By LENNOX FARRELL
Recalling this other tale always tears me up. It was another Christmas Eve. Our mother had taken one of our younger sisters with her to the Port-of-Spain fish market. They’d returned, and along with the Carite fish, ginger root, freshly-plucked chicken, and assorted last minute Christmas items, walking up the street with them was a girl, a little older then we, pregnant.
To cut a long story short, but including some necessary details, our parents had nine children – we were a small family on our street in Trinidad. But they raised at least 15, mostly young girls our mother found somewhere or other; who’d had a baby, or was pregnant, sometimes for a stepfather. Sometimes kicked out by the mother.
Our father was a gentle soul. “Mother” – never “Mudder” – was the dynamo in the house. For him, she could do no wrong. So, she’d brought home yet another “mouth to feed”?
“Ce deux, ce deux – it’s God’s will.”
Fast forward, decades later; most of us now resident in North America. Our parents well aged.
A younger sister, one of many, phoned me with an experience she’d had. A Bible worker for the Adventists, she had attended a conference in Washington, D.C. and after delivering her address – she’d regularly baptized scores in crusades – a younger woman had run outside after her.
“You’re Mrs. Farrell’s daughter? From Morvant?”
Then the woman, early thirties, told my sister why she was so keen to meet her.
Her mother, a stripling girl, had been pregnant with her. Mother had taken her in – most of us now living abroad – and helped her complete her schooling. Mother, who’d been a teacher, had assisted the girl’s mother; who’d passed her GCE exams shortly after, Mother, sending her to a partisan in the U.S., had withdrawn money from one account; putting it in the mother’s name to meet Immigration requirements. Immigration knew our mother well.
In the U.S., the girl’s mother had become a nurse; then sending for the daughter. She, now meeting my sister was also a triage nurse. And a delegate from her church to the Camp Meeting.
Like I said, “it tears me up every time”. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!