The world turned upside down

I spent several enjoyable hours reflecting on my father’s life while I was writing Remembrances for his funeral, and I managed to put together a piece that was part chronological, part about characteristics. Not surprisingly, at this time of year, when we tend to reflect, at least on the year past, I’ve kept reflecting on my father.

Funnily, I did that every morning beforehand, because I do about 10 minutes of yoga/stretching. My father was never an athlete, yet after his return to Jamaica in the mid-1980s he got into an active regime that involved him gardening/farming, but also walking a lot, mainly across the Manchester Golf Course, but also into the centre of Mandeville for aerobics and yoga classes. As I was arching my back, my teenage daughter walked in–early for her. In mid-stretch, I asked her if she could recall seeing her grandfather do headstands; she said no. I remember seeing him do them for the first time and being astonished with the ease of his movement. He suggested I try the pose. Well, I was never great at gymnastics, so was wary as I tried to flip myself up and over and get my legs to touch the wall, which was for guidance and support, as a beginner. After a few failed attempts, I was inverted. Then, he told me to stay there for a few minutes. What? He then told me to close my eyes and breathe gently. I’d be lying if I said I felt comfortable, but gradually I lost my sense of disorientation and relaxed. Daddy, then told me to come down slowly. I did and got into a conversation with him about the benefits of yoga.

I would never describe my father as a health nut, but during his retirement he focused more on his health and diet. He was a diabetic and decided to deal with that by controlling what he ate, a challenge for a man who loved to eat and to cook his favourite Jamaican dishes. Cooking on an open fire was one of his skills, and like many rural Jamaicans, could regulate heat without a thermometer.

Of the many changes I noticed during his time back in Jamaica was how he ate heartily but became trimmer-looking. Life in Jamaica is sweet, people often say, but that’s often reflected in a swelling waistline; I can attest.

My paternal grandmother and my parents taught me how to cook, but I can barely hold a candle to any of them. My gran could bake like a wizard, and would ply me almost daily with desserts she made, when she came to live with us in London: “Dem dont feed yu a school? Look how yu mawga!” she often said. 🙂 My mother taught me how to cook chicken, and I managed to get her to tell me recipes that I wrote in a book, so they can be added to heirlooms. But, my father was the king of seasoning food. I’d marvel at how he’d start seasoning a joint two days before roasting it, and his pot-roast pork makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Despite all that, I can’t cook many Jamaican dishes, though my fried chicken is mean as is my take on fried dumplings and saltfish.

My Bahamian in-laws demand I cook this every visit. 👍🏾🇯🇲

So, bear with me if I get emotional sometimes over a meal; it’s probably full of great memories. I remember watching a documentary a couple of years ago about how some Asian cultures revere the memories of ancestors through meals, and there’s interesting research on links between food and memories.

So, in death there’s always meaning to life.

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)

One thought on “The world turned upside down”

Comments are closed.

Adventures from Elle

Your Guide to Jamaica & Beyond

Filosofa's Word

Cogito Ergo Sum


The blogging challenge keep you motivated and start the new year on the "write" track!

LBHF Libraries and Archives

"More than a library..."

Pointless Overthinking

Understanding ourselves and the world we live in.


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

The Accidental Ringer

thoughts from a novice ringer

Lluís Bussé

Barcelona's Multiverse | Art | Culture | Science


Who says Golf is everything?


My adventures as Founder, Director & Educator at Fundaciones Limited


International School of Riga - Director


Mindspace, unleashing a few truths, but mostly concerned with life and the way I see it.


Caribbean Woman, Paediatric Surgeon, Lover of Life

Albert Darnell Anderson

Just read, it'll inspire you!

"write pon di riddim"

multimodal site born to a decolonial feminist / cultural analyst / and dub doctor, Ph.D.

The Terrible Tout's Weblog

Just another weblog

CCRP Jamaica

Life to the Fullest!

%d bloggers like this: