Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Bug In The Hair Glue


The word bug has a few definitions. 1) A bug is defined as an unexpected defect, fault, flaw, or imperfection. 2) An insect is also referred to as a bug. 3) Bug also means to annoy someone. 4) Stomach virus is also referred to as a bug.

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Bug by all its definitions has always lived up to its reputation. It’s bothersome, it destroys, harms and obstructs. The damages are not easily dismissed. Yet there are people who will see the bug as a friend rather than a foe. Someone with a mischievous streak finds it easy to walk into a crowded room and shout “BUG”. The utterance is expected to send people fleeing in fear in all directions as if it were the day of reckoning. 


In the world of creepy crawlies, the sighting of a bug automatically forces some people into silence and freeze mode. It’s also imperative that the eyes adjust to a steady gaze because in that moment of gripping fear the bug is viewed as an enemy. Its intention is to bite or sting and make a quick escape. 


In November 2022, little did I know that as I relaxed at home, I would face the arduous task of eliminating a strange bug lurking in one of the rooms. I had never seen such a creature before and wondered if it was a Noah’s ark moment. It was, black, ill-shaped and had fine legs. Looking down at the object against the tiled floor, I had to make a quick decision. I didn’t want it to escape my view to a hasty retreat in any crevice or corner of the room and then return when I least expect it. I had to defend myself from the creature inasmuch as its face was pointed to the north, not aiming at me. 


The position the object settled in gave me the advantage of having my way with it. There was no time to spare to look for tools to carry out the act, so I raised my left leg and then dropped it forcefully on top of the object, twisting my foot with the hope of pulverizing it. A few seconds later I lifted my foot to see the damage done and to my surprise the object was still intact. Not crushed nor bruised. Enveloped with concern, I reached for a piece of white paper towel, picked it up and looked at it. Its legs and body were healthy. I then asked myself, what kind of creature that small had the ability to survive the crushing weight of my leg and the many twists with my foot. It must be an alien from Mars, I smiled. 


Still holding the object in the piece of paper towel, I took it to my daughter to determine the identity. I opened up the napkin, showed her the contents and asked, “Is this a bug?” 

“Mom”, she said, “are you going blind? It’s hair glue with bits of hair”.  

“No way,” I said and laughed out loud when I remembered how hard I had stomped and twisted the object against the floor. In my recourse to quell the mistaken identity, I told my daughter that God wanted me to exercise my leg and foot.


Tah-tah! Mistaken identity has ruined the lives of many.


Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2022


Friday, November 4, 2022

From Photo Album To Locker Room



A google search defines the word photo: a representation of a person or scene in the form of a print or transparent slide; recorded by a camera on light-sensitive material.

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Some of life's best moments are still captured in still. There are videos of events; personal and public but none as captivating as holding a photograph or many photographs of the events. Sometimes we stare long and hard at the photos: amazed, bewildered, shocked, joyful and even pinpoint identity and loosely critique which in some cases cause tense moments and animosity.



Photos are treasures when it comes to research and keeping track of history. While some people will find photos as a showoff or mantel it goes far beyond that. They are very important prints at family gatherings. They tell the story of our forefathers, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents, and parents. The photos hold the clue of where family members get their looks, nose, mouth, teeth, lips, fingers, toes, eyes, ears, hair, height, size, facial structure, crooked grin, smile and hairy skin. Photos in the past were unofficial DNA and gene results. People used them to determine the identity of a child. Can you imagine how many children became statistics of a lame or poor camera shot because of that layman process? Today, given the fact that technology can accurately give an account of a person’s identity; still there are some people who believe in matching physical appearance, behavior, limbs and looks to determine family and parents.


Photos, the precious and priceless prints are usually stored in boxes and photo albums for safe keeping. Yet, there are people who will find a way to steal photos. I have had many photos of my family and self stolen or snatched by friends and relatives. And they are usually caught when one turns up at their house unexpectedly. Or, even when they are notified about someone’s visit, they sometimes forget to hide the photos. Thank goodness for modern times and technology and more so a digital world where everyone is free to use their phones to take photographs of things, people and places. 


Before digital became commonplace people in an intimate relationship were top on the list to receive photos of their lover. It was the correct thing to do. Lovers on receiving such a photo would put it in safe keeping. A few would take it out at night time and before going to bed place it under the pillow, closing their eyes with the hope of having sweet dreams as they slept. Some usually place the special photo in the photo section of wallets and purses whereas some courageously and proudly leave it on display on a table in the living room. Or hanging on a wall. I recall I once dated a gentleman and he got to choose the photo that he wanted of me. It was a beautiful photo of me on a beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica, dressed in a two-piece bathing suit. That photo had remained a permanent fixture at his house in his photo album. I felt like a million dollars, a queen, whenever I visited and saw my picture in the same spot. And not defaced or tarnished: eyes, nose and mouth were still intact. That hinted to me that I was indeed a Queen, also his Queen, his one and only love.


