Family fun day

bajaninnyjuly26picnicAs are families, so is society. If well ordered, well instructed, and well governed, they are the springs from which go forth streams of national greatness and prosperity — of civil order and public happiness.” Thayer

Imagine, it is past midnight and a group of event organisers are feverishly finalising plans of an open air family fun day. It is “raining cats and dogs”. Beyond the shutters thunder and lightning shake the window pane.

One of them is on the BlackBerry checking the weather forecast for Saturday 12th. A few are biting their nails, some are scratching their heads, but everyone leaves the planning meeting hoping for a large window of sunshine.

About 3 p.m., the next day, an electric powered bus, travelling along Sea View Avenue in Brooklyn, stops at 90th street, to let out passengers. A stern voice shouts:

“Sit down! We aren’t there yet! This part of Canarsie Park is where people have cook outs and picnics. You can’t see the slides and swings?”

Two adult women and three children oblige, and the B17 sets off. When the bus reaches its last stop at 105th Street the same voice says:

“Wunna can get off now. Yuh see we flag over there!”

The above vignettes — the first fiction, the second a real conversation — could easily be the opening scenes, or clippings from a movie or video called Bajan Family Day in the Park.

Truth be sold, the 10th annual Fun and Family Day organised by the Friends of Barbados DLP Association endured a threat of rain, and heat, and eventually there was more than enough time to allow many Barbadians and Caribbean well wishers to reconnect to their traditions.

There were several subplots that could make a movie:

* Families and friends sitting in chairs, lying on blankets.

* Patrons moving from vendor to vendor and peeking at well made handicrafts, or purchasing food of their choice — cou cou, coconut bread, pone, flying fish, peas and rice as opposed to rice and peas, fish cakes, rice and stew, and pudding and souse.

* Children playing and building castles in the sand.

* Domino playing, and, of course an onlooker starts an argument that nearly aborts the domino game.

* A Town Crier announcing events, playing some of the latest hits, persuading children and adults to compete in events.

* False starts to three races.

* Tee shirt with byline — One Bajan under God.

* Politician and community spirited Raggoo (Trevor Thompson) who cooked and brought food and drinks for his friends and “whosoever will”.

As with every movie, there is always some subplot, actor, or scene that is significant, but for some reason does not receive any acclaim. So too it was with the fun day.

Among the 30 or so stalls laid out in an L shape on the extremities of the Canarsie cricket field and near the entrance, there was a stall that offered for sale excellent handmade handicrafts and knits that were made in Barbados by young Barbadians.

I didn’t see any long lines and by the end of the day, coordinator Undene Whittiker was still looking for customers. The same cannot be said for many of the 25 food stalls. And this contrast in response certainly presents an unresolved conflict in the movie.

When the rain started to drizzle at about 6:45, the sun was still far above the horizon and about 3,000 people were still camping out. The umbrellas were up when another group of some younger folk arrived. The police would soon follow and the town crier would pull the plug on the music and send everybody home until next year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *