Features — 11 May 2019
Please, you don’t like Freddy?

A family member, my younger sister, bought me one of those modern phones that can do a whole lot of things, and while I find that it’s too daam bulky, I have to appreciate the things it can do that my old one couldn’t, I mean the things, those features it has, that aren’t too technically tedious for a man who is absolutely not fascinated with the trappings of the modern world.

Personally, you can keep planes, organ transplants (I guess I appreciate that for how it helps lots of people, but I don’t like knives), powerful outboard engines (I like sails), electricity (I adore the smell of kerosene lamps (I’d get by with getting electric juice at a community shop, to do my work) (the only thing electricity is really needed for is to get beer cold)), selfies (I don’t look good enough for that anyway) — you get my world.

My sister’s excuse for purchasing the fancy gadget for me is that she wants to bring me into family conversations with my other siblings, especially the ones (four of us) who grew up in Belmopan. Ah, Belmopan¯ I saw a Facebook post this week from Abdul Lotiff, an old Compre colega, with pictures of some of the teachers at the school when it was young, and while I’m not into nostalgia, too much, those pics brought back some wonderful memories. My, Jenny Dunn in her prime! I hope there’s a classroom at Compre that carries her name.

The first Compre was led by a quality lady, Sister Sarita, and her staff was quality through and through. I might not have been, no, let me put it right, I was not the most enthusiastic student, but I never had a problem with any of them. Jenny Dunn was a no-nonsense person, but she had absolutely no cruelty in her. She could put on a real stern face when she was putting you down for your transgressions, disappointing grades, but you would have to have been blind not to see it was a façade, because her eyes could never stop smiling.

Ah, Abdul Lotiff – I think he might have forwarded the pics, I mean that the pics were taken by someone else. I say that because he might not be the owner of the credits. What I want to say about Abdul is that he was going to be some All Belize football player! Briefly, from the day Compre opened its doors in September 1970, more than half of the students came from the villages around Belmopan.

Compre had two great athletic talents living in Belmopan, Randolph “Drops” Bermudez and Dennis Johnson, but they preferred basketball to football. I don’t know about now, but back then Compre had a great basketball team. We sometimes had a great football team too. When the boys from the villages – Bernard Lemmoth (Ontario), Michael Hulse (Roaring Creek), Jonathan Garbutt (Teakettle), and a few others came in to complement the Belmopan boys (the aforementioned basketball lovers), and Ariel Aguilar, Alvan Foreman, and others, we had a dynamite team.

One year I came from the long holidays at Spanish Cay to meet an invitation from St. Michael’s College, which had just been crowned the champions of high school football in Belize City. Alger “Blaka” Bradley was the leader of St. Michael’s and he was a regular in Belmopan on the weekends because his dad had a major business there, so it was natural for him to look west, to conquer.

I “ran” Compre sports, and the challenge was “dutifully” handed to me by one of our teachers. Flat out, we weren’t ready to play. But to ball per, there is no such thing as noh ready to chase ball. One week after school opened we met at what is now called, Isidoro Beaton Stadium.  Belmopan boys preferred basketball. The boys from the villages didn’t come. I was in fisherman shape. All we had was Abdul. Abdul was from Santa Elena, but he didn’t go home that weekend. I believe Tony Wagner, the great All Belize portero, is his cousin, and it’s at Tony’s house that he stayed in Belmopan.

Anyway, that’s how come he was in Compre’s line up that day. If he wasn’t there we could have been killed. That youth ran, and ran, and ran, and we held on.

Midway through the second half St. Michael’s College overplayed and I picked up the pieces in front of the sweeper and pushed the ball through to Adbul on the left side, at about the midfield line, and he ran, and ran, and I, I chugged through the middle to receive the pelota when he sent it through, and we were up one to nil. I should end this story here. It is not a happy ending.

Look, I always take the blame. We didn’t have all our talent. I was only in fisherman shape. I was spitting froth before the first half ended. We hung on. We knew the long whistle was due and I got the ball at the top of the box and ran to the right flank and dumped it out of play over the touchline. Oy, I didn’t kick the pelota far enough. One of their players grabbed the ball and threw it in. I was out of position. I couldn’t get back in time. One to one.

