned her to ride in the ambulance (sirens blaring) with me to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where we were met by poor overtaxed, stressed-out and worried sick, Aunt Lea. 

Apparently, while I teetered sky high on the fence, planning my ascendant descent, the open crisscross at the top of the chain link had snuckeled in between my finger and my mighty fine ring and consequently, when I launched, my ring and finger did not. Meaning of course that something had to give. It was first my finger, and then my beautiful ring.

 You may think it odd, but I was very saddened at what happened to the little heart ring, I don’t believe I actually saw it again but I imagine it, popped and twisted (much like my poor finger) and  abandoned all by it’s self alone.

 The Doctor looked at me, looked at my finger and looked at me and said well. “I hope you won’t planning on playing the piano”.

I wasn’t in the slightest bit concerned about playing the piano, I was scared to death that they were going o take my finger off. However and perhaps in part as a result of my protesting the idea with everyone at every turn, I was asked to choose between having it set to stick (and stay stuck) straight out, or bent over in the shape of “a one finger fisticuff” (they couldn’t just set it okee dookee like,  and back to normal, because the poor thing’s owner had krankfrangled it almost completely beyond repair, and was just plain lucky to have any finger at all even one that looked like it had been glued back on with an L plane)  I choose the one finger fisticuff model, and ironically, when I’m writing a tune on the Piano, (I’ve written some good ones on it, but don’t ask me to play any) (on the piano that is) it’s the only finger in the whole gaggle , that consistently finds and hits the blasted note that it’s supposed to.

I spent the rest of the day and that night in the pediatric ward of the hospital, and therein met some kids whose lives were very different from my own, meaning that they had serious health problems as a fairly central issue and frankly, I hadn’t given much thought to kids in their situation before. My time with them was very touching and important. It was heartbreaking to see them, complete innocents, suffering…    Continues


 Book 4.  Gran Faddah Buckra An De Ol Geeal 

A time when I wa small ah went to see me ol granfaddah de ol Buckra de Paehae de fus fus fus. Ah sae Granfaddah! Ah come tu see yu! He sae Ok den, look me hare, but yu gon got tu bettah stay ou de way, a Ol Geeal coming to see me fo something an ah don wan yu get mashup when de action start! Ah sae “ A Ol Geeal? A Ol Geeal? Who it tis, granfaddah, who it tis? He sae “Ah me bouy, don worry bout dat, yu gon see, don worry bout dat.

 I sae “but Granfaddah, wha kina action yu gon do wid a ol Geeal, yu gon teach ha how tu fall asleep in de chair? Yu gon teach ha how tu take out an put in ha teet dem? How to play domino?  Granfaddah,Yu tink de ol Geeal gon wan tu hear bou when yu poisen yu self an almos whole a dounde road,  when yu cook up dat Barracota in de olden days? Oh how yu used tu tief Mango?  An Granfaddah wha yu gon gee she tu eat? De Ol Geeal ain gon wan no  sardine and French bread to wash doun wid kool aid, Wha wrang wid yu, Granfaddah, you don know you too ol to have a ol Geeal?

 “Ahh meboy” he sae “ahh meboy” das wae yu wrang, you mubbe tink yu Granfaddah ban ol”? Yu dunno yu Granfaddah is a sharp boy? Yu dunno yu talking tu de man de used to call “Buckre de Pale-Male, de champagne ah Gingerale?” Ahh mebouy, in dose days Yu Gran Papeeto had woman like mosquito, woman like whelks, like genip, woman wha couden done me boy. Yu tink ah spen me whole life scratchin me baney? No Sah, Yu tink all I cou do is siddown outside de kitchen do? No Sah, Not me me bouy, De ol Buckra still know a ting or two, yu gon see, don worry bou dat!

De minute Granfaddah see de Ol Gieall by de do, he suck in he belly an he  stann up straight straight, den he sweep off he hat an he bow doun low like Erroll Flynn, he sae “Come right in my darling, come right in my dear,

Bouy, ah couldn believe me oy dem, de ol Geeal wa de famous Carnival Queen from Nineteen Fifty odd, a ol Geeal wha we da see in de newspapah almos every week for doin something good, Dis ol Geeal is like de fus lady of de lan. Wha she doin hare wid me Granfaddah?

Before ah could ask ha dat question, she watch me straight in me face and she sae “Good afternoon young man, I’m hear to take de measure of your Grandfaddah’s Curtin rods” and wid dat de two a dem went straight in side de bedroom.

De nex ting oy know, ah hearin’ tee hee hee and tae hae hae den something fall doun on de bed an de bed spring start to squeak and squeal , an Man, ah embarrass to tell yu wha come nex, ah hear de ol Geeal  sae OY!, OY! Den she sae “Oh me dahlin  Paehae yu know das how ah like it, yu know das how ah like it, den she start tu bawl out Oh Godee Oh Godee (Ah sae to me self what does dat have tu do wid curtin rods?)

She singing now, Yes Sah, Buckra, OOWEE! She singin now! Yes Sah! Buckra, OOWEE! Yu got me goin, yu got me goin OY OY, ah hear dem bouncing up an bouncing up! Oh Godee Oh Godee! She bawl out don stop now don stop now! Man anit soun like a donkey broke he win in de) wid A AAIIIEEEH! (ah sae tu meself, dat soun like de end a de worl) den a KA_POW! ah hear de bed broke doun! Den all ah hear.. is notin atall, noting atall me bouy,  den ah hare de ol Geeal say .. Hello? HELLO?

De nex tin I know de oL Geeail bus out tru de do,  bawlin out Oh God! Oh God! Sonny boy come quick, yu Granfaddah Dead, Yu Granfaddah dead!, Ah done kill yu po Granfaddah, Oh God Sonny boy, ah sae yu po ol Granfaddah dead”

Ah went in tu see fo meself, Man de ol boy wa white like a ghos, he oy dem wa roll back in he head, he toung hangin out de side a he mout,. De woman bawl out Oh God I’s a murderah, I’s a murderah! Ah done kill de sweet ol Buckra!

Den she sae Ah got to get outta hare befor me chrren dem fine out, ah gato go, I ain wan me chrren dem know I ain wan nobody kno…an wid dat she pick up ha wig an she run ou de back and clime doun in de gut an clim up de uddah side a de gut, den she broke thru de chicken coop by de cenep chtree an she wa gan..

Ah sae OH Godee!, OH Godee!  De ol Geeial done gan an le me here alone wid me po dead Granfaddah… Ah sae “Oh Godee, how ah gone tell me Mammie, who it tis kill me Granfaddah? How a gone tell me Mamee wha dey wa doin in de bedroom?” Wha ah gon tell de Police? Ah dunno what u tell de whorl?  

Jus den ah hear a voice sae “boy wha wrang wid yu, yu bettah stop yu bawlin if yu don wan some clout”..when ah tun around, it look like ah see me Granfaddah dae sittin down good as gol an winkin he oy.

Ah sae “but Granfaddah yu dunno yu dead like a ol keeat, de ol Geeal done kill yu, yu ain know yu done dead awreaddy Granfaddah? Yu don tink yu bettah lay doun?

 He sae “Ahh me bouy, don be schupiddy, yu keean see das me good way tu get rid a dem guirl? Das de Ol Buckra trick tu mek dem go home when ah done had me way wid dem. He sae “ Ahh me Bouy…don worry bout a ting, an jus wait til yu see de two ol Geeal wha comin’ tomorrow!!!


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