Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Love You, Daddy

Fathers Day was nicely sandwiched between the birthdays of two friends and fathers. Nice, too, that the first born of the second wife had brought her crew from New York City to spend a splash and sand and sup weekend with us: for them, Manhattan is not just a place. It was hard to hang with them, so we did not. They were good troopers and supported the little one at her gymnastics show, but were then ready for grilled fish at Oistins. No need to think about early wake up, eh? Their energy levels were not limitless, but they seemed to party long, sleep long, drink lots, sun bathe by the pool a lot, tour around the island, hang off a catamaran, and still have time left over in 24 hours to text messages.

We're pretty hospitable folk, so all of this naturally gave my minimalist partner all she needed to head off to bank to get another loan so that she could go to the foodstores and arrange a lil' t'ing. Grill master Flash could, if he so chose, take charge of the one place a man knows a woman loves to be so long as she does not have to get her nails and hands mussed up, and offer the usual advice. He can stand and swig a cold brew, yet work and watch TV at the same time. She will come by and utter "Mmm. Smells good down here," and not mean the scent from the T-shirt. Or "Let me just check that this piece is cooked." Her offspring, always ready to mimic an adult, will also pass by and beg for just a little drumstick. She will then head back upstairs with her sticky lips and fingers and proceed to water the plants, without realising that the water was pouring down on Flash's shaved head. "Hey! Stop that watering!" So, with Tiger swinging to the corner of one eye, and ribs and chicken legs and fish kebabs simmering in the corner of the other, neo-metro-sexual man, Flash, was nearing another bliss point.

But, credit where it's due. Team work is all about give and take, and whatever Flash could do would only be the icing on the cake for the housekeeper who did the preparation. Truth is, I have my way of doing things but I know that only one hand can stir a pot. But, who was it standing in the sun for three hours? Do I love people, or what?

Those people know that I am a great defender of the unwashed father: men like myself, who have thrown away a love of unnecessary finery and now revel in their pyjamas until deep mid -morning. But, not insignificantly, in the modern era of the 'career mother' ("Where's Mummy, Daddy?"), we are also the ones provide some essential domestic glue. We pad around at night at the slightest cough from the child and try to make sure that she goes to the potty; we eat breakfast with her every morning and help her read the newspaper. My two friends who were celebrating are not disappointments in that regard. Neither seems to stay in his pyjamas very long, however. One, McDonald, utters things like "I can't do that early because I have to see my personal trainer." This is the mantra of the 'gym father', and I wonder if he is in fact buffing himself so that his lovely wife will realise that her prize catch is still a fish wriggling on the hook. He hopes that she will be like an alligator to his duck and just snap him up? The other, The Persuasive One, bless his hunter-gathering socks, is so often off the island seeking fodder in Europe for his brood, that I wonder whether his wife is now searching Amazon.com for a permanent replacement, or at least one that can be regularly by her side. But, when he's around, he does take care of the twins...well, sort of. I've heard that he does not cook, but is not hesitant of take them for a lunch.

So, it was a great idea to have the children at the BBQ offer up something for their Dad, ahead of our gracing the food. Miss Bliss stepped up, with her usual confidence, and belted out, in glossy pink:

Rose are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are you

After that, I felt truly in the pink myself, and had to show her some love with a huge hug. Not to be outdone, another blissette, Emmsie, played a tune on the piano for her Dad. Our little neighbour, Lizzie, who is in class with Miss Bliss, talked about how her Dad takes her to the beach; her little brother, The Rustler, just asked for his dessert. Others got stage fright, but their Dads knew that they were brimming with love.

Most adults don't ask for much, but if what is offered is genuine, then take it, and hold it and love it to death.

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