Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
A couple weeks ago (the week before Hurricane Sandy, actually), Yele and I were at home for most of Sunday and Monday. The ladies of the turf were all out and it was just us boys in the roost.
So what did we do? Computer - check. Internet connection - check. Full movies on YouTube - check. We turned on the flicks, of course. Oh, with the flicks comes the juice - Similac with wheat and honey baby cereal for him, water and soy milk with oats and raisins for me.
And off we went for our very first boys' hang-out in front of the screen together.
I must confess upfront that our choice of movie fare was not … shall we say 'U' rated stuff. And I say 'our' choice because it was not solely I, the big Daddy, who was selecting the fare. By his reaction - blah to some cartoonish stuff and bouncy, bright-eyed glee to others - the 19-month-old kid with the little plaits had serious input in our movie marathon.
So we settled on Charles Bronson. Yeah, original toughie with an acting style that combines a distinct lack of expression with deadpan quips (hmmm … a shorter, non-bodybuilder version of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I guess, but good old Arnie went on to become governor). Alright, I can almost hear the hollering of, "How could you let your baby watch Charles Bronson?" from some quarters. Okay, it was not a stellar piece of parenting, but man, did we enjoy it.
There were about three Bronson movies on a trot - Cold Sweat and a couple instalments in the Death Wish series. We sat at the dining table - Yele on my right leg at some points and in his own chair at others - knocked back our juices and gobbled up the audio-visual feast of mindless mayhem.
But that was not all. On the Monday night, the television served up The Mask of Zorro and we were at it again. His reaction to the swashbuckling Zorro was markedly different, though. While Bronson got his generally silent attention, Yele was very noticeably bouncy for Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins' sword-flashing shenanigans.
So everybody eventually hit the sack and that, I thought, was that. Except that the next morning Yele had one of W's foot-care thingys and was trudging around with it, making some suspiciously sword-like movements. Yup, Yele was flicking the wrist (well, more the arm) and grinning with memories of Zorro.
Well, I know who won't be watching Superman. No 'I believe I can fly' round here, way up in the hills.
Still, Yele and I did not start out our screen time with Charlie the Cold and Anthony the Cool. Nah man, we started out with real Jamaican fare from he was a few weeks old, watching Jimmy Cliff live at Glastonbury in England, singing Many Rivers to Cross. These days we have moved up from clips to full concerts, checking out Sizzla live in Miami from 2005 and Bob Marley at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in 1979 (same YouTube). He has been enjoying it immensely and I trust that this early education in Jamaican popular music will have the desired effect - just as it did on his sisters, for whom I was playing Burning Spear's Calling Rastafari and Live from London in 1977 albums long before they could creep.
With Sandy, Yele has been through his first hurricane. The wind huffed and howled, pieces of pine trees near the house fell on the roof, and the rain made its way in through window cracks, but nary the slightest fear did Yele show (although, trust me, we who knew what could happen had some anxious moments). I wonder when the definitive storm of his life shall come - you know, there is the Hurricane Charlie generation, the Gilbert generation, those who remember Ivan and now, for the real youngsters, especially in the eastern side of the island, the Sandy generation.
Something did catch him, though. There I was in the kitchen and heard a strange but steady clumping. Around the corner comes Yele with one heel firmly attached to a glue trap. After the laughter, some tugging and wet wipes took care of that.
What a big catch for the trap!