Ethon Lowe | Combating farm theft
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Combating Praedial Larceny
In recognition of International Women's Day, March 8, I dedicate this satirical piece: to the mothers who single-handedly mothered (and fathered) generations of children to become responsible adults, and to the women who courageously moved forward despite years of abuse and discrimination to make a difference in society and in their lives.
Like many farmers, my good friend, Ms. W, has suffered at the hands of praedial thieves. Unwavering, she still soldiers on, managing her 40-acre farm. For this shrewd, feisty lady, the invasion of her farm, while not welcome, affords a pleasurable interlude from the daily grind, allowing an opportunity to pursue one of her favourite sports: matching wits with her unwanted visitors.
Swallowed the bait
With the notorious banana thief, Banana Puss, BP for short, on the prowl, securing her 12-hand bunch of bananas by the river is not a certainty. Not to worry. Why not have him do the job for you and nab him in the process? With Ms W dropping hints as to the location of this prized bunch, BP soon swallowed the bait. "Before cock tek off him draws," BP emerged with his booty. Alas, the prospect of a mouth-watering dish of rundown and bananas was dashed by the sight of Ms W materialising before him. After repossessing her bananas, Ms W, kind-hearted as always, presented him with a banana - a token of her appreciation - and a promise that a warm cell would be reserved for him at the police lockup next time.
Unlike BP, Romeo, a farm thief of oranges, is something of a romantic. Fiercely possessive of his 'dawta'( his pride and joy), he ensures that she is uniquely endowed with just the right attributes to foil any would-be suitors. His soulmate is toothless, weighs 250 pounds, and as for her boobs and butt, it's kinder not to mention them. Her reputation for not bathing (a habit imposed by Romeo) went before her, especially when she stood upwind. A prospective suitor would indeed find such a prize challenging.
Ms W, up to her tricks, decided to put one more thief out of action. She helped Miss No Teeth to get her teeth (with a small donation), and, having discovered the wonders of soap (a luxury introduced by Ms W), Miss New Teeth has not lacked suitors. When last seen, she was frolicking with her new guy, and Romeo, having lost his Juliet, has become despondent and is on suicide watch.
Farm thieves are a superstitious lot, and when one of these villains lost his tam while stealing oranges, she jumped at the opportunity to work some, er, obeah. Retrieving the incriminating tam, she mischievously instigated the rumour that the said tam and its owner's locks were placed in Miss Rotunda coffin at her funeral. As luck would have it, Miss Rotunda, being a lady of fearsome reputation in life (Mother Thunder to her enemies), it would hardly be expected that her spirit would be less peaceful in death. Certainly, her angry and vengeful spirit would not take kindly to having obviously unsightly and smelly baggage accompany it on its final journey and would move Heaven and Earth to find its owner. Its owner, not surprisingly, has reportedly gone into hiding.
Our heroine yearns for the peaceful life in the company of hubby, her cats, dogs, goats, and rabbits. Admittedly, the farm can be a lonely place, and when she complained that she didn't have anyone to talk to when he is away, her loving husband, considerate as always, gave her DJ a particularly chatty parrot.
Unfortunately, the Jamaican proclivity of praedial larceny makes a peaceful life virtually impossible. Resigned to the inevitable, she responds to the challenge, confident that her usual astuteness and indomitable spirit will prevail, and, as always, that she will emerge triumphant. Simply put, a triumph of brain over brawn.
The events described above are actual events. As a farmer (and victim), I hope this piece will create public awareness and stimulate more concerted efforts to combat the scourge of praedial larceny.