A shiny new bicycle - Renato Adams recalls favourite holiday memory
Renato Adams was about 12 years old when he got his first bicycle.
His mother, Mable Louise Adams, purchased the freewheel Raleigh cycle for him as a Christmas gift, and also as inducement for him to pass the second-year Jamaica Local Exam.
"My most memorable experience was about 55 years ago," Adams, a former senior superintendent of police, told THE WEEKEND STAR.
It was the gift of that grey bicycle which he got sometime in the 1950s.
"When I rode around the district, everybody came running around, looking at the bicycle, wanting to get a glance or a ride. I felt at that time that I was on top of the world. I was the most important man in the district, and from that day until today, I was driven to have something that was quite pronounced and attractive to other persons," Adams said.
"In order to motivate me to take the third year and pass it, my mother bought me a new brand Raleigh sports bicycle. In those days, the Raleigh bicycle come with two shine fenders and the tyres had white walls. It was fitted out with lights. It had freewheel, which mean you didn't have to pedal all the time. And when you weren't pedalling, you hear a nice sound. It sounded like crickets, a beautiful sound," Adams recalled.
Adams said he was perhaps the only youngster in Beacon in Pedro Plains, St Elizabeth, who had one. There may have been a few other bicycles in the community, but they were owned by adults.
"I was forever grateful to my mother for that gift. When she gave me that, I told her that it wasn't necessary for her to give me anything more in life," Adams said.
He told THE WEEKEND STAR that his mother was able to afford the bicycle because his father was in England, and that he sent back money from which she took the five pounds sterling that was used to pay for it.
"A whole heap a money, and that's why I was very elated," Adams said.
Meanwhile, when asked to compare Christmas of yesteryear with nowadays, Adams replied saying: "We don't have Christmas anymore".
"What we have is commercialism and business, and people using all manner of evil to exploit goodness from people," Adams said.
Sharing and caring
He told THE WEEKEND STAR that in the days when he was growing up in St Elizabeth, the community was close-knit, and that sharing and caring was the hallmark of Christmas.
"Goodness to our neighbours was automatic, and we use to share a lot. So, we give you goat meat and the other neighbour would give you pig meat and the other neighbour would give you chicken and gungo peas," Adams said.
Refrigerator were not popular then, but the folks lived simple lives. Adams looked forward to kola champagne sodas at Christmas, because to him, the fizz gave the illusion of it being ice-cold. And when it was time to spree, known today as parties, he remembers getting his share of ice-cream from an ice-cream bucket.
He said that the Christmas tree, as we now know it, did not exist in his neck of the woods when he was growing up. Instead, they would decorate a tree which is closest to the house and incorporate it in holiday celebrations. The ornaments, he said, included cottons, bow, milk and sardine cans, as well as tin lamps, which when lit, illuminates the tree.
"People had fun then. We neva know nut ten bout criminals. Weh wi woulda know bout and fraid of a duppy," said Adams of the good old Jamaican Christmas.