Little Moments with my Dad – 6th Edition
Little Moments with my Dad – Mr. Thomas Linsford Coleman Sr.
A Tribute by Kenrick Mark Coleman, MAPR, BSBM
Watching TV at Coleman’s Café
I believe it was in 1994, 1995, and 1996 – the early days of Coleman’s Café, when my dad placed our small TV (which showed the pictures/videos in black and white) in one of the upper entrance corners. In the early days, the restaurant served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We usually had quite a number of local and visiting international guests who enjoyed dining at Coleman’s Café.
I remember waking up early a few mornings and sometimes, I would sit in one of the corner chairs in the cozy café venue, watching the Spanish TV shows, and sometimes news. My dad hooked up an antenna on a tall pole behind our home and carried a wire (if I’m not mistaken) to the small antenna on the TV. This allowed us to see a few Spanish TV shows, movies and news. I remember those mornings quite well, - the very cool atmosphere, the TV streaming a movie, news, or TV show, and guests walking in to have breakfast, - all these made me believe I was in the USA (childhood imagination I believe). While the TV show or news was streaming, it felt surreal, unique, and took me to another setting (imaginatively).
I remember my dad also took the small brown TV upstairs at night, and we watched a few movies. I remember (Sabado Gigante) which was an early morning show of music, dancing, and comedy. I also remember quite vividly (Zorro), a celebrated Spanish movie, with the Star actor Zorro helping those in need.
Truly, these imposing moments allow me to reflect on my childhood days with my dad!
A Saturday morning with ‘Mama’ – ‘Grandmother Ethlyn Williams’
When we were kids, my parents went to Punta Gorda on Saturday mornings. I remember one morning I had the honor of visiting ‘Mama’. Mama’s home was old fashioned and I loved it! It was an upstairs board home with zinc roofing. The color of the board walls in the entrance room was a blue-green shade. In the corner, had a cozy dining table always adorned with vintage looking table cloth and mats, old fashioned decorative flowers, and a radio (to listen to Radio Belize I guess). The kitchen was small and full of big pots, pans, a table top stove, a shelf with plates and cups, and a window attached shelf with two big plastic basins for washing plates and cups.
While enjoying the company of my grandmother, we talked about life in Big Falls growing up among Ketchi and Maya families, my academic debut and performance in primary school, our restaurant, food, etc. She always told me that if we had old / used stuffs (which we don’t need) that I can bring it over for her (I always smiled when I remembered this, as my other late Aunt Olive (my dad’s sister) also asked us for old buckets, soap powder, etc).
After having a spontaneous and vivid conversation with ‘Mama’, she told me to go into her bedroom and get a gold ring from her bureau. I honestly didn’t know who it was for. She actually had two gold rings in that compartment of the bureau. When I came back on the veranda and gave her the ring, she said that it was for me, and told me to put it on. I was overjoyed! As kids, we barely received gifts, so this was a once in a moment opportunity. When my dad and our family picked me up from Mama (on their way back from P.G), I showed them the ring. My dad said ‘You’re lucky Kenny!’ He didn’t allow me to use to ring at school though (only at home).
I treasured this present from Mama (for a while) as I cannot recall what happened to the ring.
Another Sunday evening, we visited Mama, and they were making tea (hot fry tortilla pasted with butter (as it came off the frying pan)). I think it was complemented with Stew Chicken gravy. Mama told my Aunt Marva (who lived with her), to make some tea for us. My parents said ‘No’, but our grandmother insisted and I was more than excited, as at home we only had fry jacks and flour tortillas. The aroma of fresh, homemade fry tortilla was amazing! I got two tortillas and ate it with butter. Actually, while walking down the stairs, one fell out of my plate and they laughed at me. I still ate it.
Thankfully my dad took us for a ‘walk’ at ‘Mama’! I experienced a true old fashioned East Indian moment!
Visiting Marian’s at the Baron Bliss Market
There were many times when my dad (on his days off from work at the Rice Mill) travelled to Punta Gorda to conduct business. I accompanied him on several occasions.
I believe this was in 1998 or 1999. One day, he visited his cousin Marian Ramclam. She had a stall at the then newly constructed Baron Bliss Market in Punta Gorda. I believe she cooked Breakfast and Lunch to sell the people in the town. She also made jams - Guava, Mango and a few others. While my dad and her were talking, she looked at me and said ‘Papa, I will give you this little bottle of jam so you can eat with tortilla.’ Then, she asked me if I could save coffee bottles for her. My dad smiled. He said that we had a few bottles around the house.
I was happy for the little gift. I enjoyed the Guava jam with hot flour tortillas in the mornings, before going to Big Falls RC School.
Actually, I saved three bottles and then, completely forgot about Marian (all smiles). I don’t think that we visited her again. Marian now owns a celebrated restaurant in Punta Gorda, specializing in local cuisines, served buffet style.
