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A Guyanese Christmas Story…

Ginger-beer with a difference
FATHER Jeremiah Holyoak of the Church at Hunter Street and Punt Trench Dam, Albouystown, made it his duty during the Christmas Season to visit his parishioners on Boxing Day. He finished house calls on La Penitence Street and moved on to Bel Air Street.
Between James Street and Sussex Street, he came to a cottage in which lived a single- mother, Rachel Adams and her son Timothy. The pair attended his Church Services every Sunday morning. They were there on Christmas morning.
Father  Jeremiah rapped on the light-blue wooden door. Timothy opened the door and smiled. “Good morning Father; how are you today?” he said.
“I’m fine thank you, Timothy. I am here on my usual Christmas visit to members of my congregation. Is your mother at home?” replied Father Jeremiah.
“No, Father, she is not. She’s gone to visit her sick uncle in Ruimveldt, but since it is so hot outside, you can come in and I’ll fix you a glass of ginger-beer, which is a special treat for the Season,” said Timothy.
“God bless you, Timothy. I would be happy to spend a few moments out of this hot sun,
and to enjoy some Christmas ginger-beer. Thank you very much, young man,” retorted the Father.
Father Jeremiah entered the home and took a relaxing seat in a Berbice Chair, wiping perspiration with a white handkerchief from his forehead and face.
Timothy went into the kitchen and took a large blue enamel cup from a shelf. He rinsed it at the sink. He took two pieces of ice from parcel wrapped in newspaper, rinsed it and put it in the cup. He went to an earthenware container, about two feet high, and, using a ladle, dipped out ginger-beer from the container and put it in the cup with the ice. He placed
the filled cup on a small cream enamel saucer and took it to the Father.
Father Jeremiah used his index finger to swirl the pieces of ice in the cup to add some cold to the already cool ginger-beer. He then put the cup to his lips and drank it all, slowly, savouring it as he did so. He loved it and asked for more. Timothy obliged.
Rested, refreshed, and feeling energized once more, he got up, thanked Timothy, and headed for the door.
Outside the door, he asked Timothy whether his mother would be upset over the giving of the ginger-beer.
Timothy replied with a smile, “Not in the least, Father; not in the least. You see, it’s been there for over a week, and we don’t drink it anymore. Two days ago, somehow or the other, a rat got in the container and was drowned in the ginger-beer. We discovered it the next day. But, not to worry Father, I put my hand into the ginger-beer, took out the bloated dead rat and threw it away through the jalousie.” (Courtesy of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York)

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