Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How Prince Harry and Meghan's Romance, The Curry Flavor Twist Broke Royal Tradition to Help Others

Flavor is defined as: The distinctive taste of a food or drink; an indication of the essential character of something; alter or enhance the taste of food and beverage by adding a particular ingredient.

In the beginning there was flavor and the flavor was with romance. And that romance was kept among a chosen few for safekeeping. The romantic flavor, in due season, ripened beyond measure and was shared among the people across the globe. For who would have thought that a certain Prince from England named Prince Harry, the son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, would have journeyed to a far away land called Canada to find his lady love? Before that, his lady love, Meghan Markle, an American actress, older than Prince Harry, biracial and a divorcee had travelled across the continental divide to reside.

The seasons changed across the land. The sun played and then hid. Birds flew high with spiteful intentions. The moon stood against the clouds, stars sparkled while a volcano belched with fury. In the meantime, the people had soon forgotten about the hottest flavor on the scene, royal and biracial. Then came news from Kensington Palace that Prince Harry had proposed to Meghan Markle to stir them from their forgetfulness, purpose and contumacious ways. Television screens flipped and raced back and forth as the couple romantically stood side by side in a garden at the Palace to share the exciting news and the details and sentimental value of the engagement ring. And behold the people with the book of Genesis on their minds looked at the garden and smiled with thoughts of Adam and Eve.

Before night could turn into day, the impudent behavior among those in the media descended upon Meghan. And so did the doubtful with their main concern. Did the Queen really accept a biracial woman to be the bride of her grandchild, Prince Harry? But such behavior was no match for the strong flavor of love. For what was founded on love shall remain love before the eyes of the people. The days following the announcement of Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan brought hope among the females who were labeled cougars because they preferred to date younger men. And hope was also seen for the people who were afraid to expose their interracial relationships. It became clear that age is just a number and that love has no color nor boundaries. Neither should anyone tally the times a woman will kiss a frog before finding her prince. Thus said the adage.

And if one seek one shall surely find. So it was in the City of Brooklyn, New York, Flatbush neighborhood, a surge of interracial couples became evident more than before. Black girls with white men by their sides paraded supermarket aisles in daisy duke shorts unable to control escaping butt cheeks. And the Jamaicans who saw giggled as if pumpum shorts of dance hall fame is without sin. Whereas the elated females expressed themselves, let it be known that Meghan was with good report. The public had never seen her wearing such garments. And by then ripped jeans had disappeared from her public clothing. She had already taken on the noble look in her attire and adopted the royal etiquette. Likewise, in that same time, black men walked proudly alongside white ladies and made sure to hold eye contact with passersby. For it is in seeing that they will understand. Carriers of yoga mats and bottled water spiked. Dreadlocks hairdos were held under intense gaze. And smiles became necessary having seen the multitude of romantically involved walking about freely, happy as larks, following their hearts.

And it came to pass that a wedding date of May 19, 2018, was set for the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan. And the mischievous people erupted with laughter, gossiped and expressed that they cannot wait to see the day when Queen Elizabeth II would hold her little biracial grandchildren. Aha! Little did the mischievous people of the land know that before Meghan came along gossipers mentioned that Queen Charlotte from way back when, in the early centuries, was not full white. She was the great great great or so grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. And to those who believe or doubt, their hands will search the land of Goggle in due season to find out.

So as the wedding plans went forth, there came a loud noise from Meghan’s siblings who were white. Before that, it was made known that Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland is black, wears dreadlocks hairdo and a nose ring. She is also a yoga instructor and a social worker. Her father, Thomas Markle who worked as an Emmy-award lighting director is white and has other children who are not of Meghan’s mother. They are white and with a strangeness in behavior. All manner of unkindness came from them towards Meghan. The news reports became relentless. Staged paparazzi pictures by Meghan’s father were revealed. And the people of the land were astonished. How could it be that so much bitterness could exist among them?  Then came news that Meghan’s father was in a far away land named Mexico, ailing, and that he would not be able to walk his daughter down the aisle. Frenzy hit the land and the loud mouths from various media thrones and talk-shows fell in accord, speculating that Doria, Meghan’s mother, might be the one do it. But low and behold before the situation could explode further word came that Prince Harry in his shining amor spoke. And the world and all the brouhaha stirrers became calm.