Princess Diana’s Car Accident, August 1997
I remember an array of news being shared in August, 1997 by my parents, my dad’s family (the late Wilma and Roselda Coleman) and people that came around our home.
The conversations embedded new found facts and of course, opinions on the car accident in France which claimed the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.
I was deeply inclined, listening to every word. I was quite intrigued!
I remember my dad drove us to Punta Gorda a day later to our cousin Gerald Jr. where we watched live BBC TV coverage of the Paris accident, all relative theories, and the international outpouring of love for Princess Diana, her sons and family. My eyes were focused on observing the television coverage. It was that moment which brought light and commitment to indulge in more reading and understanding of the Royal Family and Great Britain.
Today, I still reflect on the legacy of Princess Diana, and I am positive that her son, Prince William, will carry on the torch of love, respect, and duty, now and when he becomes King.
As a British Chevening Scholar, I believe I share a connection, rather symbolic, of dedication to the Diana legacy, showcased simultaneously with the efforts of The Kenrick Mark Coleman Foundation.
I am truly grateful that my dad took us to watch the one of many TV news coverage of Princess Diana’s car accident.
A Party with Pinky
Pinky was a nurse from Maine, USA. She volunteered at the Big Falls Clinic, operated then by Sister Marion Joseph Baird. I believe the clinic was funded by the Catholic mission.
She visited and worked in Big Falls (a few weeks yearly) between 1995 – 1997.
She stayed with us a few days once (upon one of her arrivals in Big Falls). She actually rented a house nearby (from Teacher Maria).
I invited Pinky to a party on a Sunday morning. I woke up early and picked leaves from the Mango, Cashew, Mollyapple, Orange and Coconut trees. I cut five long pieces of sewing thread and strung each set of leaves respectively and tied them on nails on our then back veranda area, now the official kitchen. As the light wind blew, the leaves floated in the air, creating a beautiful effect and ambience. I enjoyed the natural beauty of leaves as party decor.
Pinky arrived around 9am. She met my dad at our old front gate, and said Kenny invited her to a party. I was anxious and trembling. My dad laughed, as he didn’t know I was having a party.
Pinky also brought my classmate, Helen Choco, who was our neighbour. Pinky knew the Choco family too as Helen’s mom worked at Sister Marian’s home. I was shy and hid for a moment, as I thought only Pinky would have come over.
I eventually went over and brought a chair for Pinky to sit on. Helen and I sat on the floor. We talked and played games (spinning tops and constructing a puzzle). Honestly, I didn’t have any food or drinks to offer my guests (all smiles). My dad scolded me (saying that when you host a party you need to provide the guests with food/desserts/drinks). My parents then sent me to Roundhouse (a nearby shop) to buy a pack of ‘Maria’ biscuits.
When I returned, I shared sodas (at the direction of my parents) and the biscuits with Helen and Pinky.
We talked about life, laughed, and enjoyed the moment.
Pinky and Helen went home about an hour later.
The Reese Saga
Between 1995 – 1998, university students under the chaperone of Dr. Peter Dunham came from Ohio to Toledo to pursue archaeological research. They stayed at dorms at the late Mr. Dan Owen Lewis farm.
A few times they had dinner at our restaurant. As kids, we helped in the business and intermingled with the guests.
We became comrades with many of them. They even came to party with us on special occasions, at our home and the Aleman’s Bar. Sometimes, they visited on weekends.
I remember one Saturday evening my dad had a party. Few of the students came over and enjoyed BBQ, alcoholic beverages, and dancing (to Caribbean Soca, Reggae and Punta music). Mark was one of the students who was closer to us. He was always cheerful. Later in the evening, I think he came into the kitchen to get something from the fridge. We actually had some Reese peanut butter cups (given to us by an American friend) in the door compartment. When my dad came into the kitchen about 5 minutes later, he saw the fridge door open so he went to check. He found Mark eating the treats. My dad asked him, ‘What are you doing, Mark?’ (sarcastically) There were about 15 peanut butter cups in the bag and Mark was finishing the last two when my dad caught him. Mark kept laughing and told my dad that the treats were irresistible.
We also had a good laugh when my dad told us the next day. We didn’t taste any as Mark ate all.
Rice Mill Evening Meals
My dad worked at the Big Falls Rice Mill from the late 1980s to 1999.
I believe he worked in various positions, including Mill Operator.
In the regular season, my dad worked daily (7am-5pm).
In the busy rice season, my dad worked shifts, either morning or night.
I remember my older brother, Thomas Jr. and I alternated delivering breakfast and dinner for my dad.
I enjoyed walking up the rocky road to the Rice Mill. Sometimes, I would visit my Aunt Rose, who lived next door the Rice Mill.
