Address by Hon. Eugene Hamilton, at 100th Birthday Celebration of Eloise Isaac

At the outset, however, I seek your forgiveness if I violate through my words the very nature of my remit today; as quite frankly Mother Isaac, I do not see how I can escape speaking as your proverbial son; and in doing so trust that I can be brief, “relatively speaking”.

I have to be careful if I use the word young when comparing my age to yours, because I can easily remember when I first met you and that was quite a few decades ago; and it was in this very sanctuary.

We met, and I came to know you and love you.

I know that you can recall that in this sanctuary was housed perhaps the most melodious Pipe Organ in the State; erected on that balcony; towering tall almost touching the roof; or so it seemed to me as a very small boy at around age 4 or 5.

But it was in that era; in that period while coming to church on Sunday mornings and evenings and on Wednesday evenings also; and Choir practice on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays; in that era while still holding on to the skirt tail of my Grand Mother Ruthan Green Wilson (God Bless her soul) that I first met you.

A Sunday School Teacher; A Choir member; A Lay Preacher: A Member of the Women’s Auxillary now called the Womens Fellowship.

You know Mother Isaac, I must now confess that it was not the Sunday School that tugged at me; nor was it the Church Services – that I may have even felt were boring; it was the Pipe Organ enveloping the air at the fingertips of “Teacher Linter” Guishard while you sang a melodious Soprano blending with my Grand Mother’s Alto.

And while that was happening I was looking around and in my own innocent way, I figured out rightly or wrongly that the most important person in that setting was that fellow who was pumping the Bellows more popularly known as blowing the bellows; That same fellow whose nickname was “NOTES” whose real name was Edward. Without him that organ could not play.

So I edged closer and closer to him night after night until I learned to blow the bellows. That made me feel important in the church; I was contributing to the service and suddenly everything else was interesting. So interesting that with your encouragement I was opening up and closing up the church and ringing the church bell.

But, while of great significance is your contribution to the Cayon Community and larger society especially through your hard work, sacrifice and dedication to the work of God in our society, many of us in this very community including myself cherish what you have given to us through your children and grandchildren whom you nurtured so well.

Some who became our teachers, nurses and most importantly preachers of the word to bring us back to the God you love so well.

Let me tell you of my experience that is typical of hundreds of us from this community and then you would understand what I mean by contribution through your offspring.

I graduated from my Alma Mater at 15 and was in a family in abject poverty (though I did not know it or experience it) until time to go High School in Town and could not because here were three of us to go High School without any income in our family. Remember that our mother died before we became teenagers.

The whole story is not relevant for the occasion except that it was your son and my DEAR teacher Percy Isaac who recognizing the situation took an interest in me and tutored me to my first o-level subject in Mathematics at the age of 16 outside of the school halls. That kind of personal development is typical for many of our sons and daughters who benefitted from the work of your children

Quite frankly Mother Isaac I would not be wrong if I characterize that as a blessing of your womb.

However I must remind you of an experience that occurred weekly and shared by some of us that brought us some joy but also some discomfort. Your son Carl would remember.

You see, after every Choir practice, sometime around 9 or 10 pm in the cold night we (Syntella,Sheila, Chesil, Adlyn, Carl and I) shivered in the cold; yes cracking some jokes as you Mother Isaac, Sister Audain, Sister Bertie and my grandmother held your after choir practice meetings under the guides tree.

Those were the days; but that notwithstanding was an integral part of our development, teaching us patience endurance and also fellowship that served to concretize respect for our elders and each other.

The women of this, the wider community and beyond would not forgive me if I fail to thank you on their behalf for teaching them the Art of Sewing that contributed to their own economic well-being and I dare say to some economies of the wider world as many of them migrated to such places as England Canada and the United States of America.

Today I salute you; I salute you for being; the woman of Faith that you are; the tower of strength, the preacher of the undiluted word, the encourager, the councilor, the confidant, the supporter of the positive initiatives of all young people. And I salute you as one who is determined, dedicated and courageous.

I further salute you for your physical ability and I hope that it would not surprise anyone attending this celebration today that you still walk to and from church each and every Sunday.

Two years ago I sat in this church and watched as you walked to the front of the church holding your bible and read a full passage of scripture – every word – every sentence – every paragraph without fail; and you did so without the assistance of any spectacles

I took off my glasses and tried reading without them and failed; and I marveled.

As you celebrate your hundredth birthday I give God thanks that I am privileged to be a part of it all.

I pray that God will bless and keep you in good health physically, spiritually, and emotionally so that you through your continued life’s example would be an inspiration to those who interact with you.

You are Green Valley’s most recent and blessed centurion. May your continued life and witness as a stalwart of peace, faith, justice, love and community leadership be an everlasting example to the people of this area, the entire Nation of St. Kitts and Nevis and to all else who have been blessed to have known you for these past hundred years. And so in my own personal capacity as well as in my capacity as the Parliamentary Representative of this great area it is my most pleasant duty and privilege to bring you warmest greetings on the occasion of your hundredth birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY DEAR – OUR DEAR MOTHER ISAAC

Hon. Eugene Hamilton

Parliamentary Representative

Constituency#8, St. Kitts

at the Bethesda Moravian Church in Cayon

 

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