Bamboo Police Youth Club honours centenarian
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
BAMBOO, St Ann:SHE STILL packs a sense of humour, not to mention being able to do household chores even at 104 years old.
On Sunday, the Bamboo Police Youth Club in St Ann followed up a project it started in December last year to assist Mable 'Miss May' Brown by hosting a birthday party for her on the occasion of her 104th birthday.
"I was born 1909, the third day of March. Today, I was giving mi mother worries," Miss May, as she is affectionately called, told The Gleaner, cracking up everyone in her room.
"So when yuh a drive yuh big vehicle an' pass up a road, yuh throw likkle something dung yah, fah mi cyaa work again," she added.
It was a happy occasion for members of the club who had decided last December to begin assisting elderly persons in the community.
"We took it on ourselves to start a charity programme for the elderly in the community, and our first was Miss May," explained club president Kimberly Harrison.
"We went around the community, got some sponsors, we spoke to our Member of Parliament Dayton Campbell, and we got some funds. We had persons from the club donating items, and we went and gave her house a facelift in December. As her birthday is today, we decided to have this party for her."
Vice-president Alvin Barnett said when the team visited Miss May in December, they realised the house needed painting and several sheets of plywood needed to be changed. All that was done, but there is more to do.
"The work is not yet done. The kitchen area is our next project. We really want to get it to a standard good enough that she can manage," Barnett said. "We want to concrete the flooring in the kitchen to make it easier for her to move around."
The club also donated a gas stove to Miss May in December, but she rarely uses it, if at all.
"She loves the wood fire, but we want to move her away from the wood fire because at her age, the wood fire isn't nice for her," Barnett explained.
But it appears it would take more than the heat from a wood fire to slow down the centenarian.
Asked what she wanted for her birthday, she told The Gleaner: "I don't want clothes. I want wha fi eat! Anything dem mind tell dem, anything mi get."
Then her face lit up as she seemed to figure out what she wanted: "Buy Ramen!" she exclaimed.
In the end, she would get a plaque marking her birthday, a cake, and several community members paying tribute to her in song, poetry, and prayer.
Miss May said she was born in Bamboo and later went to school in Claremont. She recalled happy times at Mount Waddy School, telling her captive audience that whenever the teacher wore white, it was "beating day", and children had to be on their best behaviour.
She added: "In our days, dem keep the school in the church, but dem change it from dat now and build a school - big school - same place inna di church yard so no pickney nuh mash up no church. Dem mus go mash up di school."
Miss May said she had a child who died before he could walk, but she raised several children, including her late husband's grandchildren.
One of them, Sharon Hutchinson, sat by her side on her bed as she spoke.
"She's OK apart from the pain," Hutchinson said of Miss May. 'She does everything for herself."
Miss May confirmed this.
"Mi feeling good, only some pain," she said. "I do any work around the house, every likkle ting. Mi clean, mi duh every likkle ting - praise God, fi miself. Mi cook, so long mi got it."
And with the help of the Bamboo Police Youth Club and many others who have been contributing, Miss May should have something to cook from now on.