ONCE UPON A WINE               03 01 2013

By  Ewalt Ainsworth

Once upon a wine  when sugar was two pounds fuh thirteen cents and beef, iron and wine used to sell in La Penitence Market…. the first weekend after Mashramani was reserved and preserved for  New Amsterdam.  It used to be wine fuh so; Errol Alphonso and Oscar Clarke combined with die-hard representatives en masse and en-bloc from as far away as Hopetown and Orealla and Kimbia used to come wining thru, wining up, wining down and come back round.  But that was once upon a wine.    
Amsterdam like Linden once upon a wine gave birth to celebrations after a cooperative effort;…the true essence of Mashramani.  Both these communities have lost their luster and patina;  Robeson  Benn has aggravated the situation by banning calypsos and making  KENDINGO, REBEL, CARAMBOLA, STELLA, CANARY and all the others mendicants in a plural and popular culture of shared beliefs and ideology.  At least so it was once u0on a wine.

People used to come from all about with the tassa and goat skin and make merry and get hefty with patriotic songs and tumble down rituals in the ancient county.  But that was once upon a wine.

That weekend alone New Amsterdam used to come alive…mosquitoes used to be suicidal as young folks, working folks,  frisky folks, melancholy folks,  pioneer folks,  country folks and town folks alike used to get folksy and exchange pleasantries and share experiences, achievements, hopes and grope to have better times in the more times.
But that was once upon a wine.

It was in 1983 that MASHRAMANI that the  SOLO  band played  the  BOB MARLEY  song…EXODUS in sympathy for the Africans who were being kicked out of Nigeria on the instructions of the President.  Here in the iq—592 republic Guyanese are being picked out to go vacuum  ATM machines, homesteads, office campuses and hospices on the instructions of the commander-in-cheat.  ASOMELYKAMA.

Nobody knew that Guyana would emerge as a nigger-yard where cement block fences would determine class.
Guyana has devolved to a stage where spontaneity has become a crime and cross cultural solutions have been laid to rest.  New Amsterdam has been suffocated…compliments of the PPP and its heroes and heroes, and left to exist by their own devices.
The Berbice river bridge has not brought prosperity to the region and instead inflicted collateral damage on a sector that gave  CUFFY  gumption and  CHEDDIE redemption.    But all of that was once upon a wine.

New Amsterdam too this time of year used to be decorated and men and women used to cut their teeth dancing to the pulsating bear on the street wining up, bending down, turning round and  then come back round…slow, slow, slow.  All of that was once upon a wine.

All the premier bands, the orchestras,  the masquerade bands,  steel bands,  the winning costumes, the top calypsonians and their respective groupies used to go to mecca…New Amsterdam… to strut their feathers and flounce to the ounce.  But that was once upon a wine.
Guyanese have gotten lazy.  In the days when there were shortages of lour and peas and channa and oil, we coulda rub down and shove down and come again.  Again I suppose…that was once upon a wine.

Winkle and Esplanade and Stanley Town and Canje among all the other ethnic enclaves too used to be watering holes and retail outlets for the salt fish and bake and dahl-purri  and conkie.  Guyana was experiencing a food shortages but no shortage of food.  People used to rise with the morning sun and o a do-daa; m In those days too when Mash rolls around, yu do not have to know or be family and bear distinguishing marks.  It was so written in that era that the doors were always left ajar…all ah we a one family.



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