Little Moments with my Dad (1st Edition)

Little Moments with my Dad (1st Edition)

Little Moments with my Dad — Mr. Thomas Linsford Coleman Sr.

A Tribute by Kenrick Mark Coleman, MAPR, BSBM

Evening Journeys to Punta Gorda

· I remember with utmost love the years of 1996–2002. My family travelled most evenings to Punta Gorda Town to purchase Boledo tickets from Brads. Actually, my dad took all of us in our very meek beige colored Toyota pickup, with the name ‘Coleman’s Cafe’ on the driver’s side door. I was always happy for the evening journeys!

· In those days, it was very peaceful, and somewhat old fashioned. It was an entire rock road from Big Falls to PG. There were modest floods during the rainy season at certain areas on the road — Jacinto Bridge, in Dump (by a diversion near Forestry) and by Joe Taylor bridge. I remember my dad stopped and checked the water level, before deciding to drive through them. This usually happened when we were heading back home. In 1999 — onwards, we had a red Suzuki (left with us with a close comrade), and thankfully, we went in this sometimes, which was higher to pass through the flood.

· When we would pass our relatives’ homes along the way (Jacintoville, Dump, Forest Home), my dad would remind us of different stories, experiences he had growing up with them (going to school, going to dances, village life days, working with Mr Lindo, etc).

· We always stepped out of the pickup when we parked opposite the old Fisheries Office (when we arrived in PG). Sometimes, we just waited there, enjoying the sea breeze and watching the passersby or followed our parents while they waited in line to buy Boledo.

· I also loved going to Ms Olympia Vernon’s shop (Brads rented office space from her building). I bought Bulla for .35c a piece and Powder Bun for .25c a piece. Oh, those were amazing treats! She actually cut a Bulla Cake in 4 (selling each piece) and a Powder Bun in 2. I think she had cupcakes, chips, etc too.

· I was always eager to check our Mail Box too whenever we went to buy Boledo. I always asked my dad for the key when he finished buying Boledo. Sometimes he gave me, and then, there were times when he said ‘No’. The Post Office was opposite the Fisheries Office. In the later years, 1999- onwards, while helping at Coleman’s Cafe, I always met and spoke well with many tourists from America, Europe, et al. I collected their addresses, first on roughly cut shop paper and then, a little address book. I wrote letters to many of them. I was fortunate to receive brilliant, warm replies from my USA friends, books, school supplies, cash, stickers, VCR tapes (movies), clothing, and so much more. I remember meeting Attorney Chris Miller and his wife Amy. They sent me a Harry Potter book, a Tolkien book, and a map of the USA — so I could locate where future tourists (who visits our restaurant) are from.

· I remember a few times my dad bought us ice cream from Marenco’s Ice Cream Parlor or Popcorn from Grace Coleman’s Restaurant (Her nephew Peter had a mobile Popcorn machine/cart, and he would sell around the main town areas or in front of the restaurant (adjacent the BTL office in PG).

· I remember always observing Miramar Hotel/Bar/Restaurant, which is directly opposite the former Brads office. I always watched in amazement the tall building, and heard stories from my dad of Miramar in the old days — including being a nightspot for Nepal/British Soldiers.

Visiting Barranco, 1999

· My dad took our family, along with his late sister, Sarita, and her husband to a grand festival in Barranco Village on Easter Sunday, 1999. The road was mostly rock and dirt. It was a rough journey, but I enjoyed the beautiful forests, villages along the way, and the new sceneries.

· I remember we were going to meet the late Vance Vernon and his family there too. Actually, my Mom took Cohune Cabbage and White Rice for them.

· We arrived in Barranco about an hour later. We met Mr. Vernon and his family near the Barranco Catholic Church. We were happy to see them, and enjoy the afternoon with them. It was a joyous celebration of people, games, music, tradition, and of course, very cool sea breeze. Note: Barranco is a Garifuna Village on the coast. The village is rich in history, culture, tradition, and prestige, second to none.

· I remember looking at the very huge Church building. I think it was made of wood, and zinc, but it was an incredible, vintage looking building.

· I walked around with my dad for most of the afternoon. There was music — Punta, Soca, Belizean music! My dad told me that when you hear music, you should dance. I only laughed.

· It was later on, that my dad said ‘Mr. Palacio — Good afternoon’. (I don’t think the late Andy Palacio knew my dad, but my dad knew him). He and Andy Palacio started having a conversation about life and music. He then introduced Mr. Palacio to me. Mr. Palacio actually shook my hand (smile). Back then, I didn’t knew how important Andy Palacio was, and of his contributions to arts and culture in Belize. Today, I reflect on that historic moment of meeting Andy Palacio.

· I begged my dad for money to purchase tickets for Tambola, which was happening nearby. There were many attractive prizes, including a bottle of rum, school supplies, etc. My dad gave me $2, and I bought 4 tickets (.50c each). I was not lucky though! The Garifuna lady said the number on my ticket had to end with the number 2, to win a prize.

· We also went to the sea side/beach area. It was truly a tropical sensation for me! I enjoyed the sea waves splashing, the seagulls flying, the people talking, laughing, drinking, the children in the water swimming, playing. There were also boat rides too.

· We walked around a bit, soaking up the magnificence of Barranco Village. That was my first and only time in Barranco. I hope to visit one day again.

· We travelled back to Big Falls in the evening. We arrived home, all tired. I truly loved that visit to Barranco!

End

Chairman, The Kenrick Mark Coleman Foundation ~ British Chevening Scholar ~ MA Public Relations, University of Greenwich, London ~ Holistic Conversations ~