The best musical recording that I did which probably none of you know of, rivaled the superb deliveries of Kapingbdi, the appealing “Coming Home” by Tecumsey, the widely popular and enjoyable contributions of Zack and Gebah or anything from today’s offerings by The Ace or Takun J, was produced by Reverend Christie Smith during the 1990s in New York. On that album was a song called “To Love Again”. The chorus to the song went: “Don’t let them throw it away now sister/Don’t let this world change the beauty inside/You have the right to live and to find the strength/the strength To Love Again.”
Have you ever walked into a room, stood among a crowd or entered a gathering in this country of “Me, Myself and I” and honestly felt unwelcome? If so, what do you think was the reason?
And also do you wonder why people always say “our leaders don’t have any heart for this nation!”? Well some of our common answers are “they just selfish when they come from America.” The one I like best is the one where you blame yourself, “just because people ain’t got money.”
Well I think I discovered the truth and it is far from what you have imagined it to be. The thing that I realize that they seem to feel is your heartbeat. Yes, heartbeat.
The idea is if you have a heart then you must have compassion. If you have compassion then you are supposed to possess a warm embrace. The warmth of your embrace spells death to heartless “Me, Myself and I.”
And you know that everything has the natural desire to perpetuate itself. Even a heartless town. So how did all this come about? How did people just like you and me, people who you went to school with, played ball together, chased boys and girls together, become the heartless nonhumans that we now come across on a daily basis in Me, Myself and I?
Ben Purser, “Tofone” brother of Sekele, “Chairman of the Board” Darpoh, and football wizard “Tito”, talked about our group, The Junior Temptations. We were “hotter than a coal pot seat” back in the day. One set of girls who really rolled with us, our groupies, were the Smythe sisters:
Edwina, Hardinia, Gertrude, Joyce, Ciatta, Bendu and Lillian. Individually, these ladies were not the hottest Monrovia girls, no not in a long shot individually, but together, wow, they took your breath away. Their father was Edwin Smythe.
Collectively, the Smythes dazzled “back then” Monrovia like the Kadashians in Hollywood. In hot yellow dresses, tight fitting white blouses, beauties as far AS THE EYE COULD SEE. Mr. Walker was father to the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Charles Martin, a member of the Junior Temps, ‘was loving’ to Lillian. Lillian had come to Monrovia from Freetown. She was the darkest of the Smythes with skin the color of a juicy, purple berry – the organic kind that grew in Royesville or Crozerville. Lillian was full chested like all her sisters, but her eyes were small compared to her sisters.
On the corner of Carey and Warren streets, diagonally across from where today’s Transport Ministry is, was McCritty Corner, where the famous bar called ‘Beer Tavern’ was located. There you could buy a sizeable mug of beer for twenty five cents. With one dollar and fifty cents, The Junior Temps ‘caught their heads’ (got drunk) on Friday nights. You see the ‘eagle flew’ (salaries were paid) on Fridays and so did Monrovia back then.
On this particular night I left the tavern with a ‘half of head’ (half drunk). As I meandered up Ashmun Street just pass Tipoteh’s (Rudolph Roberts’s) place, I heard someone crying. I recognized the voice as that of Charles Martin. I followed the whining and whimpering and found Charles near Cia Richards’ house. I said “Charlie what’s wrong”? Charlie replied, “Lillian left me.” We were fifteen years old, more popular in Liberia than the Archbishop of Canterbury and even the President. So who cried for a girl with all that going on? Charlie did!
He said “from now on, when I go out, I will leave my heart home.” From that point Jenny Soporah’s son Charles who left his heart at home became Sweet Charlie Baby, a heartbreaker and scoundrel. And the women loved him for that.
Now it gets a little tricky. If God changed Abram’s name to Abraham when he got a heart (compassion), the heartless Charles’ name was changed to Sweet Charlie Baby.
Stay with me here and don’t get lost or turned off as it is could be you or me. It just happened to be Charles.
Therefore a heart breaker like Lillian needs a new name that suits her new status.
In 1989, I went to Salem, Massachusetts. I saw a poster for a concert. The concert was Lilith’s Fair. Years later I heard the legend about how Adam had a wife before Eve called Lilith. They had a son who was still born (dead at birth) and Adam broke Lilith’s heart by leaving her. Then
God made Eve. Lillian became Lilith.