My dad enjoyed Flour Tortillas, Stew Beans, and Stew Chicken. When I was a kid, I couldn’t understand the complexity of mixing Stew Beans and Stew Chicken. However, as I grew older, I acknowledged the importance of the gravy for a healthy body.
Most of the times when we took the meals, we would leave it on my dad’s desk, as he was busy in the operations area. Sometimes, he would be at the top area and still saw us coming. He would shout and told us to leave the food on the table, and take home any food dishes he brought. I think we also took coffee and juice for him.
A few times my older brother climbed the steps to the higher areas to see what was going on. I wasn’t brave enough. Sometimes, my entire family would visit the mill at night when my dad worked. I believe I have ventured to nearly every part of the Rice Mill complex. I was only scared of a heavy-duty fan at the rear entrance. Whenever I had to pass that area, I would close my eyes and walk farthest away.
On a few occasions, my brother and I would go together to deliver the meals. After, we played hide and seek in the storage area (if the General Manager was not around).
I am happy that my dad worked at the Rice Mill. The experiences are a wealth!
When I was a kid, I went with my dad, Jack August, some cousins and a few others to hunt for Iguanas. Well, I was just hopping along enjoying the new found places (to me) and nature, of course.
My dad took everyone in our Toyota pickup to Blue Creek (or areas around that village).
My dad parked on the side of the road beside a bridge. Then, we journeyed through a river, and a pasture. There were some cows and high bushes. Jack informed everyone to keep away from the ‘cow cutting grass’. I was bad lucked, as a few minutes while rushing to keep up with the Iguana hunters, my legs got cut by some blades of grass. It was painful! I endured though.
We reached a river bank, and they started looking on the trees. I think they used a gun to shoot down a couple Iguanas. One of the other guys climbed a few trees and shook it, while another waited at the bottom.
I only watched. There was a lot of shouting (about Iguanas jumping off, Iguanas floating, moving quickly to catch the Iguana). I only observed.
I think we caught about 6 Iguanas. We returned home at night. The cuts on my leg was still hurting.
It was a wholesome experience, observing my dad and the team on the Iguana hunting trail.
Trip with Hank
Hank Hammoth lived in Big Falls, in quite a remote area in Farmers Road.
He loved nature and animals.
He visited our family often, having lunch and dinner on many occasions.
In 1999 or 2000, Hank chartered my dad and his 4door blue trooper. I believe it was a week day.
My dad took Hank and his wife on a full day tour visiting Dan Owen Lewis, the Mayan Ruins, and of course, they had lunch at our restaurant.
I accompanied my dad on this trip. It was heart-warming, full of nature, peaceful, and educational.
Our first stop was Mr. Lewis. Hank and his wife stayed most of the morning there. My dad and I waited at the open path at the dorms (where the archaeological students stayed). I made peanut butter sandwiches. My dad ate one sandwich. He didn’t like ‘pack bread’. He preferred Flour Tortillas. I also love Flour Tortillas and Stew Beans. My dad and I sat quietly on a bench, enjoying the forest and listening to the birds and animals in the bush.
We had lunch at our restaurant. Hank loved White Rice, Stew Beans & Stew Chicken.
After lunch, we went to Lubanntun via the Dump – Columbia Road.
While we were traveling on the highway, Hank saw a tree that was chopped down by a resident in the Dump area. He commented, ‘Oh look, they destroyed such a beautiful tree!’ That was a moment for me. I began to realize that trees are important for sustainable livelihoods.
It was a long journey to Lubanntun. I enjoyed the fresh breeze, the view, the forest, the thatched homes, oh my!
Hank and his wife toured the Mayan Temple and surrounding arena.
My dad and I waited at the Welcome Centre/Office. My dad talked to the two officers while I walked around the area. Some Maya women were selling indigenous crafts and gifts. My dad bought a woven bangle for me and my brothers too. It was a beautiful pink rainbow effect woven bangle. This was one of the best gifts I ever received. I wore it many times, even at my days at the University of Belize. I had it until 2013 (I think I lost it somewhere).
We returned home late in the evening, after dropping off Hank at his tree home in Farmers Road.
I had an amazing, joyous day accompanying my dad on this chartered trip.
Night at Grandmother Mercedes Coleman
Sometimes, my parents attended events such as weddings, pageants, and local dances.
They would leave us at home, with an elder neighbour or we would stay at my dad’s mom, the late Mercedes Coleman.
I remember we slept over at our grandmother twice.
Once, my parents and my dad’s sisters, Ramona, and the late Wilma Coleman, went to the Miss Toledo pageant.
I remember sleeping in my grandmother’s bed: the atmosphere was different - she slept in the dark, with only a night lamp. I slept well, once or twice in the night I woke, peeped around in the darkness, and quickly closed my eyes (fearing ghosts).