And it came to pass that on May 19, 2018, the royal wedding day for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrived to seal the love flavor between them. By then a multitude of people had journeyed from far and near and descended at Windsor, Berkshire, England. People stood by the wayside to view as much as they could. Whereby those who had rank and were special quests took their seats in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. 

Television land made it possible for viewers across the land to witness the historic royal wedding of true love and with a break in tradition. And it was ordained that fascinators, hats, handbags, shoes and garments were the handiwork of people with creative minds and sewing machines. And those same viewers in far away lands became wise and took pictures of the many scenes that raced across the television screens. Some pictures were perfect whereas some were poorly angled and not of brilliant shine; yet they remained precious. 

The romantic flavor between Prince Harry and Meghan permeated the air as the bride in all her radiant glory appeared down the aisles of St. George's Chapel by herself to a certain point where she met Prince Charles who took her to the waiting Prince. Queen Elizabeth II looked on with no expression on her face to read. Was she having a good time? For thou noble woman must have known beforehand that a black gospel choir would have sung “Stand by me” to charm the heart of any dead rat bat. The young black cellist went ahead and pumped up the flavor. Life without flavor is dull said the jolly. And all the other hues rejoiced to see the unity when everyone gather in the name of love.

And what a flavor it was to see a Jamaican among them, Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Queen. Those who knew nothing about her were amazed when they heard. But in the end it was the man from afar who in a strange land that would wake the town and boldly tell the people about love. Reverend Michael Curry, an American, was that man. He turned on the light of love in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor, using his Curry flavor with a touch of Songs of Solomon, Martin Luther King and slaves. And the royals and guests looked on. Some perplexed, some smirked, some stoned-faced, some smiled, because never had they heard such teachings in their land. In Television land some viewers cheered and some feared that he had gone off script. Tek him dung! Nuh spwile di royal wedding, came the Jamaican voice in my head. What manner of man is he? That he should be so bold before strangers with his words about Martin Luther King and slaves. But alas, he endured and ended with love as Prince Harry and Meghan looked on with joy. Doria understood the teachings and she nodded with smiles. It was American. It was fire. It was Curry flavor. Her daughter Meghan had found love.

And when the vows were taken, Meghan officially became a member of the British Royal family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now Duke and Duchess of Sussex were all smiles, filled with love, Curry flavor and togetherness as they walked down the aisle of the St. George’s Chapel, hand in hand. And so it was that when they alighted from the Chapel they kissed, the love flavor was fully sealed for the world to see. The people rejoiced and were exceedingly glad that a new day had arrived in modern Britain.

Tah-tah! All things are possible. Love has no color nor boundaries. 

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018

Barrel and Air Bed: Exquisite Austerity Furniture In North America

Necessity is the mother of invention. Or, tun yuh han an mek fashion, according to the Jamaican saying.

While President Donald Trump, the most controversial modern day President of the United States of America, is happily living his world of tweets, there are many people in America who are wishing that they could experience one drop of poop from a tweeting bird above for good luck. Healthcare costs, high costs of living and exorbitant rent have redefined the lives and living conditions of many. Should things continue on this path, America, the land of plenty and prosperity, will perhaps become a land of nomads, shared living spaces like a modern day office which will allow people to sleep in shifts according to roommates’ work schedules.

Low income tenants across New York State are the most likely to become homeless. There are tenants who are paying more than half their income towards rent. The slogan “one paycheck away from being homeless” attracts legitimacy. Landlords are tone deaf to the plights of the tenants as they also fall in line to complain about high property taxes and the upkeep of their properties. The slum landlords lack scruples and moral values when it’s time to collect rent from the tenants who occupy their leaky, insect and rodents infested dilapidated apartments and houses. Failure by any tenant to pay rent will lead to eviction which can be devastating for those who do not have immediate shelter.

