Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
"Is me you looking for." So said the dreadlocked man on bicycle as the team from The Gleaner stopped to ask him the way to Olympic bronze medal winner, Hansle Parchment's home yesterday. Little did we know we were speaking to Hensle Parchment Sr (the slight difference in the spelling of their names is due to an error at the time of registration).
He instructed us to drive down the road till we saw two containers; he'd await us there. He then took the shortcut through a narrow track and disappeared.
At the end of the journey, flag waving relatives and friends of Jamaica's newest hurdle sensation jumped and pranced in jubilation. And in their midst, the elder Parchment stood.
"We celebrating from last night. Cashew Bush to the world," the small crowd shouted. A group of men playing dominoes nearby also added to the happy shouts. Joy and pride oozed from every fibre of the senior Parchment's being. And rightly so.
He has been an active participant in his son's life to date so he was not merely rejoicing because of the victory, everyone shouted. Everyone present agreed.
"He did everything half and half with Hansle's mother," one woman said.
Parchment agreed. "I have done what I can up to now, I talk to him yesterday (Wednesday) and told him, "make sure you bring something home". The proud father and furniture maker said he had to run to a neighbour's house to catch the historic race as his TV set began to give trouble.
His son had also promised him that he would lower Dwight Thomas' 13.15 record and he did.
He became pensive as he recalled when, about age 12, Hansle told him, "Dad, one day you going to see me on TV". Not to be left out, the Olympian's stepmother, Andene Taylor, said she too had spoken to Parchment and when she told him to bring home a medal, he said, "That is what I am here for."
Motorcade in the town
As he took one of the many congratulatory phone calls that had interrupted the interview, Parchment Sr told The Gleaner he had been getting them from even well-wishers he did not know as well as Member of Parliament Fenton Ferguson, family and friends from overseas. The proud parents said when their hero returns to the island, there will be a motorcade in the town, non-stop partying and even a carnival to celebrate. The entire community is still on a high, with even women admitting they partied so much on Wednesday night, they were still a tad drunk yesterday.
Asked what they thought about the bronze medal, the crowd shouted, "Hansle bronze is Cashew Bush gold!'