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Musing About Island Christmas of Years Past
written by: Sheila Henry
I sit quietly with thoughts
reminiscing on Christmases past.
Ah, the toil is over, after
weeks of busied shopping and home improving;
draperies hung and fresh paint coats the walls.
Fixings of the holiday menu now ready to begin.
I still remember intoxicating aromas
wafting through the house
a fusion of savory smells all mixed together
of different meats roasting in the oven
while several sides simmer atop the stove.
Sorrel, ginger beer and punch de creme
bottled and ready for drinking
and salty picnic ham with chow chow to go with everything.
And it’s not an island Christmas
if there are no black rum cakes to share
though baking is done on Christmas Eve
the process began months ahead.
Dried fruits; currants, raisins, citron and prunes
measured in the right poundage, ground and
stored in glass jars with rum and wine to soak till right.
Christmas Eve was a festive groove
when carolers came a singing outside your door
parang singers came too with their cuatros
to lit up the night singing merry parang songs
lending a magical energy to the night.
There are no chimneys for
Santa to descend and no fancy sleigh
with reindeer for him to ride, and
temps may reach the 80’s on Christmas morn,
yet Santa still engaged every child’s mind.
Whether a gift is received or not was inconsequential
Christmas was about sharing spirit and energy by
celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus born in a manger,
who three wise men followed a star to find. And for us folks,
enjoyment of food and libations with friends, as we reveled
from house to house on Christmases past.