From my observation, the residents in Brooklyn have a higher possibility of becoming homeless   because it has captured the grand prize for high rent. I take into consideration the strolls I often take in some sections of my Flatbush neighborhood, be it spring, summer or winter. The view is a sorry reality. Any little space between buildings is a nestling place for the homeless and their personal effects. Sometimes an open space on a sidewalk will suffice. If there is time to spare, a conversation with one of the patrons in an eatery is most likely to reveal that the person is homeless.

Dandy-shandy politics have left tenants with little hope that the landlord-tenant situation will improve. As a result some Jamaican renters in Brooklyn have taken a proactive approach by downsizing. They have decided to rent a single room and not buy the standard household furniture such as bedroom sets, couches and other large items. Instead they are purchasing barrels and air beds in the event they are evicted. The items are inexpensive and easier to remove from their apartments. Furthermore, there will be no high storage fees to pay.

Barrels are appropriate for storing items, giving the room a neat and spacious appearance. The air bed is a great idea. Inflate and deflate as you please. Without batting an eye I hurriedly purchased one. It is comfortable and most suitable for me on the run, especially having discovered that a coil or spring mattress leaves me in medical jeopardy. Given the spotlight on the exquisite goodness of the air bed and barrel, I cross my fingers that merchants will not be like greedy landlords. If they do, Jamaicans are never without solutions. They always have a plaster to fit every wound.

Tah-tah! “Cleverness is better than strength”.

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Jamaican Tradition Hooks 7 year Old Jewish Girl

When it comes to culture and tradition there is always someone watching, reading and listening.

If anyone should ask me to explain culture, I would say to them that “culture makes the world go round”. We share, adopt and contribute.  It is the round robin in society be it through dance, art, religion, culinary arts, music, sports and more. Culture is also associated with biology which will not be drafted at this time.

Now, when it comes to tradition, it is deeply rooted and has a way of getting around too. Sometimes when it makes its debut here and there the impression is lasting, especially among children. On one such occasion, I was intrigued by an essay written by a seven year old Jewish girl which was sent to me by her mother, my friend of many years, for its authenticity.  In it she relayed an activity about the rolling calf. Rolling calf stories exist in Jamaican folklore but more importantly, how did this seven year old learn about rolling calf? Did she learn about it through a babysitter or at school? As far as I know a rolling calf story told during bed time as a child used to have my siblings and I huddling with fear as it was supposed to be the King Kong of all ghosts. This little Jewish girl is either associating with Jamaicans or reading about Jamaican tradition.

Being a Jamaican, I felt compelled to share with others how far Jamaican tradition has traveled in bits and pieces to hook a little Jewish girl in North America. Without further ado and with permission from her mother, please read her rolling calf story noted below:

Tah-Tah!  There is no end to knowledge.

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2018

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Retirement Is A Full Time Job...I am not bored yet

Retired. Retreat. Seclusion. Removal. Paroled. Released. Pension. Left occupation permanently. Call retirement whichever term you prefer.  

On July 28, 2017, I became of age, again. The theme was retirement. It came about during the ongoing Trumpisms, by now the world has been informed that Donald Trump had won the 2016 Presidency of the United States of America, and allegations of sexual harassment by some of our men in power. Their featured trait is nimble-hands. They enjoy, feeling and touching. Why can’t they look but don’t touch? Are they governed by their genitalia? Back in the day my parents would say to me “look but don’t touch” and that was when I became deeply focused on something interesting: candy, gadget, pen or figurine. My parents knew that unauthorized touching could lead to problems. They had no time to address the innocent, inquisitive and curious mind of a child because they would be held accountable for any damage done.

Can I say the same thing about the grown arse men who behave like a rooster in a coop with a hundred hens? Or, of those who have the tenacity of a bulldog when they see a target. Woof! Woof! Give it up! I want that body. They play on the vulnerability of females all the time. And always the females who are in dire need.  Females with aspirations.  They have no shame in saying, I have the handle of the knife and you have the blade. Oh my God! How disheartening and sad, just thinking about the nonsense of it.  They are like salesmen. The swaying and most believable line to make the females’ heart race and drop their panties quickly is, “the ball is in your court”. Get the hell away! Not that ball?! It is the last and saddest ball any woman would want to play with especially when it is thrown at her against her will. If a woman should go through life giving into men’s heartlessness because she has an obligation to provide for her family and take care of herself, soon she would look like a retired whore. Beaten down and haggard looking.  

