Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CARIBBEAN TRADITIONS: Ring Games (Small Days)

CARIBBEAN TRADITIONS:Ring Games (Small Days)
                                                               copyright 2014 K. Omodele




"Now when I was a little boy my favorite ring game was this...winey, winey/winey, winey..." /
~Peeny Peeny by Shabba Ranking
As a youth in primary school* I had a rough time concentrating on defending my wicket, or bending a cross from the corner, whenever the girls formed a circle in the school compound and started chanting and, ahhhm, dancing. I can't count the amount of wickets we boys left stranded, or footballs rolling lonely on a sudden-emptied field, as we rushed to join the girls in the ring. Full of mannishness, we sang               
                                                  There's a brown girl in the ring, tra-la-la-la-la....
Whether she black or brown or surnamed Singh never mattered to me. The girl in the ring would prance 'round the circle of boys and girls while eyeing up a partner. Whenever we got to the part
                                                         ...'cause she like sugar and I like plum...
she'd stop her 'lil false-shy self in front of whosoever she liked and pose up with her hands on her hips. Then, as we sang
                                                    Now, let me see your motion, Tra-la-la-la-la
                                                        Show me your motion, tra-la-la-la-la-la...
she'd buss a wine.** Bare Precociousness. Listen, nuh man! I was a force-ripe pickney*** myself; so, I had no problem wining back. Worse yet if it was Miss-what-she-name, or Miss-you-know-who.
My favorite ring game went like this
Gypsy in the moonlight, Gypsy in the zoo/ Gypsy never come home till half-past two/So walk in Gypsy walk in, walk in thru my door/And turn to your partner and show them what you do...
By the time we got to this part, Miss Gypsy in the ring would done find a partner and with that last command, she would show how she could get on bad; indeed, rolling she hips and singing in response
                                          I do not love no-bo-dy/ Nobody love me too...
When you check it out in truth, future dancehall queens learned to bubble right there in them ring games. Notice ladies! In protecting the not-so-innocent and bare precocious, I never called no names. I just fling stone in a pen. Whichever goat bawl out, is she get lick.
        Small days, still on my mind....

 
* Primary school is grade one to six (elementary school in the US)
**wine- also, wind. As in winding the hips and waistline
***force-ripe pickney is a child who acts "fresh", too grown for his/her age

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