I also went to use their toilet in the morning. It was different. They had an indoor flush toilet, with a shower beside it, and rugs on the floor. I was wowed! We only had outside toilets at our home then.
My late grandmother Mercedes and late Aunt Olive spoke in silent tones when inside their bedroom.
I also peeked out a back window in my grandmother’s bedroom early in the morning. It was mostly forest. I saw an old shed in the distance.
The next time I stayed over I remember sleeping in the first big room as we entered our late Aunt Wilma’s home. My dad took me home that night. I was sleeping and he shook me, picked me up from the big bed, and said ‘Let’s go home boy’. He actually carried me all the way to the vehicle. That was probably 1am in the morning.
I also remember they had albums with photos from the old days. Hopefully one day I will be able to see them again.
Visiting Aunt Rose
We often visited our late Aunt Rose who lived next door the Rice Mill (up the road from us).
My parents had business to conduct twice when we were at school. So, our dad instructed us to go for Lunch at our Aunt Rose home (she also sold food, and kept busy especially in the rice season).
I was super excited! I knew my aunt always made light cake (locally referred to as ‘haad time’), and I enjoyed cakes! I remember at lunch time, my older brother and I walked over to Aunt Rose. When we arrived, she welcomed us into her kitchen, and told us to sit at the table. I was happy! The first thing I looked for were the cakes. My big eyes caught sight of them. They were two pans of light cake on the table. I remember she gave us White Rice, Stew Beans and ‘Brown down' Chicken. I also asked her for a slice of cake. It was delicious!
The next time my parents had business to do, they asked us to go again. Unfortunately, their business finished early and as we were walking home for lunch, they were coming back from PG and picked us up. I was sad. (I was looking forward to light cake)
Whenever my brother and I walked back to school through the ‘pecado’, we picked golden plums, small green plums, and lemons from Aunt Rose trees. I loved the ripe golden plums, even though the plum veins stuck between my teeth.
Hurricane Keith & Mitch
I don’t remember the exact year of Hurricane Keith & Mitch. I think it was 1998 & 2000 respectively.
I remember we sheltered in the new addition of our home, the restaurant (which was a complete cement structure).
I think there was a hurricane watch for the entire coast of Belize.
We all brought bed sponges and sheets and spent the night there. Actually, nothing happens in the south of Belize. It was a calm night.
My dad ensured that our home was boarded up though. Our Aunt Rose also came to spend the night.
Our comrade Joe Floyd flew in that day from Tennessee (I think that was the last flight as the airport closed too). Since local flights were cancelled, he came to Big Falls, Toledo via ZLine. He reached Big Falls around 11pm. Most of us were already sleeping. Joe walked down from the Rice Mill junction to our home. Thankfully, we had his Suzuki jeep parked outside the gate and he had his key. I remember when he started the vehicle, my dad got frightened. He thought someone was stealing it. When he opened the window, he saw Joe. He started laughing!!!
In yesteryears, we didn’t know when Joe was arriving in Belize because we lacked telephone or email access.
I don’t recall if Joe spent the night with us or went to his home on Esperanza road.
As kids, we were anticipating the effects of a hurricane. Of course, we had no knowledge then.
Remote Cars for Christmas
I believe it was Christmas 1993 or 1994.
My older brother Thomas Jr and I received remote cars for our presents.
Actually, I remember my parents went out to a Christmas Eve dance and we stayed home. A neighbour stayed with us.
We slept with mosquito nets over our beds. Sometimes, we slept with the net pinned down, and other times, we don’t. I remember jumping on the bed that night and that’s when I saw the remote cars on top of the mosquito net, brand new in its package.
The next morning, we received gifts. I wasn’t surprised. I remember we were happy playing with our remote cars downstairs, and across at the Tamp building. I remember Raymond Choco who worked there, and was checking the building that morning. My dad went over and spoke to him, and we followed. We played with our remote cars on the veranda at Tamp.
I am very sure my dad bought the cars from the Aleman’s store, as they carried seasonal gifts.
Gifts from our Cousin Leticia & Aunt Merlene
When we were kids, my dad visited families and friends in the Toledo district including Jacintoville, Dump, Forest Home, Punta Gorda, and Mafredi.
I remember on two occasions; I followed my dad when he visited our cousin Leticia in Punta Gorda. As my dad and her were talking, she took out a pack of pencils and gave me. I was happy! I loved writing and reading from my childhood days so this was an excellent gift! Then, she took out another pack and said this is for your brother (Thomas Jr). I think she also gave us a ruler and eraser each.
While I was attending university (my early days), my cousin Leticia was gracious in allowing me to stay at her home. I am ever grateful.
Thankfully, I followed my dad and was able to receive excellent presents!
I also remember my Aunt Merlene gave us some presents as kids: a chalkboard with a complete set of color chalks and eraser and a paint set. We were probably 6 years old then. My older brother and I shared the gifts (she’s my older brother Godmother).
