Granny Knows BestPublished May 12, 2012
Granny Gheeta was a woman of many talents, however, her most famous talents included being dutiful Grandmother and Soothsayer.
Perhaps it was her reverence and devotion to God that gave her the ability to forecast the future, because when it came to advice, Granny always seemed to have tremendous foresight regarding people, places and circumstances.
Most of the times, her sentiments were conveyed in Jamaican phrases or proverbs. For instance, if any of her grandchildren encountered a disagreement with someone and it was absolutely uncalled for, Granny would remark, “You know, there is more to that argument than meets the eye, that person is probably frying somebody else’s fat.” Oftentimes, we would look at her in bewilderment, wondering what she meant. Our childlike minds would conjure up little people being fried up in a dutch pot for no good reason. Then, Granny would explain…”In other words the person you are having an argument with is probably inflating the situation because of another party.” Sometimes she was “spot on” regarding her assessment of the situation.
How many times have we experienced arguments with other people out of the blue, and when we analyze the circumstances we find out that the matter really had nothing to do with us in the first place? Then, there were the occasions when we as children would overreact when scolded and Granny would comment, “When you’re wrong, you can’t be strong.”
To a child who has been reprimanded, this remark seemed very patronizing but, in Granny’s old fashioned way, she was trying to tell us that when we are in error, to graciously accept defeat. She would go on to elaborate,”It takes a very “Big” person to admit they are sorry or wrong, besides, he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”
When it came to success and striving to get ahead, Granny Gheeta would comment, “Leave no stone unturned, remember, it is your raw meat you are looking after.”
Granny urged us, never to commit our futures in other peoples’ hands, to be proactive, and seek what is right for us. She felt that no one else would look out for us better than ourselves.”
Granny Gheeta’s views on life seemed a bit archaic, but her sayings and colloquialisms made sense. She lectured, “All things in moderation!” Most children growing up, love the act of playing. Being able to indulge in Child’s Play is one of the joys of being young. But, Granny Gheeta felt, that too much playing lead to mischievousness and truancy. So, she would often be heard saying, “Okay, it is time to read your school books or the bible, what sweet nanny goat, soon run him belly.”
We would look at Granny with mass confusion, exclaiming a big “Huh???”
In our minds we wondered what nannny goats had to do with playing. We soon found out, that the saying had nothing to do with goats, it was Granny’s way of telling us to straighten up our nickers and get cracking on our school work, or we would experience dire consequences.One fond memory I have of Granny’s antiquated sayings happened when I turned a teenager, I became stricken with a bad case of the giggles. I would laugh at the most peculiar times, incessantly. Even when nothing funny was actually happening. Granny agonized over my new found emotion, remarking, “Only cheshire cats grin all the time. Get a grip of yourself or folks are going to think you’re an idiot, skinning your teeth all the time.”
As Jamaicans, I am sure everyone is familiar with the phrase, “Laughing like wan cheshire cat.” The act of laughing from ear to ear or being overjoyed. In my situation, I went through my early teens with the cheshire cat syndrome which ired Granny Gheets at times.
However, like most childhood traits, we eventually outgrow them and move on to more positive characteristics. I must admit, there is some truth concerning Granny’s assessment of appearing overjoyed all the time. People tend to misconstrue your happiness as an indication that you are a simpleton, mad, an idiot or a class clown. They very rarely take an effervescent person seriously, unless they are blonde…..and even then, not so much....
Granny’s talents for soothsaying were like covert operations. She would revert to spy mode, except, she didn’t wear a cloak, and lurk in dark corners. She would whisper gently, “ Magli, I have something to tell you….Ssshh…I can’t say it loud , because, you know, bush have ears.”
By the time Granny finished her sentence, she had your full attention, and you were usually bursting with curiosity to find out what insights she had for your future. Granny would take her time, quietly unfolding her visions in a “hush-hush” manner because she felt that spirits, both good and bad, surrounded us. If they were bad spirits, they would cast negativity on the good tidings God had planned for us in our lives, therefore, it was prudent for us to be careful who we shared our personal hopes and dreams with. Granny often emphasized, a bad minded person will try to put the “kabosh” on the best laid plans.
As a scholar of the world, Granny always encouraged her grandchildren to travel, embrace new experiences , places and things. Sometimes as youngsters we are not always receptive to exploring or venturing outside of our comfort zones. Granny encouraged us to explore, because it was her belief that the air we experienced in other places, spiritually, rejuvenated our minds, bodies and souls. So whenever, we received invitations to anywhere, and felt ambivalent about it, Granny would coax by saying, “Go, and make some fresh breeze bless you and your spirit.”
Granny always knew best, because she was often right. Experiencing different places seemed to have magical qualities of refreshing our senses. She emphasized, that when our spirits get blessed, as spiritual beings, we often bless the places we visit with our essences and good wishes….
The positive vibes we emit circulates and blesses the Universe.
Today, the young generation rarely pay attention to the elder folks and their ancient beliefs, which is the greatest injustice they can do to themselves,
because some of their ideologies and advice are priceless!