Wed | Sep 26, 2018

Vincent Reid and his saw

Published:Saturday | August 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Vincent Reid makes melody with his saw.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Anyone travelling through the busy town of Mandeville, heading off Manchester Road into the direction of Mandeville Plaza, will be graced with a very distinct sound that is quite possibly unique to the town.

It is not a special honking of car horns or the sounds of roadside DJs passing by. It is a man with a saw, but not just any saw - his own personal musical instrument.

Vincent Reid has secured his spot at the same location for more years than even he can remember, not just to solicit funds as some of his other visually impaired counterparts do, but to entertain passersby and give praise to the one who he said gave him the talent.

"I have been here for the longest time, but before I was all over Jamaica, all the 14 parishes, just name them and I tell you ... ," Reid told The Gleaner.

According to him, as a result of the high levels of crime in some of the parishes, he has made the decision to stay in Manchester.

But why use a saw? What is so special about it?

"This is a gift from the Almighty, He alone gave me this gift, from the '90's until now ... Before I became blind, I used to be a long-time traveller. I used to sleep in markets in the nights for about three nights or a one night, bounce it hard like a soldier, and in the days, I used to play until I feel like returning home," he reminisced.

Reid said that his vision started to deteriorate when he found out he had cataracts and though his vision had not yet completely left him, he said that he had to give up his work as a craftsman.

"I did an operation and I could see for a little bit, then it went again, came back for about 18 years, then it left completely. That's when I found out I had glaucoma, and you know there is no coming back from that. I used to wrap sofas and do all of that, but you know you need to drive to have those items transported, and I couldn't do all of that, so I just gave it up," he said.

Reid said that it was after that he discovered his talent and started working on it.

"This saw that I play, at the tip of it there is a bend, and it helps me to get different sounds and prevents my hand from getting tired. I can play 24 hours for the day without stopping unless I want to. Then the teeth of the saw, I have learnt to manipulate it so it can give me different sounds. You have to take your time. It's like when you driving a car, moving from first, second and third gear," said Reid.

Not even the heat of the summer sun can stop Reid from journeying from his home in Numprel in the parish to the town to do what he loves and what he now considers his nine- to- five job.

"This is my occupation, and I enjoy playing. Some people will call it entertainment, but I call it praising God with a saw, and people who see it fit will give a little contribution in my pan."

With his welcoming spirit and jovial personality, Reid has become very popular and well-respected by those who have taken the time out to get to know him.

rural@gleanerjm.com