Although I was so cocksure of the great relationship between the gentleman and I, it’s possible that I was his number one lady. I wasn’t around him 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week to see his operations. No one is perfect. I am from the old school of principles where I was told that in life always leave room for disappointment. And to solidify the teaching, when the relationship ended between us it wasn’t difficult. We remained civil and cordial. Eventually, one day he called to say that he met someone and he had to remove my picture from his photo album and place it in his locker at work. I gasped and said, “How dare you! Please return my photo!” He swiftly responded with a no. 


Tah-tah! Crown the self with uplifting titles.


Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2022


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Diet: The Word On Menu In A Silly Piece


“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art”. - Francois de la Rochefoucauld 

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Believe it or not, words are also a part of our daily diet. Words have the ability to cast sickness, worry, fear, joy, comfort, confidence and laughter. Knowing the words that alter our moods are as imperative as the foods we eat for our wellbeing. Our integrity is guarded by the words we use. We pick and choose words to give a good impression of ourselves when we seek favor or employment. And just like a poor diet, there are words that can destroy us. But interestingly, the same words that are set to destroy can be used for good because it depends on how we prepare them. How we say them and the tone in which we speak. Words are seasonings. They dispel flavor and aroma. 

NEW WORDS: To embrace new words is just as exciting and mind boggling as dining at a restaurant where the cuisine is culturally different. It is with hope that as the server takes the order, the chef will prepare the meal right. Not too bland, neither too much salt or pepper. No seeds. No nuts. No MSG! And no to the sparkling powder seasonings in fancy bottles and cans. The elders from the past would have labeled them glistening glass. Toxic like some words that leave our mouths each day. Adding to that, there are times when the natural spices and seasonings interfere with the digestive system, causing all kinds of  uncomfortable feelings and complications. Hence, one can only imagine the damage the altered seasonings and spices are capable of doing when foods are prepared with them. 

Overall, a dining experience should be a good one, whether at home or abroad. Likewise, are the words we embrace; from the tiniest to the biggest. Choose and speak wisely. And when words are difficult to pronounce, say them slowly. Be careful not to let them get stuck in your throat because you are afraid that someone will laugh and ridicule you because of mispronunciation. Having said that, get your silly streak together and look at the menu below from Choose-Words Restaurant©. 


Choose-Words Restaurant

Open 24 Hours Sunday - Saturday 

Welcome to the Choose-Words Restaurant where the words are diverse. Our skilled and qualified staff are excited to serve you the words of your choice. We are aware of the fact that there are people with dietary restrictions and allergies. We will do everything in our power to listen as you place your orders. Our duty is to serve and satisfy our customers. We hope that your dining experience will be good and an exemplary one. Thanks for your patronage! Please come again! 

MENU

Serving Sizes: Full (F), Half (H), Double (D)

1.Courage…F

2.Peace…D

3.Perseverance…D

4.Spirit Tek…F (Jamaican special.)

5.Backchat…H

6.Love…D

7.Hate…Not available

8.Anger…Not available

9.Forgiveness…D

10.War…Not available

11.Freedom of speech…D

12.Politicians…Recall on fib (highly contagious ingredient). 

13.Sex…Out of season

14.Dance…D

15.Romance…D

16.Laughter…D

17.Humor…D

18.Music…D

19.Prayer…D (fresh caught) 

20.Faith…D

21.Hope…D

22.Gratitude…D

23.Kindness…D

24.Blood Claat…Ingredients from Jamaica are still in limbo at customs.

25.Suk yuh maddah…Not available (Jamaican Acid reflux builder). 

26.Rass… All serving sizes are available: F, H, D. (Famous Jamaican sweet and sour)


Tah-tah! A proper diet breeds a healthy mind


Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2022


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Old Practices In An Era Of Update


One of the definitions found on Google for the word update is: “make (something) more modern or up to date”.

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Every culture has old practices. Jamaica, the sun of a beach and an island in the Caribbean, boasts numerous old practices which are unique, complex and with purpose. They are deeply rooted but how well are they holding up in modern times? Are they still relevant? Many of those old practices, dead or alive, teach us to embrace good discipline, proper hygiene, trust, honesty, righteousness, and cooperate in the various aspects of community life towards amelioration. The one thing that is certain about old practices is that there isn’t a fence built around them to protect them from updating or an attempt to do so.


