The Way I See It – Tribute to Joseph “Mingo” Lawrence

A Nevispages weekly feature by Curtis Morton Sr

The way I see it, parents would normally name their boy children, JOSEPH, because of the exemplary lifestyle of the biblical character of the same name, in the hope that they will emulate his character traits.

To the best of my knowledge, all of the JOSEPHS that I know, are pretty ‘good boys’.  And so, last week, I featured Joseph Browne, bus driver par excellence, who passed away at age 68 and will be put to rest on Sunday, March  22, 2020.

Today, I remember, another outstanding Nevisian JOSEPH, who passed away suddenly, recently, at age 67 and will be put to rest early next week, Joseph Lawrence.  I knew him as MINGO.

I always respected his quiet way of living. Always sitting quietly somewhere, when he was not hard at work.  Always with a polite wave of the hand and a ready smile.  He seemed to be something of a loner.  Maybe he had lots of friends and maybe he was more talkative in his own circle, but in public, he seemed ready to ‘stay in his own lane.’

I knew him as a GRAVE DIGGER. A job that many Primary and High school graduates will not be excited about.

Again, I am disappointed that he probably never received an independence award for his longevity of service in the cemetery.  People like MINGO deserve all of the accolades.  Remember, these are jobs that many persons do not gravitate to and my understanding is that he was in this thing from when he was in his teens.

Well I newa!

All the time I knew the man, I always thought that he was a born and bred-proud BROWNHILLIAN.  It is only after he passed, that my former boss, Vernel Powell, advised me that he was originally from Cotton Ground, but moved to Brown Hill as a little boy.

He worked his way to be the guy in charge of the other guys at the cemetery. He also ensured that there were improvements in the work conditions. A storeroom and toilet facilities were fairly recent additions.

I realized in recent times that he had slowed up badly and was more acting in a supervisory capacity-well deserved, although he was obviously not as well as in former years.

Just as quiet and unassuming as he was, I understand that it is just the same way he passed away.  I am told that a relative went to pick him up at his home, to take him to the hospital for his medication and MINGO told the individual to hold on, while he got dressed.

In the process of getting dressed MINGO collapsed and gave his final breath.  Cool, so!

The Brown Hill Community Improvement Club, took the lead in honouring the man, when they gave him the prestigious role as patron at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Brown Hill, in 2014. MINGO was one happy and proud trooper!

MINGO has played his role well. He brought a sense of dignity and class to a lowly rated job.

The biblical Joseph was thrown into a pit.  MINGO will have temporary respite in one grave that will not be dug by his own hands until our Lord and Saviour gives the green light for him to rise to eternal glory.  He is gone but his memory will be forever treasured by those who loved and respected him and his work ethics.  There is an example we can take from another Joseph.

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?


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