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    The Black Rider

    authentic since 1981 'welcome to my bomboclot mind'

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Sunday mornings

    Sunday mornings

    Part one

    The one thing I remember most about Sunday mornings were my mothers outfits. Her hats were so ornate. The colors screamed at you in golds and purples and reds and auburn. And her suits were amazing as well. I remember this one gold suit she had. Loved it so much. And she had the golden shoes to match. With the gold and purple hat, and the suit had these bright golden buttons.

    In the Jamaican sunlight, everything looked heavenly. Your skin glowed with the awesomeness of love. A country with so much culture and vibes and music with such conservative traditions. Blame it on the English monarchy or the religious indoctrination, but if you weren't in reggae, dancehall, or calypso, you were in church. And Sunday morning was quite a parade.

    My fathers outfits were nothing to scoff at either. He had this brown suit that shined like it was polished with light and dark stripes pinned to each other. In the caribbean sun it looked like he had just stepped out of the morning news and into your life, live and direct.

    We were a family of beauty. I spit polished my shoes. My sister had curly blonde bangs in her hair. The had called her Goldie locks because of her fair complexion and sunlight kissed mane. My brother came along later on and did not stay long enough in the island to participate in the unofficial pageant that was Sunday morning service. But his baby clothes and carriage were nothing to scoff at either.

    We were the Nation family. My father was Keith Nation, the youth president for the biggest Pentecostal church in Jamaica and and held the National position of youth president as well. He bought and sold auto parts for a living and also rented cars to Jamaican ex patriates who visited the island for vacations and to anyone that wanted to look fashionable on wheels. He had style, swag, and was a serious man.

    My mother was a lab technician that often times put her career on pause to help my dad with his businesses, returning on and off when finances were needed. Eventually for health reasons, she couldn't continue with the chemical company she worked for, and worked with my dad full time. At least that how I remember it as a child. It is what I was told.

    Mom had worked for Sherlhome Chemicals. The were a nationally recognized cleaning products company. They had commercials on prime time Jamaican TV, billboards all across the island, and print adds and the national publications, The Daily Gleaner, The Weekly Star, The Daily Star, The Sunday Herald, The Jamaican Observer, and the like. I was proud to have known my own mother had a hand in making the chemicals the kept the country clean. Every time I saw a billboard for Sherlhome Chemicals, I would say to myself with pride ,"my Mommy makes that".

    I remember going to the parties her company used to have. Awesome beauty. Jamaican professionals, light skinned, dark skinned, white, asian, all colors, and the national motto goes, "Out of many, One People".

    And it was on on Sunday morning. You dare not leave the house without primping and priming every aspect of your body. Your hair must be well oiled with Dixie Peach hair oil. A clear petroleum jelly that was very popular in the island back them. It was on my the family dresser which was really my Mom and Dad's dresser that me and my sister adopted for ourselves on Sundays. Teeth scrubbed to the max and flossed, mother always said, "take the pains to keep your teeth clean". Mom had taught me from when I could walk tie my shoes how to press my shirts and my pants. I had my own iron and ironing board and I always spent minutes or hours getting my shirts and pants pressed tight with the long crease down the front and back of each leg, we wore 'Chaplin' pants back then, baggy dress pant like the ones Charlie Chaplin wore in his movies with pleats in them. Three on each side normally, or if you were fancy, you would have variations in yours. If you were daring, you would try to get away with what the youth of my time called 'bell bottoms'. The style of today, a flat pants front with no pleats, tight and low at the waist with some room in the ankle were the stuff of jokes and ridicule back then, and only older folks, being forty and older, would even dare step out in public with such designs.

    I spent time getting my pleats straight. Spraying them with the water in the iron or pouring water from a cup, dragging the iron across the wet garments and watching the steam hiss and rise like snakes from a snake charmers whistle.

    With shiny hair, shiny shoes, pressed and straight pants, and sharp shirt collar, and stunning neck tie, I was proud to be Brother Nation's big son. "young Nation" is what they called me. And I liked it.

    After we were all ready, we would go into the gaily vehicles, and travel to Sunday morning service.

    The funny thing about the family vehicle, is we never really had one for a long time. We had like five. My father's auto business gave him access to many of the latest model of motor vehicles. Nissan Sunnys and Nissan Sentras, Toyota Camrys and Ladas, but the one I remember the most is the stone white Mazda RX7. That was the first family I remember, the last one was a Ford Escort. In between were company cars of various designs like the Burgundy Honda Civic that one of my Dad's employees wrecked on Flat Bridge. That burgundy was amazing with a powdered finish, the man who wrecked it was lucky to survive and from what I can remember and I will never forget this, he was skidding, and tried to get out of the skid, and the car flipped over. Now if you know Jamaica, and you know Flat Bridge, you know that Flat Bridge is the most terrifying bridge to cross in the world, it is between two banks over a river with no railings and looks like driving your vehicle across a tight rope with ninety degree turns on each side. That burgundy Honda Civic, flipped over on that Bridge, and if it ended up in the river or the banks, I do not know, but the top of the vehicle when it was brought back to my Dad's shop was caved in. A part of my Dad's business along with buying and selling parts, and renting fancy wheels, was auto body repair. His guys put the bits and pieces back together of that vehicle, but like humpty dumpty, it was never quite the same. They worked weeks if not months on that vehicle, and I watched them every day after school when I would spend evenings at my Dad's place of business. They hammered it and welded it and sanded it and putty and what not all over it and painted it till it was good as used.

    The Mazda RX7 had a special demise. We were all packed in the sports sedan. I was six years old. My sister was two. My mother was still in her twenties, and my father just into his thirties. We were an amazing family. I was all polished and shined up, my Mom had on her Gold and Purple Sunday suit, my father was wearing his Brown Bomber, my sister with her red complexion and sunny kinky hair, we were going to Sunday Morning Service and Sunday School. My father, the Sunday School teacher, my mother, a Sunday school teacher, young professionals late for the Sunday parade, my dad, speeding in the sports car with his two young children in the back slams on the breaks. I lurch out of my seat, flying against his and falling to the floor of the car, my sister was strapped in her car seat, my Mom has screamed out in her beautiful and elegant Jamaican accent, "Jesus!" and my father was quiet as a mouse, eyes wide open, teeth clenched tight. I looked up from where I was, on the floor of the rear of the car, if I was not six years old and all of three feet long or so, I would have still been in the back seat, but I managed to fly around the rear and end up on the floor, I saw blood all over the cracked windshield. The boy my father had hit was on the sidewalk, wincing in pain,his back a pattern of cuts and bruises, like a hundred shards of glass were crudely spread in a plaid pattern across his backside. He was in pain. He and his friends were playing cricket, and he ran out into the street to get the ball, and my fathers car with his his family in it, and that boy and his backside both collided.

    After the vehicle was repaired, my father tinted the windshield. Yup. Tint it a midnight black. He sold the vehicle not long after that and rotation of family vehicles began not long after.






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