Technology, the angelic tyrant of modern times, is here to torment, confuse, replace and update. It’s a cleverness that isn’t readily accepted by a Baby Boomer like me. However, in my Jamaican dialect voice it’s fair to say, wi get leff, whenever we refuse to acknowledge the practices of modern times. In other words, there will be little to no progress in goals or day to day activities because we lack the newer skills, tools and information. A few people will see updates as neither here or there with them.The only thing that matters to them is to remain undisturbed in their old ways and practices. They really don’t care if Sunday falls on a Monday. Or, if pigs will one day ride on a donkey to the moon. And for argument's sake, stopping by Orion’s Belt to check out Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka; the three bright stars. Adding to that, never try to update the old practice of eating rice and peas on a Sunday. Because that would warrant a sturdy telling-off from a certain culture. I know my Jamaican people and this old practice that is dear to our hearts. Any update about cooking and eating rice and peas on a Sunday should remain a personal decision.  


Personal decisions are as necessary as the gadgets, mobile phones, tablets and laptops that have become commonplace among us. Personal decisions are viable more than the various social media platforms set in place to fortify and at times manipulate. And most alarming is the rapid growth of technology which doesn’t allow me enough time to breathe or relax. I am inundated by the constant flow of new features and updates and non edible cookies. Perhaps the updates are manufacturers' ploy to relieve us of the little cash that some of us have. I am sure the manufacturers are aware that we are intrigued by the antics of intricate machines. Especially their traits which are likened to humans; and the audacity of the engineers to associate the operations and functions of the machines with the medical terminologies and descriptions of humans. The flip side to all of this, is that modern times has allowed us to improve our sex lives with touchy-feely gadgets, shared screens and video chats. We went from imagination, phone sex, and magazines with pictures to viewing live performances. And quite admirable is the ability to perform invasive and non-invasive medical procedures to repair failing body parts.


Alexa, the queen of gadgets, could do well with some old practices; she sometimes joins conversations without being asked to do so. Not to be overlooked is the fact that some of us in the name of update have champagne tastes and beer pockets. We are with low finances yet have interests in high priced goods and electronics. We will readily hang our baskets higher than we can reach them to impress and please. And to top everything: the various updates come without sympathy and excuses. They compel conformity. And if we don’t, rest assured that someone will tell us that we are not marketable. It’s frightening to be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea because complacency can be the comfort zone for most of us.


After all is said and done, modern times in all its shining glory is intrusive and needling. It diminishes good old practices, and culture. Its many loopholes attract greed and selfishness. Modern times is responsible for the eradication of sound, fair, and sane politicians. Modern times help us to do things with much ease. Voice command, clapping of hands, automatic and touch of a button are highly embraced. They will however inadvertently encourage laziness. And if we are not careful our health could be in jeopardy because of the lack of exercise and the ability to think for ourselves. Unfortunately, to have a discussion against updates is an advertisement to attract ridicule and to be labeled ‘old fashion”. As modern times and updates continue to pose their sometimes rootless pitch, what could be more frightening, interesting, controversial, important and filled with mixed reactions than the decision taken in the year 2022 by the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sealed lips.


Tah-tah! Move along with the flow on updating. By the same token don’t be too quick to abandon the old. Balance is required in all we do.




Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2022


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

MENTAL HEALTH

Op-ed by Zanne Barr. 

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH! Today is May 31st and I would like to end on this note:

FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, please understand that IT'S OKAY TO BE MISUNDERSTOOD.


Not everyone is going to “get you” and not everyone WANTS  to “get you.” Some people just don’t like you, for whatever reason, and will do/say things to harm you, so accept that, stop wasting time/energy to convince these people of your innocence or good intentions.

It took me TOO long to learn this! I wasted much time through the years explaining myself to “deaf” ears. But I did that due to my Christian values and not wanting Christianity to be looked down on because of any misunderstanding about me but this RARELY works! And I hope you can learn faster than I did. So, honestly beloved, it’s okay to be misunderstood. Allow me to use a Bible story to illustrate.

Many of us remember the story of king David’s best friend Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, from Lo-Debar, right? After Johnathan and Saul were killed his nanny was fleeing with him in her arms to save his life but he fell somehow and his leg was permanently disabled.

We know how David took him back to the palace when he found out about him, by this time he was an adult, and he sat at David’s table for his meals and David was very kind to him. Well, after sometime Absalom, David’s own son, rebelled against David, due to rising resentment against his father for doing nothing when his sister Tamar was raped by her half brother (David’s son) Amnon! So the anger/rage in Absalom festered like a sore and spilled out years later in open rebellion against his father and a desire to take over the kingdom from David, who had to flee the palace and the city to escape Absalom his son!

