Remembering Daddy 10 Years on
My father was a builder. If you walk down the cobbled sidewalks on Back Street you would be stepping on his work. If you enter the Police Headquarters, where immigration office was based, you would be stepping into a building for which he laid the foundation. If you stepped on a terrazzo floor laid in the 80’s and 90’s chances are you are stepping on a floor featuring his design and his workmanship. He taught others how to build too, working with laborers from every corner of SVG, and building everything from retaining walls, public buildings, and private homes. I once asked him if he could drive around to all the houses he built so that I could see his works. He laughed and asked me how much time I had.
My father was a farmer. When he wasn’t on a construction site he and my mother were ploughing, planting and reaping from the land. Around harvest time he would often drag my brother and me up mountain and give us little tasks to occupy us while he, my mom and his friends or workmen tended to the more serious business of managing the farmland. I have a love hate relationship with farming as a result. The green thumb that both my parents had/have, has missed me completely. My planting projects have not been much to talk about. Additionally, I am more of an indoors kind of person, so going to the farm on Saturdays when I could have been in bed reading was not a treat. Nevertheless, his example of working with his hands, bending under a hot Vincy sun whether on the farm or on a site was clear to me.
My father was resourceful. He had a knack for making do with what he had. In fact, it was a mantra of his. This is something I did not fully appreciate until I was much older and was living on my own in the cold, wet London town. He taught me the importance of stretching that dollar and reigning in the desire for material things and quelling itch to splurge. He used to say save some for another day, something I find myself repeating to my little miss lately. He made do and ensured we had what we needed. He also inspired a fierce independent spirit in me as well, by proxy, fostering a desire to get up and get my own with my own hard work.
My father was a cinephile, by this I mean he loved film. He possessed an encyclopedic memory of classic Hollywood stars recalling details of old westerns, especially. One of my last memories of him, before he fell ill, was overhearing him listing the entire 007 filmography to some of his peers. I paused, listening to his enthusiasm and smiling with understanding.
My father was a complicated man. Our relationship had its smooth moments and as well as its valleys of tumult. This is to be expected when strong souls and personalities with different world views settle into a father and a daughter. Over the years we talked about life, choices, and journeys. Candid conversations, things I was not ready to learn before, became the mainstay of our later exchanges. He was not perfect and I learned to be at peace with it.
These thoughts and more occupy my mind as the 10th anniversary of his passing approaches. On 24th of August 2008 he breathed his last and left a space in our lives that will not be filled. His lessons live on, the memories of him walk with us as a comfort in our grief. I am grateful for the time I had with him and for the things he taught just by living his life.
Continue to rest in power Edward Alexander Providence.