Retired! Subtracting the aforementioned. I am happy that my coming of age on July 28, 2017 allowed me to retire with dignity and not against my will. I embraced my retirement as a big deal. Bigger than the other coming of age times such as when I had stepped into the threshold of womanhood, became eligible to eat large portions of food like my parents did, go on dates, get married, do the horizontal or the missionary which by chance gave way to birth and life. The wait for those segments in life were filled with anxiety, anticipation and imagination. But now that retirement is here, it encompasses all of that with one other element added: my freedom. And here’s to my retirement in a jailhouse glowing perspective of employment: I was finally paroled after 30 years, 3 months and 1 day to the date. It was the dawn of the golden age, without wearing pampers, I hope. And in which I can do anything and feel comfortable doing it without the watchful eye of a clock. All 24 hours every day belongs to me because I earned it.

Bye to a wild commute: No more crowded subways. No more looping in and out of crowds in the landmark Grand Central Station. No more unexpected dance with a stranger as I walk along the busy jampacked streets and subway platforms. No more shielding my nose with my hand to block the morning coffee-breath beside me. No more display of a straphanger’s “throat-hole” on account of an uncovered yawn. No more stale liquor fumes to inhale...mostly vodka.  No more dodging spitballs as straphangers engage in conversations. No more having to contend with the stench from a silent fart.  No more asking someone to cover their sneeze or cough. No more longing for a seat. No more screw-face from me at the straphanger who sprawls across the seat, taking up more than their fair share. No more saying “I can’t believe it”, at the straphanger who fills a seat with bags. No more feeling of disbelief at the riders who placed feet with shoes on the seats. No more viewing different shades of underwears from females dressed in micro mini and sitting in my line of vision with their legs wide apart. Likewise no more ogling of male genitals being displayed before me as I remain trapped in my space. No  more overpowering perfume and cologne to assault my senses. No more disrespectful vagrants and panhandlers to contend with.
Bye to the talented subway and street performers.  They were singers, dancers, comedians and magicians, entertaining at their best which was always enjoyable, especially after a hard day at work.

Bye to the romantic commuters who remained totally oblivious to their surroundings until a fellow commuter yells,”Go get a room”.

Bye to the happy hour spots and eateries where it was sometimes necessary to unwind before the hectic commute home.

Bye to all the strangers I had met along the way who became my friends away from home.

Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye! There were so many byes to be said and all were done without a miss.

Retirement is a full time job without pay. During my preparation leading up to retirement, the buzz from colleagues, friends and family was that boredom would hit me like a ton of bricks. Despite the fact that I had plans in place, the heads up about being bored worried me as it seemed like a course that retirees must chart. Well, after about three days into my retirement, it was obvious that being bored would not be in my portfolio. I had medical appointments to handle, followed up with social security which made me groan about the few pennies that would be bestowed on me after this and that were deducted, I desperately went into a scrounge mode to see if any other pennies were hidden anywhere, and get the full 411 on medicare and more.

Domestic trips. After the handling of those chores, I took a trip to somewhere. Returned to New York.  Took another trip. Returned to New York. Took another trip returned to New York. Took another trip returned to New York. Two more trips returned to New York.  Delta Airlines and American Airlines if you are reading this blog, please take stock of my up and down with you and my goings and comings. Besides that, it is imperative that I check on senior citizens discounts. Now that I am with a new status in life, I should not let anything that I am entitled to, go to waste or be overlooked.

Neighborhood. For the times when I am not flying or doing chores at my dwelling, I can be found strolling my neighborhood and looking at the new structures going up in every nook and cranny. The investors have no builder's remorse when it comes to putting up new buildings in the slimmest spot. The effort and intention is all about the rental and the amount of money that can be made. The rooms are not big and it is very important not to buy giant size furniture to take to these new apartments because they will not fit.  In some cases it seems as if you cannot maneuver properly in the room because of the space.  The joke is that if someone needs to turn it’s best to go outside and re enter the room in the desired position.  As for cost of homes, I never thought that I would live to see and hear about million-dollar prices  for homes in my neighborhood. I have lived in my neighborhood long enough to recall when it was considered a dangerous place to live. These days it is the most wanted place to live.

