A Nevispages.com Weekly Feature by Curtis Morton Sr
Cover Photo: Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams and the Rev Eunice Griffin
The way I see it, the seniors within our community, ought to be cherished, revered and honoured.
After all, in the main, they have made significant contributions to the welfare of our community and carry around a wealth of knowledge and experiences that would make any history book, wither in comparison.
Now, one of my favourite past times is SWIMMING. Oh, how I love the beach and oh, how I love to dive into the water, be it at Pinneys, Oualie beach or wherever. There is an exhilarating feeling that you feel, that no amount of money can compensate.
So, during the lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, I literally found out what it meant to feel ‘like a fish out of water,’ due to the fact that the beach was off limits and so when the restrictions were eased, that first morning, I probably lept into the water at Pinneys, at around 5.32 am. I was in seventh heaven.
Well I newa!
Since then, I have discovered that relatively few people on Nevis are taking advantage of our beautiful, sandy beaches. Most mornings, it’s just my family, PS Barrett and his Dad and about two other families, enjoying the beautiful early morning or late afternoon beach lime.
However, astonishingly, there is a giant of a lady, who is a regular, regal visitor to the beach at mornings. Her name is Eunice Griffin.
This powerful Christian woman, lives just a stone’s throw away from the beach and she makes the most of it. She sometimes has a few companions, but even if they don’t awaken in time, she will come alone.
A few mornings ago, I had an interesting encounter with Mother Griffin.
She came down the beach with her regal walk, looking as strong as ever. She saluted me and my wife and nephew as usual and proceeded to enquire if we had seen her beach mates.
We told her that we had not seen them for the morning. She said with some disappointment, that they had promised to meet her at the beach.
At the point when she arrived, we were getting ready to leave.
‘You all are leaving?’
There was pain and disappointment in her voice and she went on to explain that she was really looking forward to going into the water, but did not want to do so, alone. We readily consented to delay our departure and kept her company for some time, while she splashed happily in the water.
Looking at her, it was hard to believe that this amazing woman is over 90 years of age; stills cooks for herself; keeps a nice garden and PS Barret also told me that she probably still reads her bible, without the use of glasses and here am I, struggling to type these words, with the aid of reading glasses.
Well I newa!
She said something to us that morning which I want to share with you dear reader.
She stated that when her husband of many wonderful years of marriage, passed away, some of her family members, insisted that she should return to her original village of birth, in Harris’, Gingerland, where they promised to look after her well. Her response to that innocent offer is what I found instructive:
‘I told them that I want to stay here at Pinneys, because if I move back to Harris’, they gonna make me feel old! Here, I can get up and walk to the beach and later in the morning, if I feel like it, I can take a walk to Brand’s bakery and buy my bread…!
Let that sink in. This is a lady over the age of ninety talking!
It occurred to me there and then, that if ever God permits me to get much older, I want to have all of my basic faculties, alert and in place, as much as possible. I still want to be able to play some kind of cricket; swim; go for walks, cook for myself (if the wife is not around) and generally be able to look after my OWN SELF, in Jesus’ name!
I don’t want to exist here on this earth and be a burden to anyone, no matter how close they are to me and no matter how much they claim to love me.
But then again, I realize that I don’t have too many choices in the matter. It’s all left up to God’s will for my life, but that does not say that I cannot make my wishes known.
I checked my good friend GOOGLE for some information and I discovered that there are some conflicting theories as to exactly when, old age begins. Some experts say at 45; others say at 59 and the majority seem inclined to submit to ‘any age after 60.’
Well, am getting there fast, but am not panicking yet, cause God has allowed me to still feel mighty fine in the body that he loaned me, many years ago.
However, I have learnt the value of eating as healthily as possible; the blessings of hard work; adequate rest; sufficient sunshine; enough water; fresh air and significantly, TRUST IN GOD. I have also learnt the value of staying far away from such vices as the drinking of alcohol; smoking etc. Still, some persons will argue that no matter how we choose to live our lives, all of us will die.
Now, that may be true and it may not have truly mattered if we did not, in the final analysis, have to give God an account for the body that he LOANED us.
Now, the forecast on aging is not encouraging when the researchers indicate the following: ‘A deluge of diseases; sagging skin; the dulling of the senses; beset with creeping failures; menopausal changes in women; lack of virility in men; medical interventions and low expectations.’
However, GOOGLE also encouragingly, gave me some benefits of old age:
‘Fewer colds; Declining allergies; cleverer; fewer migraines; less sweaty; cleverer; much Clearer priorities; don’t care as much what others think; easier to manage emotions; headaches are fewer and further between; have higher sense of self-worth; learn from children and grandchildren.’
Samuel Taylor Coleridge penned this poem many years ago:
“Youth and Age.
When I was young?—Ah, woful When!
Ah! for the change ’twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along:—
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I lived in’t together …”
Calypso King of the world, the Mighty Sparrow, was cryptic in his commentary on the topic of aging:
“Age is just a number
Controlled by your state of mind
Maturity is always better
Especially if you feeling fine
Age is just a number-with experience on the incline
Wisdom is there to help you conquer
Any mountains you have to climb..”
No matter what your feelings are on the topic, when I look at Mother Griffin, I am encouraged. Here is a lady who has served her God and her community and still going strong at ninety plus.
It reminds me of Psalms 71:9: ‘Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.’
In 2017, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams handed a set of keys to Mother Griffin, to her newly refurbished home, compliments of the Ministry of Social Development and stated then: “She would have touched the lives of so many persons through ministry… We had an obligation to ensure that Mrs. Griffin lived the balance of her life in comfort…’
Mother Griffin in her eloquent response noted: “He will allow me to stay here until he ready to take me but it is God’s house. I promise whosoever comes in this house for encouragement, for special prayer and so forth, I’ve dedicated myself to do my best…”
A truly amazing woman and one we can seek to emulate.
May God help us as individuals, to seek to live healthy and productive lives, in accordance with his will, so that no matter at what age ‘we buss off,’ we would be able to give a good account for the bodies that he loaned to us.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?