I said I “ran” Compre sports. Blaka and his teammates asked for us to go into overtime. The ball per, tongue hanging out, froth at the corners of his mouth, said yes. No, I don’t remember asking any of my teammates their opinion. It is a fact that a draw for us that day was a victory. But absolutely no game should end in a tie. Yes, I should have demanded penalties.

They won, 2-1. All of us deserve a chance at redemption. It never came. A couple months after that game, the career of Compre’s great All-Belize hope ended in a very bad accident. He was standing somewhere and a truck ran over both his legs. A great football player is a prize. Abdul Lotiff had all the tools to make a great one.

Okay, now we can talk about Freddy. I told you about this new phone I got, regalar, and all it can do, one of which is play music. Oh, hurray, I now have access to the Krem App too! But back to the music. Now, thanks to my new phone I can listen to what I want to listen to, when I want to listen to it, and I won’t disturb any of my nayba. I grew up by Rick’s Bar (upstairs) and Club (downstairs) and they both played loud music, different genres at the same time. I guess they made me eclectic. The borachos downstairs loved up tempo, and the borachos upstairs loved to cry. When I’m with my friends and family, I’m good with downstairs, and when I’m alone, lock me upstairs and close the door.

Ah Freddy – yes, I’m alone, me and my lee drink, And it’s crying time again, you’re going to leave me; I can see that faraway look in your eye, I can tell, by the way you hold me, darling, That it won’t be long before it’s, crying time. By the way, I ran all that without going to Google. Know that one by heart.

This modern phone thing, it’s all music with video. I guess that’s the modern way of listening to music. You can ignore the video and let the phone machine be your selecta, but I have no complaints about choosing my own – I want to choose my own Freddies. This is how I come to notice that this phone music has a Facebook feature, where people can show their appreciation for the great songster and his band for their wonderful music.

You can show your displeasure too, and I couldn’t believe the amount of dislikes I saw for some of these Freddy Fender songs. The numbers were negligible compared to the number of likes he got, but 528 and a thousand and odd is just flat out crazy, even if we’re seven billion people. What, you don’t like Freddy? Really, and why not just change the music instead of being so ugly?

What kind of sickos are in this world, how can you not like Freddy? I think maybe it might be a machine error, so I punch this Freddy, and that Freddy, and these philistines who don’t like are still about. You know me —  I told you I’m sharp as a tack when I’m drinking and nowhere near drunk. I think you are sharp too, so I know you’ll be on page when I tell you I said, okay, let’s expose your blank, let’s see who the blank you really are, and punch in, “I love my Rancho Grande”:

Allá en el rancho grande, allá donde vivía, había una rancherita, que alegre me decía; que alegre me decía: Te voy a hacer tus calzones, Como los que usa el ranchero, Te los comienzo de lana, Te los acabo de quero… (I had to Google to get all the words right for that one).

Well, well, well, I now also got the hair off the horsetail in my hand. Only 28 dislikes for Rancho Grande! You see the trouble here; it’s the melancholia, pain they can’t handle. Rancho Grande is for downstairs borachos, the ones into the up tempo. Take them upstairs and I bet they’d want to jump off the verandah, into the river. I say, there are people in this world who need help, people we should feel sorry for, not angry with. I think we should pray for people who can’t handle lonesome.

Yes, I concluded that these people who punch in the not likes for Freddy are experiencing great pain, and in this case they are female. The female conclusion is very simple. An up-tempo man wouldn’t dare punch in a “not like” for Freddy. He’d just get the hell downstairs.

This story ends on a happy note. It is absolutely terrible when we guys can’t get over it. It seems that when the other side can’t, they get out their pain by punching in dislikes. Thank God that Freddy’s life was safe from angry women. Women are very rarely killers. Freddy died from cancer, not a bullet in his heart from one of them.

Aha, I am safe too, safe to go back to my music without being disturbed by all these distasteful dislikes for one of my favorites.

Wasted days and wasted nights, I have left for you behind; For you don’t belong to me, Your heart belongs to someone else Why should I keep loving you, When I know that you’re not true?

And why should I call your name, When you’re to blame, For making me blue.

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Deshawn Swasey

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