"Der's gonna be all de colors ob de rainbow!"
JRobert & Sir George Richards-Trinidadian Steel Drummer
Brothers in Arms!
01.02.99 Sailing With Sir George
"Watch close Mr. J, and see de Spirit ob our Ancestors…" George whispered over the bite of a Captain Morgan's on ice…while his shadow sat in the cockpit, pointing toward the column of bulbous cumulous fattys on the western Gulf of Mexico horizon. The clouds were being illuminated by a mid-winter Florida sun under an otherwise breathless 4 knot blue sky. As we anchored off Coconut Key, his familiar voice of 12 years acquaintance came drifting back to me, with continuing stories of early life on his home island of Trinidad…
"My grandfater was a master boat builder in de islands…and when he died his tools went to me fater. But times had changed and no one bought de wooden boats no more, so my fater, he went to work on de docks…"
"My fater had friends in de panyard, and dat's where I got me first set of steel drums…I built dem myself, all de time watching de hammers…dey been doin it for sometime now."
"It was quiet back den…none of dis rock'n'roll stuff! Just preddy liddle island tunes t' play and preddy liddle island girls t' lub…"
"…And when we'd set sail, it's eider nort or sout to de next islands. And all de time we feel de breeze, and watch de sun by day and stars by night to show us de way…"
"Mr. J, I know you just picken up sailin'…but don't you be scared a nuttin but de big blow! Den make for de harbor or de Mangroves & stay put! Stay put good!"
"Udderwise, it's easy! When you run aground, den you wait for the tide and kedge off… you feel de breeze & set de sail til you get it right. We make all de mistakes in de world til we get it right…den when we've learned all our lessons and passed all de tests, we graduate! We graduate as Captains ober into God's hands…'cause He's always de Captain!"
"Ya know Mr. J… when we all line up outside de Pearly Gates, Mr. St Peter will be waitin for us all to be gaddered… Den, he's gonna inbite all de singers, dancers, pan players ob all de Ages to step forward and sweep on through de gates, 'cause de Good Lord wants plenty of music jammin to pass tru eternity wid. Der's gonna be all de colors ob de rainbow! …yellow, red, black, & white…and all de sounds under Heaben! …drums and horns, harps and pans… and den,
"…And den Ol Mr. Saint Peter's gonna tunder real loud ober all de crowd what's left standin der waitin, 'Now, the rest ob you folks… prepare to be Judged!"