Talking with people. My next fun thing to do as I walk around in my neighborhood is to talk with people. I have listened to many stories and in doing so I have come to find out that there are a lot of homeless people walking around. Some have been abandoned by their children after aiding them financially.  Some have lost their place of abode because of illness and not being able to work.  Some are lazy. Some are mentally disturbed. I was also taken aback to find a few homeless Jamaicans among the bunch. Their stories are sad. I recall allowing one of the ladies to sleep at my dwelling for two nights. Please note that she came with a reference from a friend who had given her a few night’s shelter.  She is still without a place and refuses to go to a shelter.  

Hygiene is excellent among some homeless ladies. I must point out that most of the homeless ladies are properly dressed, face beautifully made up, manicured nails and hair properly groomed. Sometimes I chuckle to myself as I look at them walking with a purpose. It’s very hard to tell that they are homeless or down on their luck. And to back that up it would be a missed opportunity not to see the winning smile thrown at anyone who tells them how beautiful they look. They masked their troubles well quite unlike a couple other Jamaicans who would rather sleep on the paved sidewalk.  One in particular decided to return to Jamaica. She is no longer among the bunch. According to a report from someone I know, she is doing far better than when she had lived in America.

Hobbies. I have been doing my jewelry making, people watching and reading.

Facebook. I need to scale back on my visits to Facebook.  I am in control. Not Facebook. I have to admit that it is a therapy spot for me though. I go there  to gallivant.

News reports. I am consumed by all the sexual harassment scandal and Trumpisms because there are no other news to it seems.

Children, grandchildren, friends and family.  They have been amazing and encouraging in all things good and uplifting.

Music. Music is top on my list. I took pleasure in going back to the days of playing cassettes. I even hauled out an old walkman.  According to the saying, “If music be the food of love play on”.

Pictures. My mobile phone is a God send. I have captured the wanted and unwanted. Their storylines are unique, interesting and amazing.

More Trips? Hmmm...I have the Island of Jamaica in mind.

The year 2018. Good health, wealth, prosperity, love and peace.

Tah-tah!  Each segment in our lives comes with a theme.

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Coming Soon...

Retirement is a full time job... I'm not bored yet! 

Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

You Cannot Shoot Pool with Rope…Diabetes…Impotence

Participants in a game of Pool take aim. The set goal is to become a victor.

Every so often we strategize our goals and purposes and then take aim yet fail in attaining them. Some people can cope with the results and some lose hope while others will keep on trying. In any case, though, a near miss at success is disappointing. Taking stock of the situation, it would be rather askew not to inject an adage from the elders of days gone by. They had a plaster for every wound so to speak. The adage that comes to mind is: Young boy a swear fi ripe coconut and ripe coconut a swear fi young boy. Clearly, the boy’s aim is to reap the coconut and then enjoy it; whereas the coconut in its ready state has one intention and that is to fall and hit him on his head. Sometimes an adage gives comfort in a situation and at another time it serves as a kick in the butt, a hint to try harder and with a stronger plan.

Illnesses can be viewed in the same manner. We swear against them and do everything possible to avoid them. Nonetheless they still attack us. Free radicals, environment, and artificial ingredients in foods are usually blamed for the onboarding of some illnesses. Gluttony is fingered too. On rare occasions heredity is also drawn into the situation. Diabetes is one of the illnesses that is linked to heredity. I bring to mind my childhood when diabetes was referred to as sugar by the elders.  They concurred that people suffering with diabetes consumed too much sugar. If they suspected anyone of being a diabetic, they would tell them to pee and place it in a spot to see if ants would “follow it”. If the ants did, the person who donated the specimen was a diabetic by their standards and stood the possibility of losing a leg or eyesight.