My Aunt Merlene also gave me a pencil with a decorative ‘Jamaican lady headpiece’. It was actually a souvenir. She was studying at UWI then. I kept that souvenir for many years (until my university days). I cannot recall what happened to it.
Playing with Shamiki, Shamae, and Yadira
It was a bright Sunday afternoon. My parents went to visit the Balonas in Dump. Mr. Balona’s wife is my dad’s first cousin. She was my classroom teacher in Infant I too.
I think my parents went to buy chicken and vegetables from Mr. Balona’s shop.
While my parents and the Balonas were talking, Shamiki, Shamae, Yadira and I decided to play catch. So, we began chasing each other around the front yard. Then, I jumped in the back of our Toyota pickup, and as I was jumping out on the side, I fell over. My dad rushed over and picked me up. He spanked me. Then, he started to scold me. I was a bit dizzy from the fall and only had a scraped knee. The girls rushed over to see if I was okay too.
I remember my dad drove me to Jacintoville, to my great grandmother, Rosebelle Jacobs. She was always welcoming in her old, humble abode. She always called us ‘papa’. My dad told her what happened. She gave me a massage. I felt better.
Singing Karaoke at Coleman’s Café for Tourists
Many tourists visited our restaurant from inception day - 1994.
I think in 2003, my dad got Karaoke installed on our computer. It became an instant celebrity feature among tourists and regular customers at the restaurant. My dad was the Karaoke master.
He was the inspiration for others in Karaoke. He enjoyed singing many songs of various genres, including Spanish, Country, Pop, Reggae, Souls, etc. I remember he loved these songs: Coat of Many Colours, Blue Bayou, Green Green Grass of Home, Sad Movies, La Isla Bonita, Buffalo Soldier, One Love, Three Little Birds, Pass the Dutchie, Como La Flor, Asi Fue, and Mariposa.
He would sing, dance, and take a drink! I remember on weekends there were small crowds enjoying a night of talent, love and exquisite singing, with my dad being the leader!
Truly, times of prestige listening to my dad singing Karaoke!
Parties – Dancing – Drinking!
I remember (when we were kids) my dad loved parties – weddings, birthdays, graduations, ‘get together’!
He enjoyed dancing Soca, Reggae, Souls, Punta!
I remember watching him on the dance floor at family socials, with his brother and sisters and nieces and nephews! It was a moment of Coleman traditions! He danced like no other! He made the ambience vibrant and welcoming!
He also loved rum, beers and wines!
He was humble, jovial, a dancer of good heart!
Truly, wonderful, enduring memories of my dad!
High School Academic Performance & Parents Night Class of 2006
I attended Julian Cho Technical High School from 2002 – 2006.
I excelled academically ranking first place in first and second forms, and second in third and fourth forms!
I graduated Salutatorian, delivering a resounding, well rounded, Salutatory Address to an audience including CEOs, Politicians, Distinguished Citizens, Parents & Families, Fellow Schoolmates, and Friends at the Fr. Ring Parish Hall. I know my dad was entirely joyful to hear me addressing the audience. I believe my dad was thinking – ‘That’s my boy!’. The contents of my speech reinforced commitment to education, holistic development of self, service to community, and personal duty and pursuit of happiness.
I remember he always talked about ‘my boy’ as he referred to me to guests at the restaurant. He told them that I was a ‘boy who loves to study’ and ‘being the master of ceremonies’. He also told people about many activities and programs I participated in while at high school including Nutrition Contest (2004, 2005), President of Student Government (2006), Conferences, and Showcases.
Mr. George Emmanuel gave me the opportunity to be the Master of Ceremonies for Parents Night 2006. I remember being nervous. But, I lead the program well. I wasn’t a classic ‘Paul Mahung’ or ‘William Neal’ but I was spontaneous, creative and commanded the audience well. I knew that was a huge moment for my dad as he sat and watched me conducting a program with my own insights and style, though naive.
My dad was definitely proud of my achievements at Julian Cho Technical High School!
(I didn’t receive any demerits at high school.)
British Chevening Scholarship
It was my childhood dream from Standard 5 to receive the very coveted British Chevening Scholarship, pursue my Master’s Degree, major in Public Relations, and live in England. I remember reading the newspaper and seeing the advertisement announcing the call for applicants for the Chevening Scholarship. I read the ad. I read it again. I was entirely inspired! I said ‘This is it. This is what I want!’ That was 2002. In May, 2015, I was conditionally selected for the prestigious award and in September, I flew to London to pursue my childhood dream.
My dad was overjoyed! He told everyone of ‘His son’ ‘My Boy’ ‘Kenrick’ who is reading for his postgraduate degree in England. I remember comrades of mine and his, who met me over the years and said that my dad always raved about me. He was proud. He was grateful. He was anxious of the clause: what’s next for Kenrick?. He knew my potential was unconditional.
