The current life expectancy [in Canada] is 82.2 years. By 2030 it’s estimated to rise another four years to 86.2. A recent news item suggested that future generations, with new medical technology and drugs combined, including lifestyle changes, would avoid a lot of the chronic conditions that currently carry us off, raising their life expectancy to 150!
From my observations at the Wellness Centre, Millenials, are trying their best to extend their own life span. Most of us are retirees trying to push ourselves beyond our limitations. The approach of the average member: It’s never too late.
There are always new faces in the membership, people coming on board to join the multitude already working out. Then, there are the regulars, people who are dedicated and consistent. You can tell who they are. They’re always on schedule regardless of inclement weather, rain or sleet or a snow storm.
Not quite Short Stories in the formal sense, these are encounters, opinions, commentaries, perspectives on people and places.
[Cineaste: noun. Cinema enthusiast or devotee.]
The cinema played an important part in my youth, for so many reasons.
For someone growing up in the Fifties in Georgetown, in what was then British Guiana, it was the main form, perhaps the only form of entertainment. It’s importance and impact on our culture and development cannot be overstated.
Here are some recollections of what it was like.
[Comments and similar recollections invited from readers for moderation. Subject to editing].
My memory goes back far enough that I recall the price of a ticket back in the Fifties. We were still on the Sterling currency in those days and a ticket to see a movie cost Half-a-bit, which would be four cents. A Bit was eight cents. A Bit-and-a-half was twelve cents. A shilling was the next denomination. These were all silver coins, minted obviously in the mother country—England. —Ken Puddicombe.
NOTE: “The Story Of The Month” changes every month and might also have been featured in my collection DOWN INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD published by MiddleRoad Publishers in 2017 and available on Amazon, or might be an Extract from my two novels RACING WITH THE RAIN and JUNTA.
Down Independence Boulevard: and other stories
by Ken Puddicombe
December -The Touch Of Peace
Jan – The Interview
Feb – The Underground
Mar -Welcome To Punta Canada
APR – Return Of The Prodigal [from Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories]
RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL ©
It was all over.
Father Martin had come around, extended his sympathy to Carl and left for another function. The undertaker took off in his hearse, leaving a gravedigger to complete the job. People started to make their way out of the cemetery.
Soon, only Carl and Uncle Jules were left standing on opposite sides of Augusto’s grave. And there was someone else there too, standing next to Uncle Jules, someone whom Carl had not seen in over sixteen years. But, weren’t faces like scraps of information imbedded in the subconscious, stored away and not forgotten, recalled in an instant when a connection was made? It was John.
John was looking at their mother’s grave. What was he thinking? Was he reflecting over the many times Augusto had told him about his birth: One life moving on, a new one starting? Carl was just seven when their mother passed on, tired and exhausted from child bearing. Carl had done the calculation: eight children over sixteen years of marriage, averaging one every two years. Quite a feat for a small framed, delicate woman. A baby factory is how someone had described her. Four of the children had passed on: one died shortly after birth, two were stillborn, one—James, died in the 1964 Georgetown riots. Four were still alive but scattered to the four winds. And she, not surviving to hold her youngest in her arms or see him grow to the man he was today.
CAN AN INDIVIDUAL MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN POWERFUL FORCES ARE ALIGNED AGAINST DEMOCRACY? CAN SOMEONE AVOID THE STIGMA OF HIS HERITAGE?
These questions are essential to the theme of Ken Puddicombe’s new novel JUNTA.
Expatriate Marcus Jacobson wants to make a difference on newly independent Saint Anglia where he is taking up a professorship but there are forces that will test his expectation. The military, under General Marks stages a coup, and Hurricane David is heading for the island.
Marcus also has skeletons in his closet. He’s descended from the Planter Class that once owned slaves on the island. He’s torn—does he have the right to get involved in the politics of the island or should he be a bystander?
The people Marcus encounters will determine his attitude to the Junta. These people include: Melanie, a student who thinks force should be used to restore democracy; Father Bert, a priest who believes in Liberation Theology; Clarence Baptiste, editor of the local newspaper who will use the media to oppose; The Reverend who runs a dirty tricks campaign for the Junta; Kentish, an islander who is a pacifist by nature and believes that events should run their course. Marcus finds himself being inexorably drawn towards Melanie and when she takes matters into her own hands, the decision is made. But, the Junta is determined to hold on to power at all cost.
A taxi driver notices the changes in Independence Boulevard since freedom was gained from Britain. A free-wheeling spirit spends his time gambling and engaging in riots. A man is sentenced to death for the murder of his lover. Two women escape racial conflict and seek a better life at home and abroad. A housewife has faced the last straw with her husband. A mailman is caught in the middle of the World Trade Centre terrorist attack. These are some of the characters encountered in this engaging collection of short stories from the pen of Ken Puddicombe.
Amazon link: Down Independence Boulevard: and other stories
by Ken Puddicombe
REVIEW OF RACING WITH THE RAIN by Frank Birbalsingh
Professor Emeritus, English Literature, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Racing With The Rain is the first novel of Guyanese born Ken Puddicombe who, since 1971, has lived in Canada where he works as an accountant. Racing offers a fictional version of political events during a turbulent period, from the 1960s to the 1980s, in the history of Guyana, formerly British Guiana. The novel is a roman a clef, one in which people and events may be identified through fictional names assigned to particular organizations, individuals or places, for example, “Liberty House” for actual Freedom House, “Arawak Hotel” for Carib Hotel, “Kingsley” for Sydney King, and “Jack Hill” for Kelshall.