To the contrary the elders also told us that eating too much sweets/candies is one of the causes for rotten teeth dubbed “bun rice” (burnt rice). Adding to that a child was repeatedly told that devouring a large quantity of sweets would produce worms in their bodies.  Were those elders trying to confuse us?  Perhaps that was their way of scaring us into keeping sound healthy teeth. To witness a smile showing a bunch of rotten teeth wasn’t pleasant. Neither was it a pleasant feeling when worms mostly came out at night to tickle our butt-area. In addition to that was the mayhem and excitement created amongst some of us when one dangled as we pooped.  We frantically ran around screaming and hollering, TAKE IT OUT! MURDER! MAMA! WORM!  It is no wonder some of us to this day are traumatized on sighting a worm. While the obscure treasures of the Third World linger, the essential point is that diabetes is an awful disease.

I recall one stormy Sunday evening when a friend expressed to me that he is smitten with diabetes which has him going back and forth to the Doctor and on a few occasions resulted in hospital stays.  I was impressed with his honesty as he revealed that this disease had interrupted his sex life. Today only a few men would have been so candid. The others are with ego and would rather die than to let anyone know that their penises can no longer muster a full erection. Pssst! Hey men! Let me pause to say that it is okay if your huge spout or your little nuisance cannot function the way it used to. It is with hope that you had used it wisely. Give thanks for life as it is now.  Also give thanks for the good times, the many rides, and conquests. Beat yourselves though and ask for forgiveness if you had caused damages. Your drive towards sex may have ended prematurely but not your life. There are other things in life to be mindful of other than sexual intercourse.  Even the life of an energizer bunny must end one day. Or, as the elders would have said: every rope has an end.

Listening to my friend, as he spoke of his diabetic condition was very interesting. It was not a pity party at all as most people would have expected. He mentioned about his extremely caring girlfriend who monitors his diet and is quite satisfied with the “new him”. He expressed his happiness in holding hands with his girlfriend when they take strolls, something he had never done before. Admiration for the curves on her body devoured him, tracing every details with his hands, instead of just lunging at her vagina. He seemingly gained a new lease on life which allows him to explore her beauty that was taken for granted. The invitation by his Doctor to try Viagra didn’t chalk up to anything much. Using it once was enough for him. A comic by nature, he said that he appreciated the fact that his penis can still hold up its head, on its own, enough to blow its nose. LOL.

My friend is a blessed man because currently which young woman in her right mind wouldn’t want to have a man who can penetrate her with a rock hard penis during sexual intercourse. Alternatively, it’s a known fact that in the case of an impotent man some girls are contended to go along with the mantra: What him lose in the waist him gain in the face…embracing oral sex. Of course, I didn’t dare to ask my friend if he indulged in oral sex. As far as I am concerned it is a personal and private activity and should not be broadcasted even if it makes you feel as if you are on the glory train and would like to testify about its goodness and what it has done for you. 

As the evening narrowed into night, the conversation between us meant a lot to me. I relish talking with people and especially with those who are going through an experience or have been through an experience. There is something to learn. As such the trajectory on diabetes should be exposed before many are ravished. In summing things up, my friend believes there are women waiting in the wings to relieve men of their money because their sexual prowess is no longer in tip top form. The younger women are apparently the ones to look out for. They are marketable among older men, haughty and with challenge, whose aim is to show the world and people in their circles that they are with a younger woman. That will not be the case with my friend. He refuses to entertain any. None will hanker around him for his pension or hard earned money because he has revealed his sexual slogan: You cannot shoot pool with rope.

Tah-tah!   Be true to yourself so that you can be true to others.

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

Don’t Shred Your Coconut in My Toto

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone should express similar beliefs and diets.

For some people the sight of a coconut brings to mind rum, vacation, freedom, lazy days, flip-flops, straw hats, a stress free lifestyle and floral clothing.  Life in the tropics was always touted as being conducive to good health, thanks to the coconut which most people have identified with.  Ask the elders of yesteryear and they would have told you that coconut water is a great thirst quencher and the only water that goes straight to the heart.  Equally soothing to the soul is the signature picture of the tropics, an ocean with blue water and a single coconut tree standing guard.  Chiefly though, like a true agriculturalist, it is noteworthy to mention that the coconut tree is a member of the palm family and is significant to the tropical and subtropical climates.