Actually, my dad’s sister, Merlene, is also a Chevening Scholarship recipient. She won in 2002. I believe it is in the family lineage.
Throughout my tenure at the University of Greenwich, I knew my dad was rooting for me!
Developing Toledo TV Show
Wil Maheia gave me the opportunity to organize and host Developing Toledo TV Show (January, 2012 – May, 2014).
It was a magnificent tenure and achievement for me! I hoped for this moment from my primary school days. I remember reading the news from the local papers aloud imagining I was on the radio or television. In early 2012, I embraced my TV show endeavour and carried on despite challenges.
I remember my dad would always tell customers at the restaurant that his son talks on PGTV! He told them that I loved to conduct interviews with the 'high level' people in Toledo!
I did make DVD copies and brought home (we didn’t have cable TV) and sometimes I heard him watching the shows!!!
My tenure was filled with organization of weekly tv shows, scouting sponsors, promotion of the TV show, conversation moments with people who watch the weekly shows, and finding new ideas.
Inspirational, Creative, and New are three words I would describe my experience as TV host!
Newspapers on Weekends
Many weekends (Friday or Saturday), my dad went to purchase newspapers, either in Punta Gorda or at the gas station.
He bought Amandala, Reporter, Guardian, and Belize Times. Sometimes, he didn’t get all because the shop was out of stock.
I was always quick to grab the papers from my dad when he bought them.
Newspapers were my huge asset! I read news articles, Letters to the Editor, Letters from the Editor, Commentaries, From the Publisher perspectives, advertisements, etc. I loved news articles on Miss Belize & Queen of the Bay, and of course diplomatic and political agenda/information.
Newspapers provided an avenue for me to grow holistically. I utilized what I read into my school projects and self-development platforms.
Additionally, I always listened to Love FM news and programs on our little old radio. I incorporated many ideas from radio too (into my projects).
I think it was Christmas 1998.
My parents bought Lighted Tennis for us to dress well at Christmas time.
I remember we went to visit families in Dump and Jacintoville.
We also stopped at our cousin Abel’s bar at the Big Falls bridge.
We played around while the adults were talking, drinking and dancing.
After an hour, we went home. On our way up the hill, I remember my dad said ‘these boys have lights, let them lead the way’.
I was first to jump in line. I lead the way up the hill, walking jubilantly with my lighted tennis.
I enjoyed the river breeze and nature in dark at the river side that night.
Belmopan Trip, 1997
In 1997, my dad planned a trip to Belmopan. I accompanied him. He also took a co-worker along.
He had a business meeting at the Help for Progress organization.
The journey to the capital was quite long. I believe we left Big Falls at 5am and arrived mid morning. I was eager though. I remember passing by many places: factories, forests, homes and communities, orange farms, bananas farms, and a sleeping giant (which my dad pointed out, but I still couldn’t figure out what it was back then).
I remember waiting in the vehicle while he went into the meeting. I think the guy’s name was Andre. After the meeting, he went to visit a few friends. Around 2pm, we travelled back to Toledo.
My dad also stopped at the Blue Hole. He said, ‘Kenny, this is the Blue Hole’. I remember walking down the steps (board steps back then) and jumping into the water. I moved around in the water, paddling with my little hands (all smiles). When my dad turned around, he said, ‘Kenny, get out of that water, its deep’. Thankfully, I didn’t go too close to the centre. I sat in the back cab of our Toyota as I was drained.
He also drove into Placencia. That was my first and last time in Placencia (all smiles).
His nephew Abel had a bar on the beach. I think we arrived around 6pm there.
My dad talked to Abel and had a few drinks. I noticed that on the shelf with bottles of rums he had a snake in one of them. I was startled!
I went to the beach for a little. The waves were splashing on my feet. It was so cold.
I remember seeing a few huge buildings (hotels perhaps).
In those early years, we only knew Kitty (an American lady) from Placencia. I did saw her hotel too. She passed away some years ago though.
We arrived back home at 10pm.
Truly, I treasured every moment in this trip! I believe they were all first moments!
Aunt Wilma’s Huge Contribution
I believe I was in Standard 1 or Standard 11 when the need arose for me to acquire a dictionary.
One night, my dad took me over to my Aunt Wilma (she was the Assistant Education Manager at the Toledo Education Center).
He told her that I needed a dictionary for school.
My Aunt Wilma gladly took out an orange coloured Webster’s dictionary and gave it to me.
My eyes opened wide. I am always fascinated by books and of course, my love for reading and writing. I started browsing the dictionary. I loved it from that very moment.
I told my aunt ‘Thanks so much’.
My dad also told her thank you!
