Sun | Jan 19, 2020

JaRistotle’s Jottings | The Tide of Yule

Published:Thursday | December 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM
As Christmas shopping gets into high gear, vendors transformed Beckford Street into an arcade in downtown Kingston, yesterday. The street is designated as a vending area for the festive season.

When the Tide of Yule rolls in at this time of year, we are awash with varying interpretations of what the season represents. For some, it is a time to reflect and give thanks for having survived another year, for rejoicing the birth of the Saviour, and for looking towards the coming year. For others, it is an opportunity to fatten the pocket, to woo fools such as myself to part company with our money only too quickly 'in the spirit of the season'. Alas, there are also those who have had it difficult throughout the year and still face hardships in this the season of plenty.

Whatever the individual circumstances, the Yuletide season ushers in traditions of kindred spirit and oneness in us Jamaicans, an indomitable sense of family, kindness and cheerfulness that, regrettably, does not prevail throughout the remainder of the year. Notwithstanding the commercial hype, festivities and road madness, the season brings mixed expectations and opportunities for one and all.




The working man expects a little extra for his year of hard work and commitment; the children expect to be showered with gifts and are on their best behaviour; the merchants are on the lookout for boosts in business. The conmen work extra hard at the cons as they, too, are seeking a little extra. Even the tief dem tief little harder fi get a little extra fi give dem family.

Everyone is hoping for something extra, so they can provide extra for their families; however, it is not always joy for all, as many of our fellow countrymen are beset by hard times, and in this season of plenty, they remain bereft of the spoils thereof.

I admit that I have not been as generous as I ought to be, considering the relatively fortunate position that I am in, but I am working on it.


Cash or kind


One of the things that especially pains me is to see countless children on the streets and in the plazas loaded with items, which, no doubt, some adult has thrust upon them and sent them out to sell. I shudder to think of the possible consequences if they fail to meet their sales targets. Most times, I just give them enough to cover the cost of a sale or two without taking any of their goods. Everybody should get a little extra.

Then there are the con artists, plagued by hard luck, who do their best to earn your pity and your money. Give them credit: dem good to rahtid. Great storytellers, looking you in the eye and being straight-faced as ever, even when I start to laugh. Once, I gave one a smalls for creativity, she was that good: talent should be rewarded, even though she is a scoundrel.

This past weekend, I witnessed the absolute dissing of a sales rep by a most uncouth bredda, a cruff in all respects, in one of the major stores in the plazas. The string of @#$ that he let loose on her over a pants that could not fit his sorry ass was quite unwarranted, and I could see that she was about to fire back, and no doubt lose di little wuk. My intervention convinced her to cubba her mouth and tolerate the 'customer from hell'. She still works there, and I still feel good: that trumped any gift I bought for friend or family.

A little kindness for the not so fortunate and encouragement for those who need a little steerage is priceless. We may not have made their day leading up to Christmas, but the new year fast approaches. Channel some good Tides of Yule their way.

Send comments to