Genus, endosperm, copra, drupe, mesocarp, pericarp, epicarp and endocarp are some of the endorsed labels that are associated with the anatomy of the coconut.  The translations are welcome and when put into proper perspective they give credence to the perverse minds of humans.  If the translations are not clear, view the handling of a coconut by a consumer.  Nature makes no apology in it delivery as the skin is peeled away, exposing the waiting flesh in the middle ready to be eaten.  Besides courting the freak in humans, the coconut is also known for its resourcefulness.  In its immature stage it is referred to as “jelly coconut” because of its tender meat or flesh and abundance of water.  The meat of the matured coconut is hard; from which oil and milk can be derived.  The shell is used as charcoal or carved into jewelry and other items; whereas the coir from the fibrous husk is used as stuffing for mattresses. With all those assets and more, the coconut essentially equates to wholeness.

As a child I was frightened by the height of the coconut tree and the tales that surrounded it.  The most interesting tale was about its association to the supernatural world.  For example, pieces of meat from the matured coconut were placed in designated areas in and around the home to trap evil spirits or to be more cultural “run di duppy dem”.  I also recall the coconut being used as a weapon.  It functions like the stone.  One forceful strike on any area of a person’s body, especially the forehead, could be ruinous.   Then there were times when the physique of the coconut tree was used to verbally abuse a lanky person, “Goh wey!  Yuh lang like coconut tree”.  The most astonishing display of the verbal abuse was when the abuser included the owner of the coconut tree to bestow the abuse, “Goh wey! Yuh lang like Mass Jim coconut tree”. Some songsters also used the coconut to convey sexual advances and thirst.  Digging into my memory bank one such song carried the lyric, “Coconut wata good fi yuh dawta”.  If that wasn’t enough just listen to a Jamaican who detests when someone lies to them, “Yuh going straight tuh hell in a coconut shell”.  It’s hard not to look at the fact that a dried coconut shell vigorously fuels fire.

The most admired recollection of the coconut is the entrepreneurial spirit it had brought among the people who were financially challenged.  They were propelled into making cooking oil from the meat of the matured coconut for home use and peddling.  At the time, the popular brand Puritan or other refined oils would have left them broke if they were to cook with them every day.  Additionally, the coconut oil that they made was also used for skin care and medicinal purposes.  Their resilience and skill also led them to produce milk from the coconut which they used in teas, coffee, soups, porridge and other foods.  The phrase “tough cookie” is relevant to the coconut.  It is by name, fame and nature.  It rose from the scrutiny of the rich who had viewed it as a poor man’s food, back in the day, to being one of the most sought after produce.

More and more each day the ultra-nutritional benefits of the coconut have been alarming according to reports and research, enough to drive its lovers nuts.  It has become a popular and main ingredient in most concoctions produced in the kitchen.  I think of the delectable indulgences especially the Jamaican ones such as cassava, potato and corn puddings, toto, grater-cake, drops and the roast coconut which was one of my favorite childhood treats.  Today, the toto is a big winner for me from among the list of coconut products.  It has become a handy snack at home and work.  It would be an evil act in the culinary world not to add coconut as one of the ingredients when making TOTO.

However, my one desire is not to have any one shred their coconut in my toto.  The toto is not a participant in a ticker tape parade.  The confetti look alike pieces of coconut dodge my bites all the time.  It is impossible to chew the slender suckers without biting my tongue.  I spend too much energy focusing on how to get rid of them instead of enjoying the real taste of coconut in my toto.

While I am at the heart of the shredding of coconut in my toto, I have also noticed the coconut drizzle in its various debut.  What’s up with that?  Please stop with the coconut drizzle.  Sometimes it drizzles so much that it floods away the taste of the other ingredients in the food.  I know that I am not the only being around but it’s important to remain calm in the kitchen and not be carried away by creative juices.  My toto is not a “cook-off” game.  Be nice to me.  Let me enjoy a chunky piece of coconut in my toto.  Let me get a good bite of it, chew and then swallow. That is all I desire and when all my teeth are gone due to aging I will have grated coconut in my toto, soft and poh-toh poh-toh (slushy).

Tah-tah!   The things that have been overlooked could be important. 

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2017