Tuesday 1 December, 2020

10 Things Bajan grandmothers say and do

There are some things that only 'old' grandmothers in Barbados say and do.

If you are lucky to still have your grandmother alive and with you, you may still see her doing some of these things.

To those who are without their nana, read this list and reminisce.

These are 10 things old grand grands did, not so much the new-age grandmums.

1) Rub you down

As soon as you "catch a cold" or got a cough, out would come the Vicks vapour rub and your chest and back will be coated and shiny. Get an old shirt to sleep in for sure. You may have even had a granny who would also rub your feet and make you wear socks. And if you had a chest cold spcifically, it's a rub down and then put you at the table with some Vicks or menthol crystal in a bowl of hot water to inhale while under a towel. "This would get dat cold off yuh chest!"

2) Call you in out the rain

“Come inside ‘fore you ketch cold”. If you sneeze three times, “Yuh ketching a fresh cold”. Grandmothers do not want to hear your Biology lecture about how the cold is a virus and you don’t catch it from rain. 

3) Put a matchstick in baby’s hair (see the photo above)

If the baby has hiccups, expect a matchstick to magically appear in the curls to the top of the baby’s head. This will stop the hiccups. Don’t ask. Let grand do her thing.

4) Keep money “close”

Forget a bank, if you went to granny and said, “Grand, I want money to buy a snack please!” She’d nicely tuck her hand under her bra strap and pull a purse, kerchief or money bag with coins out and give you the “few coppers” to get your treat. 

5) Whip out Alcolado Glacial

If you have a headache, feeling dizzy or got ‘dark eyes’, all of a sudden you will see a green liquid splashed in her palm and quickly it will be clapped on your forehead, cheeks, neck and then she would hold her hand by your nose and say, “Smell!” Don't worry, next up is a cup of hot tea, namely ginger or peppermint to "brek de air".

6) Cook every day

“Fridge food? No please.” If you want to make an old-time grand grand skin up her face, tell her to put yesterday’s food in the microwave to eat today. The neighbours will stand and hear her hollering at you “My gas ain out hear! My stove does work!” The most you may get is for her to fry up leftovers in the frying pan with butter for you, but not for her. Fresh food only.

7) Command respect

As people passed grandmothers sitting in their verandas, they would speak “Good morning/afternoon/evening/night” and if a group of fellas were walking by and they were cussing, they’d say “Sorry sorry gran, we ain’t see you there, sorry.”

8) Keep young people ‘out’ adult business

Imagine Miss Inez comes and shouts gran and gran says, “Inez, you wouldn’t believe it if I tell you! Today Ms, am who she name. Man wait. Lil girl, lil girl!” Out comes her granddaughter, “Yes please.”

Gran: Who de woman name from today?

Lil girl: Ms. Jones.

Gran: Right, Ms Jones call de police for Johnson and…

Lil girl: No gran, she call de police for Rufus and Johnson fly in.

Gran: Right, and Johnson jump in an de police had to hol’ he back.

Lil girl: No gran, de police hold…

Gran: Lil girl, why you don’t see big people talking and take your place. Go and sit down!

9) Save you from lashes

Granny would tell the world you are hard ears but as soon as your mother comes to give you some smacks, gran would come to your rescue, “Don’t hit de child. Leff she. Uh feel fuh she.” Yesssss God. Thank you gran.

10) Name every bush and its purpose

When it was time for home remedies, the cerasee (sir-see) bush was dreaded because it was bitter and then there were oil leaves for arthritis to wrap your knees, etc.

What else did your granny do? Comment and tell us!


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