Some Colorful Characters
by Austin Mitchell
When I was growing up there were quite a few colorful characters. There were men who could drink white rum all night and showed no ill effects the next day. There was one character called Dr. Levy. He was an elderly gentleman who would walk around selling things like camphor balls and other medicinal items. I heard that he had grown children who were all in big jobs. They tried to get him to stop but he refused. The boys and even some grown men would call him' Mango Belly' and he would rip some bad words at them. This was because of his love for mangoes.
The late Dr. Cardo was another such character. Whenever a local government election was on Dr. Cardo somehow managed to get his name on the ballot. I don't think he got fifty votes in any of these elections Incidentally neither man was a medical doctor but knew how to make herbal medicine.
We shall call him Alden. Alden was at the library every day. On day he was reading the daily papers from 9.00 am, a guy checked him to borrow it at 12.00 am, but he told him that he wasn't finished reading it. At 3.00 pm the same guy came and grabbed the paper away from him. Incidentally that was how Alden operated he would spend the whole day reading the newspapers. Alden told us that he got an E in his examinations but turned it into a B and got accepted into university.
We shall call him Lattie. He was a tall man of Indian descent, who always complained that because of his complexion he should be a bank manager. Sadly those times had passed. I first met Lattie at the library. He would buy all the morning papers and read them. My first impression was that he was an insurance salesman but to my astonishment he was unemployed. He told me that his passion for reading newspapers was due to the fact that he only learned to read when he was fifteen years of age. He had a voice like thunder and we had to be urging him to tone down his voice most times. He could hardly keep a secret. Once a mutual friend owed me some money and was using delaying tactics in repaying me. I told Lattie about it and the next day the friend could repeat word for word what I had told Lattie.
We shall call him Wedge. He was another man who was a fixture at the library most days. Wedge changed his name because he said that at least two notorious murderers had the same name. Wedge was lucky as a young lady fell in love with him and they got married. The young lady was an American citizen. As soon as she was back she started filing immigration papers for him. I don't remember how long the process took. A few years later after Wedge got his citizenship he started complaining about the size of his wife as if she wasn't fat when he met her. They eventually separated. A couple of years later, he was back in Jamaica. He was stone broke, me and several other friends had to be giving him money. He was in the process of suing his partners in a nursing school, who he claimed had tricked him out of thousands of dollars. Wedge claimed that he only needed to pass a few more papers before becoming a fully qualified herbalist. He left Jamaica quite suddenly. A mutual friend called to say that he contacted Wedge. Wedge said he didn't know him and threatened to go to the police. The friend found it strange as he knew Wedge for more than twenty years.
Austin's blog: stredwick.blogspot.com