My grandaunt, Lilleth Martin, will be buried today. After 100years she decided to quit. To quit, at least so it seems, as she lived those hundred years without ever seeing a doctor and was stringing needle, and taking care of herself up to the point of death.
For crying out loud there had been a big celebration at two venues, the church and school, for the celebration of her 100th years.
Children and relatives had traveled as far from England to Jamaica to be with her on the occasion, and well wishers were not scarce. She was affectionately known as Mum or Cuz.
I bemoan her passing as she was not only so affectionate to me personally but the whole community in which she lived.
No one can be found who will ever say a trickle of bad thing about this lady. I remembered on a night of serenade at the local school hall, when I was singing her praises, and she actually stopped me and told me to mention her other friend and another mother of the community, who had long been passed. It was her night but she wouldn’t accept all the accolades for herself.
Today she will be buried but weep not for her my people.
Although she was not fettered with gold and silver, she lived the good life of health and beauty. She is one of them who knew of a plant over the hill in the bush, or behind the house, that could cure anything that ails you. She didn’t live the normal assembly-line life of people, where they are born grow to adult, get sick and then die. No sire! She was born, grew to an adult, lived good, got old and then dies.
Accompanying her in this feat is people like Jack Lelanne, and countless others right there in that Jamaican community of Mason Hall. As a matter of fact she is not the local title holder on this either, as some have lived well over a century in that community.
The infrastructure of Mason Hall is what could be considered unimproved from the standard of modernization, in this era there is still no good roads nor piped water. But boy! are the people healthy! When I was growing up there I remembered cooling my thirst with water coconuts from my personal coconut tree under which my navel string was buried. This followed the custom of burying navel string under a fruit tree that would be yours as you grow older. (Now a days children are been born in hospital, so they have no navel string tree).
I cannot even blame the refreshing wind that blows off the sea for the coolness and affability of these people, but yes I will take it. You see mason hall sits on an elevation where the Trade Wind is abundant. Most people have enough land for the generation to use and cultivate. The generation that is now living into the hundredth year is those that eat their own chicken, pigs, cows and goats, and foods from the ground or trees, and fish from the Caribbean sea.
We had a saying that; when mango is ripening you turn down your pot. It is for the most part figurative and illustrative of the times of plenty of one thing that we would make good use of. However the saying actually comes from the certain behavior at mango time.
Many evenings we would gather mangoes, delicious ones, and families and neighbors would come together under the moonlight and just eat pure mangoes, for dinner, desert, or supper. Not with knives mark you, but with our hands and teeth.
The generation that is experiencing this longevity did not have cars to take them everywhere but used what God gave them; their legs. I have vivid recollection of waking up 5:00am in the mornings to do household chores of carrying water, feed the animals, chop firewood, and on Saturday mornings accompanying my grandmother to meet Mum, and they would finish the journey of three miles of walking to the bay to sell coconut oil, fruits, ripened Gros Michel (Gross Mitchell) the golden tasty treat of bananas, and ground provisions.
…Yes today they are burying Mum. What a legacy she has left behind. She showed and exemplified what good heart and good living can do. She didn’t just survived she lived! Maybe we should copy her way of life, of love for neighbor and natural living. Probably if we do that we too can have a long and prosperous living with no maladies choking out our existence.
Today mum will be buried, dead at 100years. No death is received joyfully but she was not thirty or fifty not even seventy. She didn’t die from obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, or cancer. For all I am concerned she never had the common cold. Could we learn something from the lives of such as Mum?
Today many have abrogated the life style of Mum and those like her, for the more artificial and modernized living with refrigerated and sterile foods. This alien life style has put Jamaican men in the category of the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world, and God knows what else.
I ask again could we learn from the life of Mum and those like her? Or maybe I should say shouldn’t we learn from their lives!
Please read my survivor story from prostate cancer, and other inspirational pieces by clicking books at this linkhttps://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile
Till then walk good and pack light.