After David fled to safety, he also sent word for EVERYONE in the palace to flee also because he believed Absalom would kill them. Mephibosheth asked his servant Ziba to saddle a donkey for him as he was not able to flee on foot due to his disability. Ziba then said to his master, you stay here and hide here and  I will flee to the king and tell him that you cannot travel to be with him but you sent me in your place so that I can represent you in the king’s cause. Mephibosheth heard him out and agreed with the plan.

When Ziba got to the camp of David, he told David a different story! He told him that Mephibosheth had turned against him and joined forces with Absalom in a total act of betrayal/treason! You can just imagine how this hurt David and the king was so disgusted with Mephibosheth that he gave ALL the wealth he had to Ziba and left Mephibosheth with nothing!

Once Absalom was killed and David returned to his rightful place as king, Mephibosheth went to Jerusalem and hobbled into his presence. When David saw him he immediately asked him about the great betrayal he was told about. Mephibosheth told the king the truth. David listened and realized he was told a lie, but in an act very strange for a king, he didn’t punish Ziba for preying on a crippled man and for lying to him, instead he said to Mephibosheth, “you and Ziba divide the land.” (2 Samuel 19: 25-30). Mephibosheth however told David to let Ziba have it all! He understood how dangerous it is to continue associating oneself with those who choose to be evil against us without a cause. He May have been crippled but he VALUED HIS PEACE OF MIND MORE THAN EVEN WEALTH!

I heard this story first from a Rabbi because I had not noticed it in the Bible before! The Rabbi explained David’s action saying that once you allow gossip about another person in your system you will never be completely free of that poison. That person can only RARELY fully redeem themself against the character slaughter someone else chose to heap upon them,

So, as this month of May comes to a close, I suggest you become okay with being misunderstood. Value your peace, the love of family and good friends, more than you value getting people to understand you. I know we all want to be valued and understood but sometimes it will take too much effort on their part to admit they were duped and  they were wrong about you, so they rather leave the wrong as right, and some even find reasons to justify why you were treated so unjustly. Listen, David was a very godly man, yet he didn’t make much effort to correct the evil done to someone who was innocent, so what chances do you and I have amongst so many who are ungodly? 

If you can get away from those involved and go somewhere else to cultivate your peace, do that, but if it’s a situation you’re stuck in, cultivate your peace by practicing mindfulness, listening to music, journaling, going for nature walks/ocean walks, etc. Do not sit there feeling sorry for yourself! Continue to be the best version of you wherever you are planted because as God is my witness, your Redeemer lives and He is your righteous Judge.

It’s Okay To Be Misunderstood.


*Zanne Barr is family member and a Medical Doctor who will engage you on topics of interest. She will debate you until you scream, listen or run. Haha!


Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2022




Monday, February 28, 2022

Keep Your Sweet Pepper And Tomato Out Of My Ackee And Saltfish





It has been said many times that food is the staff of life and we are also what we eat.

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I love eating ackee and especially when it’s joined in matrimony with saltfish. Most exciting, the national dish of the island of Jamaica is ackee and saltfish. It is delicious and is on most menus at Caribbean restaurants in North America. In most places one has to dig deep into their pockets to pay for a meal of ackee and saltfish. 



It’s February 2022 somewhere in one of the Southern States of America. And where a purchase of ackee and saltfish served with two fingers of cooked green banana and two slices of cooked yellow yam totalled thirteen United States of America Dollars and no cents, ($13.00). Did the price cause your eyes to bulge? Mine did when I looked at the menu but at that moment it was better than purchasing the ingredients and going home with my tired body to cook. Furthermore, I think I warrant a treat from me at least once a month. I strongly believe that financial provisions should be in place to allow me to give myself a feel good moment. Even if it’s buying an ice cream in a sugar cone.



As much as I enjoy the ackee and saltfish, there are times when I am disappointed in the way it’s being prepared at the local eateries or restaurants. I find that like in everything there is an upgrade. Things and times will change, and upgrades will come but when it comes to old time ways and styles of cooking certain dishes, I believe with all my heart that they should not be tampered with. Leave things in the way it was in the beginning. Modern touch can take away the delicious taste of the things of old. And their beauty too.


