MARKET DAY BY LATISHA WALKER JACOBS

Sitting up and chatting the night before, my twin and I couldn’t wait for morning; we were too excited about going to the market with Mama.

As dawn broke, we were ready for market day.  Mama called each neighbour as we walked from the house down Baldwin Street saying, “Good morning, wa a do?”  We called, Ms. Spence; Ms.  Gladis;  Ms. Nancy and Ms. Jane;  Ms. Peters and Ms. Angela, too, saying, “Good morning, wa a do?”

Mama talked with each neighbour for what seemed like forever and we thought she would never take us to the market.

Finally, we passed Ryan’s Plumbing, chatting, giggling happily and whispering to ourselves,” Mama can chat see!”  The walk was brief and Market Street soon appeared. The farmers and vendors were sitting on the pavement and parked along the side walk selling their goods.

Mama said, “Look Uncle Kenneth by the big Iron Gate.”  The Iron Gate was like a merry go round. Instantly we started playing, round- and- round we go until Mama called us.  Uncle Kenneth had a little white jeep stacked neatly with vegetables piled sky high with pawpaw, carrots, cabbage, butternuts and sweet potatoes with a big red scale nearby.   We moved closer to the jeep, and could see his wide grin; smiling, we hoped he had some goodies for us.

As we walked through the market we saw many colours, shades of green and yellow, blue, orange, red, brown and grey, piles and Old Road, while collecting her weekly supply of sweet potatoes. Mama said “Aunt Missy, them two yah for Margaret,” and she instantly came to inspect us.  “Eh, eh, look how them big no!  come tek some mango fu eat,” she said.

submission by S A Dixon to the visual arts category of the Wadadli Pen 2011 Challenge.

Our eyes were bright as she gave us two handfuls of kidney mangos and we couldn’t wait to eat them.

Mama then took us to buy cassie, okras, spinach, yams, and green figs; she got us stinking toes, custard apples and two heaps of cherries. We crossed the street to the fish market and Mama showed us snappers, sting rays, sharks, doctor fish, and baskets of crabs and lobsters. The crabs were crawling in the basket and although Mama made sure to tell to tell us not to touch them, we moved our hands closer and Mama was just in time to pull us back before we pushed our wiggling fingers in. We both laughed.

Mama left us with Uncle Kenneth, to finish her shopping. We watched as he sold provisions placing each rusty weight on the big red scale. One customer asked for two pounds of carrots, and uncle placed them on the scale saying; “Me go throw on two mo fu you, arh right.”   We stayed with Uncle Kenneth until noon and he took us for snacks by Mama Tiny, she sold by Cammy’s clothing store.

Her big shiny silver pot was steaming with hot rice pudding, head skin and maw. We got tamarind balls and coconut snow cones topped with sweet milk from the corner shop. With food in hand, we skipped to a nearby block to sit and eat, yummy!

Mama soon returned and Uncle Kenneth helped put the big brown paper bag on her head, like a crown it fit perfectly.  We waved
goodbye to Uncle Kenneth and as we walked home across East Street we talked about all the things we saw on our visit to market.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Market Day, awarded third place in the 18 to 35 age category of the 2011 Wadadli Pen Challenge, was written by Latisha Jacobs. Jacobs, who spent most of her childhood in Ottos New Town living in an extended family, says she loves to write poetry and is very
passionate about literature.  She aspires to publish her poetry series Mouth Open Tory Jump Out.  She is an employee of the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority.

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