For the Fiftieth

Just woke up.Let me backtrack. These holidays are my fiftieth: my fiftieth Christmas, my fiftieth new year's day celebrations. Not that I have much memory of the first of either (I have photographs of both, and a very fleeting series of memories of the former, which I know I spent in Delancy Street in the upstairs apartment that now belongs to my friend Leria McKenzie, and which involves the receipt of what was then a gigantic stuffed panda bear), but the numbers won't let me lie. They are my fiftieth.Christmas 1963, Delancy Street, NassauJust so people don't get confused: I was born in March 1963, which means that the Christmas season of 1963-4 was my first. Next spring I will be fifty, ten years and four months older than our nation. This, I realize, makes me an "elder" these days. I was on Clifford Park with numerous other Bahamians at midnight on July 10, 1973, which makes me part of the independence generation, part of that group who bears responsibility for building, or not building, this nation.This is a long way of saying that this New Year's Day I will be rushing, not reporting, judging, administering or studying Junkanoo. Let me be clear. I will be rushing hardcore scrap, as I have always done. This year, for the second or third time in my life, I will be rushing in newspaper. I have been told, though I do not agree, that to rush scrap is "disrespectful" to "real" groups. It's New Year's Day, however, and this is a parade that I regard as scrap's parade, that I regard as having been hijacked from ordinary people's participation for the love of Junkanoo and of music by the big groups (don't worry, I'm not going to fight about it). I am not rushing to be pretty; I hope at some point in the parade to sound good. And not, by the way, to expire before I make it back to where we started from.So happy new year all. This year will bring changes. New years always do. I wish blessings on all my friends, allies, colleagues and sparring partner. Have a good one.