I recall when ackee and saltfish was seasoned with onion, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper and black pepper and tasted finger licking good. Delicious! Toes, wiggled while eating a well prepared dish of ackee and saltfish. And just in case you have heard about seventh heaven and would like to get there; try frying a piece of pork and adding it to the ackee and saltfish. Yum! Maximum Niceness! Divine! Heavenly! Today, some people cooking at home, including me, have discontinued adding pork because of dietary or religious reasons. Regardless that the heavenly feel has been removed the savory delivery of this dish: there still remains a delightful taste but only when green, red, and yellow sweet peppers and tomato are not added. 


And here’s why I wish those ingredients were excluded: sweet peppers have overpowering flavors. They prevent me from enjoying the full flavor of the ackee. I also notice that tomatoes produce liquid and the ackee will lose its fresh taste if not eaten within a certain time frame. And frankly, in my mind sometimes I do believe that when the ackee is not enough those vegetables and fruits are added in abundance. The elders back in the day would have said such an action is done to make the amount of ackee look greater than what it is. Or, who knows maybe it’s inadvertently done to get us to eat more fruits and vegetables. 


And in all of my ackee glory and love, there are some people who cannot tolerate it. We are all different. And everyone moves to the beat of their own drum. Namaste!



Tah-tah! Seven brothers; seven different minds. 



Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2022


Friday, December 31, 2021

Viagra For Worship Required In These Times

God helps those who help themselves.

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For some people worship has become a part of life. Some may find it in religion, some in material things, some in foods and personal pleasures. Whichever worship becomes a person’s choice it is obvious that the association or connection can draw criticism from outside sources. People will pay attention to others or be in other people’s affairs instead of theirs. Perhaps such individuals are not aware of what they are doing or it could be that they are with a deeply rooted habit: to meddle or be nosy in the name of concern, personal interests or extending help. Or, even in the name of God because he is expected to mend and fix.



Most people at some point in time have dabbled in religious beliefs or worship and then only to see them relinquish or relieve themselves of such enthusiasm. To be more specific, church worship has become dull. Some Pastors have lost their zest in winning souls. In my Jamaican vernacular it would be: Nutten nah gwaan fi church (nothing is going on for church). The members have become far and few between. Missing from church activities. The Pastors’ sermons and preaching have become dead and so are the congregants. Their words of exaltation have fallen on deaf ears, sleepy people and social media enthusiasts. They can no longer charm the heart of a dead rat bat. The result has seen many vibrant churches which once had many members now reduced to a handful. And Pastors and their repetitiveness in the name of Malachi’s words about tithing have further driven one half of the remaining handful away. And to further compound things, when one thought that technology had already stopped the flow of in person attendance to places of worship, up came the pandemic due to COVID-19. 


When it comes to the congregants or even the public at large, the cry about lack of faith and not putting trust in God are the new punctuation marks by most Pastors. Period! LOL. But, have they really assessed the situation to find a strong reason or cause for the behavior? Is it that people have lost faith in the word of God? Or, is it because information has become readily and more available and controversial? Whatever the root cause of dwindling interest towards worship is, Pastors need to get to the bottom of it because soon they will be speaking, preaching and teaching empty pews. There will be no more talks about “where two or three are gathered in His name”. Instead people will be at home cooking, eating, drinking, dancing, arguing and more with very little interest to cultivate undivided time for worship.


Seeing the desperate need for worshipers to be in touch with their faith, again, Pastors and worshipers should fall in unison by some good stimulant: worship Viagra that can joyfully penetrate the heart and soul to a Hosanna in the highest. Inasmuch as each church going person is responsible for their relationship with God, it is likewise important that Pastors cease the way they reprimand congregants if they expect them to draw nearer to God. Stop shouting at them. Instead use their voices in accord with the congregants to make the joyful noise as was instructed to do. Stop criticizing their lifestyles and be amazed at the rain that falls on the just and the unjust. Give thanks and praise from whence and whom the blessings came from. Stop forcing worshipers to give money they don’t have. Instead have an understanding and bless the little they can afford to put in the collection plate. And dare not to invoke the Peter mouth on them. Not even utter an inch of loin cloth that can be easily confused with those rebels of cultural klaat.


Yet, isn’t the house of worship a repair shop? Isn’t it a clinic? Why not sing songs of sweet praise and romance to capture hearts. Where is the admiration for lover man Solomon and poetry man David? Why not use the feel good lyrics which often besiege lovers to give it up in their missionary stance. Stir the congregation to moan and groan in repentance as they surrender their all to Him. Why not by words inflict a tickle here and a tickle there to draw everlasting love. Sweet scented rose of Sharon. Be romantic through and with  the word. 


Until the perfect worship Viagra is found, churches will continue to see less people entering with passion.



 Tah-tah! Inspire and encourage. 




Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2021