WELL, IF ANYBODY did tell me dat life was going tuh be suh hard when I reach my middle or going in tuh my evening years, I woulda tell dem dat duh mad. I woulda tell dem dat life in my sweet li’l Barbados would nevah be like some o’ the other small islands like weself or even the things dat happen in some o’ dem places would nevah happen bout here.
Ya see, I always thought dat we was too intelligent; we too level-headed; we too smart; we literacy rate too high and we always had Governments dat had duh heads screwed on good. We always thought dat duh was too good tuh evah let the kinda things dat happen in some o’ dem other countries evah happen ’bout here. Well I must admit, I was dead wrong ’cause duh happening now.
Ting, evahbody hollering fuh murder! It ain’t like ya mourning and groaning and complaining all the time but ya cahn help but listen tuh the kinda comments ya does hear whenevah ya start talking tuh people. Even people ya doan even know. I ain’t telling you nuh lie: it got ya frighten as France tuh get old.
I gine tell you the truth. When I was in my late 30s, I was looking forward tuh my 40th birthday; it was exciting tuh me as ya always hear people say dat life begins at 40, so I was happy. I had a big-able birthday party. I was married then and my husband at the time and I throw down a party and invited the world and he brother – dat is what I wanted at the time.
Now I was looking forward tuh a similar one when I saw 50 staring me in my face, but huh! It didn’t work out dat way and dat is when I started tuh feel frighten. All of a sudden I started tuh see life in a different light. When I turned fifty I got dressed and marched in tuh the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) office, which was there in Whitepark Road at the time; and I could remember this good-looking white-hair man looking at me and telling me dat I was in the wrong place.
Anyway, I signed up, got my BARP card and felt real good until one day, it dawn on me dat I was heading straight fuh 60 years old and the life dat I thought would be smooth as a senior citizen wasn’t looking suh smooth at all. Ya see, all like now so I looking forward tuh getting my li’l old age pension, and I really ain’t went nuhwhere and check it out yet but from the look o’ things, it ain’t look like I gine be getting nuh kinda pension after all the years of working suh hard, ya.
I hear my sister and her friend talking the other day ’bout old age pensions. I wasn’t in the conversation but I was listening and I hear my sister tell the girl dat after all o’ these years of wukking out ya soul-case, it look like by the time the two o’ dem get tuh dat sorta age, duh ain’t gine got nuh money tuh pay out ’cause from the look o’ things and the way how the different Governments handling and running things, nuh money ain’t gine be there like before tuh pay nuh old age pension. And look, the two o’ dem now in duh early 50s hear? So ya understand dat dah is a li’l frightening.
I ain’t know how some people does do it but it ain’t easy at all, ya know? Especially fuh old people and it getting harder every day. But you see me? I is one o’ the li’l old girls now and I does pray hard! I does ask God tuh please look after me in these rough, trying times and help me not tuh depend pon what man gine give me, ’cause duh gine let ya down. But the one thing I know and believe wid all my heart is dat despite how tough things are or duh get: He, God, will nevah evah let me down.
• Mavis Beckles was born and raised in The Orleans. She has an opinion on everything.