I remember using this dictionary throughout primary school. I learnt so much from it. I remember using words and definitions in my everyday projects. My class mates would say ‘Kenrick like to use big words’. I carried the dictionary every day to class.
Actually, I still have the dictionary in safe keeping as it is an asset and a huge contribution to my success, this far.
My Aunt Wilma also gifted my older brother, Thomas Jr. with a McMillan dictionary when he was in Standard 3.
Aunt Wilma’s dictionary was a phenomenal investment!!! I am ever grateful to her, and my dad for making the effort to ask her.
The Belize Zoo Presentation
I was probably in Infant 11 or Standard 1.
A team from the Belize Zoo came to Big Falls RC School to conduct a presentation on their programs and efforts.
They spoke about animals, trees, birds, conservation, fishes, the Caribbean coast and sea, etc.
There was also a mascot. It was a big bird. I don’t remember if it was a Toucan or Eagle.
After the lively event in our school building, they had a Question & Answer segment.
One of the questions was about what protects the coastline from erosion.
I raised my hands and said ‘Mangoes’ loudly.
The mascot jumped up and the MC asked me to repeat my answer.
I said ‘mangoes’ again, but softer.
The MC said ‘That’s correct!’
I was in awe. I think it was the first and one of few times in my life I ever won a prize.
I won a huge poster. It had the white bobby bird on it. I think the statement on the poster included protecting the bird and habitats. I think it had the Belize Audubon Society logo on the upper left hand corner.
I couldn’t wait for classes to be over that day. I ran home through the pecado. My older brother Thomas was right behind me. I told him I won the poster from the Belize Zoo. He thought I bought it (all smiles).
I was excited to show my parents when I arrived home.
They looked at the poster and said it was beautiful.
My dad placed the poster in the restaurant on the entrance wall. I was proud of my achievement. The poster remained there until 1999, when we inaugurated a new building for the restaurant.
Since my dad nailed the poster on the wall, many customers were able to see it. I think a few times people asked and he told them that his son, Kenrick won it at school.
(The answer to the question was Mangroves. I was a kid then. I honestly remembered it as ‘mangoes’ in the presentation) (all smiles).
The Sailboats go by!
We were in Punta Gorda many years ago. It was a Saturday morning.
My dad decided to take us to relax at the Old Customs area.
I remember just sitting and watching the sea. It was a pale blue to light blue never ending body of water.
Two elder Garifuna ladies drove there in a car too. I heard them saying ‘I wonder if there are any sails today?’ Then, one of them said ‘Look, there are two!’
I was wondering what are ‘sails’ which the ladies were referring to.
I looked and saw two sail boats. One was tiny. The other was long.
I enjoyed the peacefulness of the atmosphere, the sea, and the cool Caribbean breeze.
Ice cream at Marenco’s Ice Cream Parlour
Quite a few times, we were treated to delicious ice cream from Marenco’s Ice Cream Parlour!
I remember one-night Roxanna Aleman joined us for ice cream. I believe she was in P.G. for an event. My dad saw her passing by and invited her. She was always joyful and gladly had an ice cream with us.
That night I ordered bubble gum flavoured ice cream and as I was going to eat, it fell off the cone. My dad bought another one for me. I believe ice cream was one of his favourite desserts.
Some nights my dad would drive around town - after we bought Boledo at Brads. We went all around the BDF camp (now UB) and then swung around to Main Middle Street (now George Price Street).
There were many old-fashioned abodes. I remember clearly before Sports Bar was built, there was a blue coloured boarded home (the late Senator Venancia Petillo), Government homes (all painted in brown and cream) for district managers, old fashioned two story homes, many unpainted (across P.G main streets), the long shed (across Central Park) for the ‘Cobaneros’, and the old green building opposite the old doctors’ quarters (Augusto Mack’s building).
The Powder Buns from Lucille
Lucille was an excellent comrade of my family.
She lived beside the former Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in Punta Gorda. She loved flowers and plants. Her home was uniquely beautified with wall paintings and flower decors.
We first met Lucille (officially I believe) on an Independence Day (1997 or 1998). My dad bought BBQ from a vendor but we didn’t have a table to eat on. My dad stopped and asked Lucille if we could eat at her restaurant. She graciously accepted us. We bought soft drinks from her. She treated us with respect and congeniality, even though we didn’t buy food at her restaurant. I remember after eating, she gave us powder buns. Those were amazing, the best I’ve ever had!
I told my dad that the powder buns were excellent. I begged him to ask Lucille if we could buy a few to take home. She mentioned that she only had a few for customers. However, she told me that she would order more on the weekend, and told my dad to stop by for some.
I think that Saturday we went to town. I kept reminding my dad to check at Lucille. On our way out of town, he stopped. Lucille said they would be ready in 15 minutes, as her neighbour across the street was just baking them. Surely, the neighbour’s son, Karl, came over with a big basin. He gave Lucille. Lucille then gave my dad a plastic container filled with about twenty powder buns. She said ‘This is for the little boy who love powder buns!’ She didn’t charge for it.
