The way I see it, I am a slow learner.

Yes, this might come as a shock to some of you but I am convinced that if there used to be Special Education units, in my days of growing up, I may well have ended there!

Let’s start with SWIMMING.

I grew up in the village of Fenton Hill which is a good distance from the sea and I listened in awe to the stories told by my cousin Lemuel and other boys from nearby villages about their exploits at Huggins Bay; Black bay and White Bay.

Those areas were areas that I longed to go. They sounded exciting. However, I grew up with very restrictive parents or maybe better out, CARING parents, who could not fathom us going off to the Bays with the other boys…and besides none of us could swim. We only got to go to any beach when our parents took us on the occasional beachnic, which was fun family time but I still never learnt to swim, because I was afraid to venture into the deep.

Fast forward: I was in my early twenties and I was with the Seventh day Adventist Sports club at Gallows bay one Sunday. I was not troubling anybody! However, I could not swim so I stayed a safe distance, close to shore, with my feet firmly planted.

Well known Nevis cricketer, Raffie Wallace, was spotted coming up the beach and because I knew that Raffie was famous for his sarcastic remarks, a mind told me to walk out further and when he was passing pretend like I was swimming.

So I did. Boy I threw my arms like an Olympic swimmer but my feet were firmly planted as I walked in the water.

Well I newa!

Raffie passed; said hello and just kept walking. I thought that was the end of the story, as I breathed a sigh of relief.

Later that afternoon, I went to the Park to watch a Cricket match. There were quite a number of spectators there. Lo and behold, as I passed in front of the pavilion, up jumps Raffie and telling the whole crowd how I was at Gallows Bay that morning and even the women and little children could swim ‘and da one day, can’t swim.’

My heart melted inside me and I wished the earth could open up and swallow me! I jumped the Park wall and tek head mek foot going home.

The next day I went to look for a friend of mine and begged him to teach me to swim. His nickname was JOB. He was a former wicketkeeper for the Nevis team.

Now, I so know that I am a slow learner that I knew I would not learn quickly in public. So he made an arrangement and every morning at 5 am I rode my motorbike to town and met him at Gallows, where he taught me to swim. He took his time and he really assisted me.

Several months later, I was at a beachnic at Oualie, when the same Raffie passed by. Whatever comment he made, I was quick to respond: “Well let’s see who can go out the furthest.”

Raffie’s response was: Me! Out day mek for fish!”

Well I newa!

The next incident was when I started to work at Social Security. At my previous job at the Public Health department, we wrote everything. All records were WRITTEN.

So going to Social Security where everything was computerized, was a culture shock.

Now the late Phinehas Griffin, who was there at the time, had the same problem but he was intent on not using ‘those contraptions’ and I decided to follow suit. The computer seemed so complex.

I remember my boss then, Vernel Powell making fun at me in staff meetings by saying ‘and you know one of us cannot even turn on the computer.’

Well after several months, I could not take the heckling anymore and I begged my coworker, Stevyn Bartlette to give me some private lessons. He did for many hours after work, drilling the information into my hard head and helping me along the way.

Then one day, the big moment came. As another coworker of mine, Reginald Bartlette walked up the stairs, he screamed out: “Everybody come quick. Curtis on the computer!” All of my co-workers came running to see this wonderful revelation.

That day I sent my first inter office email and now you can’t keep me off the computer. In case you did not realize, that is what I am using right now!

Well I newa!

So earlier this week, Fredericia at NTV volunteered to show me how to set up the teleprompter. I guess she was sorry for me and did not want me to be constantly bothering people all the time.

She told me some things like ‘you go there; then you press that; then you copy and paste and a whole lot of foreign language.’

I admitted to her afterwards that she reminded me of a day when I was in school and my dear friend, former Commissioner of Police, Joseph Liburd, told me that he would teach me how to play the game of DRAUGHTS and he told me: “Put dat man dere; put dat one dere –okay that’s a goat. Put that one dere; push dat one dere—okay that’s a HAG.’

I still don’t have a clue what he was talking about and maybe that is why I am still not excited about the game of DRAUGHTS.

So I had to tell ‘Freddie’ that one day when she has time, she has to show me in slow motion.

Well now you know, I hope that you will love me all the same.

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

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