“Out of many, one people.” This is the national motto of Jamaica, my birthplace.
This motto fits the mix of many cultures and ethnicities in Jamaica perfectly.
Several years ago, my family hosted a family reunion in Jamaica. Over a hundred family members attended. My cousin Tanya devoted much love and many hours of time to creating a giant family tree with photographs representing each branch of the Levy family. Because of my grandfather’s many brothers and sisters, the tree was astoundingly large.
I was amazed at the diversity in the Levy family. Every color of skin, eyes, and hair was represented—from blonde hair and blue eyes fairer than mine to the darkest skin and eyes. Chinese Jamaicans. Black Jamaicans. White Jamaicans. Jewish Jamaicans. Anglican Jamaicans. It did not matter what you looked like. You were a Levy.
It was so wonderful to see the next generation of Levys playing together at the beach and the pool during the reunion.
As we all posed on a giant staircase for a group photo, I thought, “How lucky am I to come from this? Out of these many people? Out of this Levy clan?”
My family has achieved a lot in Jamaica, and we have given much back to the island and its people. I am proud of my heritage. I am proud to have Levy blood in my veins. I am proud of the cultural diversity my family represents. I am proud of my sweet Jamaica.
Remember, when all else fails, family will be there.
Until next time.
While I drove to work on August 6, 2018, my favorite radio station mentioned that it was National Root Beer Float Day. This got me remembering times gone by.
In Jamaica, my parents owned the famous Manor Park Pharmacy in Kingston, the capital city. Now, I know what you are thinking—what is the connection between a pharmacy and root beer floats? The answer is simple: Manor Park Pharmacy was not just a pharmacy. We had a large and well-respected old-time soda fountain and grill in there.
My two older brothers and I often headed to the pharmacy’s comics section and then to the soda fountain after school. I remember seeing folks enjoying the food and the hamburgers that the pharmacy was known for. The place was alive with chatter, good times, and the smell of good food.
Each week, my brothers and I were allowed to choose one comic book to take home and to order something from the soda fountain. I always ordered the BLT, my favorite. I think I loved the saltiness and crunch of the bacon, hot off the grill. My special-needs brother, Andre, always ordered a hamburger. (Burgers are still one of his favorite meals, although he has downsized now to sliders.) I do not remember what my brother Steven usually ordered, but whatever it was, I bet it tasted delicious.
Those were cherished times and memories. Times of innocence. Times to remember.
Do you have a favorite soda fountain or hole-in-the-wall restaurant that is a past or present favorite? If so, please share those places that were special in your childhood and remain special in your heart.
Families all over this country come together each night over food. Remember, family and those memories that you make together every night are the most important of all.
So here’s to National Root Beer Float Day for evoking old memories.
Until next time.