I was truly impressed by this gift. I enjoyed the baked treats. Of course, I shared with my family (all smiles).
Lucille became good friends with us. She visited us once in Big Falls, spending an entire Sunday. She brought Karl along.
We also visited Lucille for a New Year’s Eve Party. She gave my brother a clock for a gift.
She still remembered me as I grew older and went to university.
August 27, 1998: Election Day
I was happy to accompany my dad when he went to do business in Punta Gorda on August 27, 1998.
I didn’t know I would experience a first moment of political agenda, and revelry in proper format.
I knew it was a general election, but I didn’t know the purpose and tactics.
As we arrived in town, I was quick to observe booths displaying signage supporting the People’s United Party and United Democratic Party. They were made of sticks strung together and coconut leaves, and of course decorated with blue signage for some, and red for others.
I was deeply intrigued. The entire town was filled with these. It was calm though. It was a regular work day. People were in booths in their party colours. I believe citizens casted their votes and went back to normal life duties.
My dad told me ‘Election time, Kenny.’
On our way out of town, I saw more political flags and some vehicles with signage and photos of the candidates contesting the elections.
When we passed by my school, I saw a few people outside. They were probably casting their votes.
In the night, I listened to the live election results coverage.
The People’s United Party won a landslide victory.
As I grew older, I have embraced activism especially for certain national and international issues. I shared my personal, official perspectives on both, traditional and new media. I believe August 27, 1998 allowed me to grow holistically, and perhaps, politically.
Bismark Ranguy’s book - Toledo Recollections
When my dad had his grocery store after retirement, I was able to listen to quite a few great conversations with older folks.
I remember when the late great Bismark Ranguy visited my dad’s store in 1999, I was sitting on the side listening keenly. He and my dad were discussing his book, historical issues in Toledo, and of course, East Indian history and legacy.
He left some of his books for sale.
I took one from the pile on the shelf for myself. My dad knew I was the son who loves to read, so he didn’t scold me (all smiles).
The book provided much insights into the East Indian way of life, history of Toledo, and old time stories.
I still have this book in safe keeping. Truly, a treasure!
Some other 'greats’ who had good conversations with my dad are Mr. Moh, Mr. Peter Aleman (my godfather), and his sisters, the late Wilma and Roselda Coleman.
Aunt Wilma’s Best Banana Cake
I went with my dad to our Aunt Wilma’s home in Dump once.
They had something to discuss.
Aunt Wilma was actually at her dining table, making a banana cake.
I noticed that most of the bananas she was peeling was ‘black, sort of rotten’ to me.
I also noticed she just ‘threw in’ ingredients into the mixing bowl. She didn’t measure any ingredient (as I would do).
She also told us to stop by later for some banana cake.
We went back the other day (but I forgot about the cake).
My dad went to talk with her again.
While they were talking, my Aunt Wilma called me into the Kitchen. She always called me ‘pa’ or ‘Kenrick’.
She gave me a big rectangular slice of cake.
My dad and I sat and ate the cake. Actually, I ate most of it (all smiles).
That was the best Banana Cake I’ve ever had in my life.
It was rich in flavour (from all the butter, milk, and bananas)!!!
It also had a purple-ish and deep brown colour!
Finally, I understood why she used the ‘black sort of rotten’ bananas.
ADM Belize Mills Nutrition Quiz
George Emmanuel selected me (and two other students) to represent Julian Cho Technical High School at ADM Belize Mills Nutrition Quiz 2004 and 2005.
In the first contest, Yours Truly, Floridalma and Crisna were chosen. We studied a package of information relating to Nutrition, Health, and Science during the summer holidays.
In late September, we went to the Fr. Ring Parish Hall to participate in the Nutrition Quiz, my first big contest.
When I arrived, I found out that my cousins, Laurita and Marlon, were the candidates representing the Toledo Community College. Actually, they won the Nutrition Quiz and went on to win the National Championship too. They also represented Belize in the Caribbean contest.
I was a bit nervous during the contest. There were a few rounds of questions and then some presentations by the mascot. I was the team leader. We captured second place. It was an excellent event.
My Aunt Wilma was a Judge. I think my comrade Pulcheria Teul was also a Judge.
I remember Aunt Wilma came to tell my dad about the contest over the weekend. My dad said that he knew about it. She said that I did great, despite placing second.
In 2005, Yours Truly, Floridalma and Carol participated in the Nutrition Quiz, and captured second place again.
Both years we received a plaque and cash prizes. The two plaques grace the lobby at Julian Cho Technical High School.
My dad did tell a few customers at the restaurant and friends about my participation in the contest. I knew he was entirely proud of me.