‘It’s all about food’ - Duane Stephenson remembers Christmas in August Town
Recording artiste Duane Stephenson fondly remembers his childhood days in August Town, St Andrew, at Christmas time.
The soulful vocalist, who recalled his Christmas memories during an interview with THE STAR last Thursday, said a closely knitted community bonded by love for each other, coupled with the colours and lights associated with the season, made it special for him.
"Christmases were colourful," the August Town hitmaker recalled. "Back in the days, as much as things were - you know, is a poorer community - you know everybody at least had lights around, and it was a joyful time, especially for us kids. That was the only time of the year that you actually got presents. Maybe they even miss your birthday, but Christmas, it was definitely the 'muss time'. You know you get your red water gun, or your truck, or whatever. So it was a fun time, and also a religious time," Stephenson said.
The 46-year-old Stephenson, who was the lead singer in the band To-Isis, before embarking on a solo career, said that the reason for the season was not lost on him. He told THE STAR that attending church was a non-negotiable rule laid down by his grandaunt, Miss Vie.
"She never went to church," he said of Miss Vie. "Like, I've never seen her there. The only time she ever went to church was her funeral. She has never gone to church, but no one can stay in her house on a Saturday or Sunday. Choose one day out of the weekend, you have to go. It wasn't an option, except for her," Stephenson recalled.
The Ghetto Pain singer said he now spends most of his Christmases on the road, touring and performing at concerts. However, his Christmas memories from the village of his youth have never left his mind. This year will see him travelling on Christmas Day as he heads overseas to see his mother. He said that his mind will be on Christmas dinner, even as he reminisced on the bellyfuls he ate at Christmastime as a child.
"When you grow up in August Town, it's food. Christmas Day is a day where you just get sick by the time the day ends. Everywhere you go - you go to brethren yard fi play football - they tell you to come inside and they give you the food. You cyah exactly say no, because it's rude, so it was just food. It's all about food," he recalled.
He continued: "It was probably the only time of the year where you got to get a little piece of oxtail. Them days, aside from your chicken leg, you get a likkle one piece of oxtail, and it nah happen again til next year. So you were just so excited for that. Then there is the possibility of getting another piece at a friend's house, which was even more alluring," he said, laughing.