Wednesday, April 24, 2024

THE LOWDOWN: And no one heard


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My friend Wild Coot, go play the flute, discover within your basic trute; the pan, though grand, exciteth man, while the flute his cockles sootheths. How could a man of your pravity and distinction eschew the very encomium of column-writing, to wit, no one gives a spit?

You quote chapter and verse of your many dire warnings – like you is Warner Brothers or something – without once asking, “who cares?” Had they listened to me millions wouldn’t have been wasted at Greenland, Bim wouldn’t be a fully owned subsidiary of T&T, CARICOM judges couldn’t make us a laughing stock and strip away the last vestiges of our pride and sovereignty, lush fields of sugar cane would bring tourists and foreign exchange, and two murders a year would be plenty.

Maggie Hoad’s last boy ain’t losing no sleep over that. Fill up your space, draw your fee, don’t take yourself too seriously. That’s my motto. As Dave Barry put it: “The best you can hope for, with a newspaper column, is that people will like it enough to attach it to their refrigerators with magnets shaped like fruit”. I might add, “and not wee wee on your face as one lady happily did on mine in a deserted bondhouse”.

Today’s a bit of this and that. My computer is down and I’m here struggling on something that could fit into a salt bread. God only knows what will result.

First, a sad farewell to Keith Laurie, a stalwart for agriculture. If only they had listened to him. He advised me on sugar cane feeding when I started here and has passed on helpful hints over the years.

I pride myself on needing very little for a good life, dead man clothes, cast off appliances, only one wife. But I couldn’t come close to Keith’s economy in food. The man would eat monkey, African snails. Feed his ducks on snails, his sheep on books. Laurie couldn’t starve in this world. May he enjoy milk and honey in the next.

Also respect to David Foster, retiree of Roberts Manufacturing. When I mentioned the goats didn’t like a particular feed, he came up with a new formulation and personally brought me free bags to try. The goats loved it. This is a managing director, mind you.

David’s secret, if I remember correctly, was to taste the individual feeds. Why he would snack on animal feed is anybody’s guess. Maybe a reflection on his wife’s cooking. I don’t know. But it certainly worked to this farmer’s advantage.

Palatability in feed is crucial. One recalls the story of the big, gruff pig farmer at Roberts Feed Store calling out: “Ah want a bag of hog finisher.” And the cashier fresh from a previous job at a fast-food outlet replying: “Certainly, sir, to n’use here or to take away?” Let’s hope young Jason Sambrano will also n’use some Roberts’ feed and keep the standards up.

Now some Massy Stores experiences. I ordered 40 bags of fertiliser. The day was hot. As we offloaded, the young female truck driver asked: “Do you mind if I take off my shirt?” My wife was out. “No problem”, I said. But I couldn’t concentrate on counting the bags.

Three months later I discovered they were ten too many and reported the error. Hoping for another hot day when the female trucker came to collect. Or, failing that, at least a ham for giving back about $640 in mistake. Got neither.

I go further. Massy Stores sold me tablets which were double the strength prescribed. Tablets with a half page of deadly side effects including “impotence”. Double dose in my book suggests double deadly side effects. I could’ve dropped from a proud 6:14 position to a useless 6:28. Resulting in marital problems, divorce, alimony, bankruptcy . . . . My online lawyers at Racketeers Inc. feel I’m due here at least a yacht and a condo. I tell them to err is human. But again not even a ham, Massy? That is inhuman.

Finally, women ride stallions, whip them, rake their bellies with spurs, make them jump fences. No problem. This week’s Monday NATION reported some Bajan women are reversing the roles. The stallions get to ride and a l’il woogie-woogie to boot. And local officials denounce this as “animal abuse”??? Am I missing something here?

Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.


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