Now in ‘Me, Myself and I,’ a most heartless city, the guy finding a taxi for you is the guy who will steal your phone. The police officer responsible to solve the case is the one whose car trunk your purse will be found in. Even the foreigners are in this heartless act. They claim to bring huge investments into Liberia and we call them stakeholders. Well they are holding the stake all right, the stake that is being driven into the heart of Liberia. Have you ever watched a Dracula/Vampire movie? One of the ways that you ‘kill’ a vampire is to drive a stake through its heart.
The vampire then disintegrates into ‘nothing’. So our stakeholders, once they claim their stake, leave nothing for liberia. Well funded NGOs seem to leave people and situations worse off than they met them. What can Liberia really show for the billions in loans and grants spent on Me,
Myself and I only in the last few years? On top of that we were FORGIVEN OVER 3 BILLION!!! They continue to drive the stake and the deeper it goes, the more Liberia disintegrates. POOR LIBERIA! But I am digressing as I always do.
‘Me, Myself and I’ cannot host a spirited event to save it because it lacks a heart. We deserve the Lone Star, a team without a pulse. The last three Miss Liberia Contests were so dull; in the last one the contestants were as active as zombies. Ask the President, Her Excellency was there. Our heartless Olympic officials arrived in full in Rio with no contestants. In fact, even in the last Olympic games, one of our athletes (Kutu-Akoi) was left to languish in the custody of the South African authorities and was returned from whence she came without entering the country. This is after she paid her own ticket to get there!
We Live in a city run by people who have no heart or compassion and they want only heartless people in their midst. The only hearts at JFK Hospital seem to be ones that no longer have a heartbeat, needing a jolt from the electric machine…CLEAR…ZAP. John T informed me on Facebook that LRA has raised the GST by about 40 percent. In our exponentially declining economy, this is like making my next meal more expensive even though I never knew where it was coming from in the first place. Our basketball association is in a mess. Watching a basketball game in Monrovia today is like watching a rugby match….except the basketball game is rougher. The fundamentals have been lost and there seems to be no heart for the game. Our beloved IE and Barolle have been replaced by English and Spanish league teams…no heart for our own but spirited cheers for our ‘stakeholders’. And ‘for God’s sake’, OUR CHILDREN!! Why are we leaving them to grow up on their own? Our own admission of our inability to give them direction is exemplified in the outsourcing of their educational guidance to our ‘stakeholders’.
What’s the difference? From one heartless group to another who will drive the stake even at the fundamental level!
But there are some good examples. Thank God for the new police director. I do not know the man but I appreciate that the dreadful looking ‘car loaders’ no longer seem to be scaring us on Broad Street. They have found new terrain though. I was accosted and my phone was stolen in Barnersville while trying to find transportation to Broad Street. I came to town anyway and while reporting the case to Central, I overheard a conversation by a group of officers saying, “Looka da one there. How long day other morale way lass? All or dem na try it before. Leh wait and see!” A bunch of HEARTLESS people all spread out under the office of the very person who could lead the fight to improve their country, their lives and their children’s future. Instead of helping, they are either undermining or doing nothing to encourage the process. I was truly hurt! Oh Liberia! Have we gone too far?
Stevie Wonder writes “Loves in need of love today. Don’t delay, send yours in right away. Hate’s going round breaking many hearts, stop it please before it goes too far.” Sweet Charlie Baby became a preacher beyond all of our expectations. If there was anyone we thought would be most unlikely to stand in that pulpit, it was Sweet Baby Charles. But that was our stereotypical view; Gods plan was in motion. Broken hearted Sweet Baby Charles has collected the pieces of his heart, put them together and brought it out of the closet, out of the home, out of the country and out into the whole wide world. God is using him to mend hearts and people like him to transplant into the heartless the missing vital organ that once again allows blood and love to flow. His name is once again, Charles Martin or maybe The Reverend Charles Martin.
Do you have some love to send in today? Don’t gave up and become heartless, too. If we all decide to leave our hearts at home then we may have to change the name of the country. That might mean that we lose the country, too. Bring your hearts to the service of our Liberia. Care for one another. Show some compassion for those in need and be kind to people, even the heartless. ‘Me, Myself and I’ is able to recognize the power of your sincerity, your compassion and your love. Kill them with love!
Dedicated to all of us who dare To Love Again. Amen!