Sweet vibes seeing old friends
Peeps, I'm just sorry it had to end, but the vibes for me last weekend was definitely not weak. No, iyah, it was a sweet and sizzling, strong end!
I got a great opportunity to poke fun and provoke laughter among some of the very folks whose irresistible dares, early encouragement and enthusiastic egging on helped to propel me toward the path of comedy. I had my trusted friend, Horace Mitchell (friendship lasting over 40 years), playing the role of host, bodyguard and designated driver - so I 'freely' indulged the open bar in my role as designated drinker. And then I dropped legs so hard that I had a hell of a time taking them back up the following morning.
Yeah, friends, last Saturday, October 1 was the Excelsior Alumni Association [USA] Inc. 47th Annual Dinner Dance and Awards Gala. I was the MC, and the night was amazing. Hear mi nuh, man, exhilaration and excitement enveloped the air inside the salubrious Ricardo's by the Bridge in Astoria, Queens, NY as great music, emphatic cheers and loud laughter blended beautifully together to create a magical, melodious and memorable soundscape.
The annual dinner dance, which is the major vehicle for fellowship, fun and fundraising for the NY-based arm of a vibrant and active international network of Excelsior Alumni Associations, is also an occasion for honouring stalwarts who've made significant contributions to the school community. This year's honourees were legendary coach Frank Brown and exceptional educator Mrs Carmen Sanguitti.
Mrs Sanguitti is an outstanding alumna of Excelsior who served as prefect and head girl and then returned to serve further as teacher, form supervisor and head of the English Department at Excelsior High, as well as lecturer and Head of Pre-University for EXED Community College. She also continues to contribute tangibly to the welfare of students through the Noel Sanguitti Trust Fund that was established in honour of her late husband, who was also an exceptional alumnus and dedicated teacher at the school.
Mr Brown is an outstanding former Jamaican national representative in football who served with distinction as a coach at the school for both softball and football (boys and girl). During his tenure he won seven softball titles (four with the girls and three with the boys). He also established the school's first female football team in 1994 and coached them to the finals where they suffered a penalty shoot-out loss to The Queen's School. Coach Brown also guided Excelsior to victories in Manning Cup (1989 and 1993) and in Walker Cup (1990).
There were brief moments of sober reflection as we paused to remember young Dominic James - the Manning Cup player who died suddenly during a match between our school and St George's College. We also took time to send up prayers and project good wishes as folks back home braced for the onslaught of hurricane Matthew.
Thankfully, from reports garnered up to the time of my writing this, the island was again spared the worse. We now pray that our Caribbean neighbours are similarly blessed.
I had a genuinely uplifting time though. It was an intoxicating spell of 'LOL'. And I'm still floating on the natural high. It's like I was back to being a carefree teenager and the silly class clown, and enjoying every sweet minute of it. As I posted on my Facebook page, there's just something about seeing and spending time with friends from high school.
Yeah, man, being with the folks you spent time with almost every day for the most crucial and exciting five (or six or seven) years of your life seems to genuinely energise the spirit and sweeten the soul. My graduating class has a significant milestone anniversary celebration planned for next year. And Jah know, mi ready long time. Cyan wait!