He sat silently in the dark with his legs crossed and his thoughts a million miles away. His cigarette smoke did a solo until in joined the rest in the cloud slightly above him. His ambience of choice. The light from the afternoon sun coming through a small window was my guide. He asked me to do something for him, but I was too busy being a child in the midst of playing, so I promised him when I came back. He took the old rag that lay lifeless on his shoulder and wiped the summer sweat off of his forehead and said: a promise is a comfort to a fool. I stopped and turned to him, he always had a way with words, and now he had my full attention. The amber glow of his comfort stick seemed to create a sideway smile as he took another pull. It knew I was going to stay a little longer, too. Then wrapped in his Jamaican accent his explanation of the proverb began to unfold.
“Never you trust a promise, is not everybody keep dem word, memba me tell yuh.” He took another drag and the amber smile moved closer to him as if wanting to hear more. “And don’t you bother waste people time. Mek sure you mean it…Some people will tell you anyting and nuh do ah dayum ting, you understand?” Oh, OK…I better remember to come back! “Yes, grandfadda.”
Years later, after grandfadda died and life served lemons of empty promises and disappointments, his words rang true. When Sean Paul echoed it, I didn’t hear the reggae artist, I heard grandfadda’s reminder. Things happen—but just try han mek sure yuh promise dem stick like glue. Seen?!
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