I met Joy Ann during my first trip to Barbados. The hotel where we stayed, had this great little restaurant poolside. We opted to have breakfast before leaving for the airport. We were greeted with most warm and genuine smile. That smile belonged to Joy Ann. I ordered fish and eggs. (fish for breakfast was a whole new experience for me but when in Rome or this case the islands….) After taking our order, Joy Ann hurried back to to kitchen, returning with a dante glass, filled with a delicious blend of orange juices, petite bowls of butter and marmalade, and finally the most beautifully arranged breakfast complete with fresh fruit pieces. I took note of the presentation because it was abundantly clear she had taken great pride in preparing it for us. Joy Ann had a beautiful spirit about her that welcomed you to know her. I knew I would always remember her. When I planned my second trip, just 3 short weeks later, I knew I wanted to see Joy Ann again and have her lovely breakfast of fish and eggs. SOO GOOD…seriously if you are in Barbados you simply must try it! When I walked into the restaurant that morning, Joy remembered me and again greeted me with a huge smile and that same warm welcome I remembered. This morning the restaurant was quite, allowing us time to chat. I had no idea I was going to interview her when we started conversing about all kinds of things including the fact that Joy owned this restaurant at the hotel. Joy Ann is an average ordinary women from Barbados who prepares and serves food in a poolside hotel restaurant. If that is what you see, then you have not seen her! Joy Ann, will forever be a woman I call friend.
My interview with Joy Ann
Me: What is love?
“Love is the ability to just be, to give unconditionally of yourself; to give unconditionally of anything you have.
Me: Where are you from?
I am from Barbados, in the Parish of St. Michael.
Me: Are you married?
I am divorced. I was married for 14yrs. I have been on my own for the past 4yrs.
Me: If you had to use one word to explain why your marriage ended what would it be?:
On my goodness, just 1 word? I would have to say “Disappointment!”
(Disappointment, now there is something that needs no explanation for me as it is the reason for all of my life heartaches)
Me: Do you have children?
No. I always wanted children but it didn’t work out that way. Although, I have raised many. My husband had 2 children about the same age. He would always tell me we needed to wait for the right time, the right house, the right job, etc. Then when we had all of that, he said he didn’t want any more children. I was upset because he should have been honest and allowed me to have the chance to make this decision for myself. I always wanted children. When I was 17, I knew of a girl whose mama was a drunk. She did not properly care for this little girl at all. One day I asked the mom if I could have the little girl for the weekend? She didn’t even hesitate before saying yes. This poor girl didn’t even know how to eat proper food. I had to teach her to eat good food. I didn’t want to return her so I asked my mother if I could raise her. My mother said “Ask your father” he in turn sent me back to my mother. My mother said “Joy Ann, this is not a puppy this is a child and you will have to do everything for this girl because Im not going to do it.” I went to the toddlers mom and asked her if I could help her by keeping her daughter for a spell. The mother agreed. I raised Lisa for 1 entire year. I took care of her, taught her, loved her.
Lisa’s mom died that year. An aunt suddenly emerged and took Lisa away to the states. I was angry because I couldn't understand where this aunt had been when Lisa was crying and hungry and dirty sitting in the corner all alone. I miss her and think of her often. I’ve tried to find her, but have been unable too. Im 47 now and its simply to late for me.
Me: Perhaps you are meant to be a foster parent and give love to the many children who may not otherwise know love.
(Thank God for people like her, because if not for Joy’s heart, that child may not have ever known what it felt to be loved. How courageous and selfless Joy must have been to even think to take a toddler who was in pain but more to feel compassion for the the mother’s condition)
Me: What are you most proud of:
My childhood! I was raised in a time when children were to be seen and not heard. My father taught us “You have your time; this is not it.” I was allowed to be a child. I can still remember the first color TV. It belonged to my friend. I would stand outside of the window and watch it. My mom was a real woman. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL! She taught me to do everything so now I know how to do everything.
(The way a parent loves and disciplines their children are paramount in raising humble and kind adults. But more, the quality of marriage shown to a child, is thematic in their growing into a selfless human being. In listening to her speak of her mom, I could not help but allow myself a moment of self pity to wish that I too, could have had a mom that I could say “She was beautiful!”)
Me: What is your biggest regret?
Not having children! I did the good girl thing till I was 30. He told me to wait for the right time then said no!
Me: What is #1 on your BucketList?
I want to enter the Barbados Calypso competition. I sing…pretty well!
Me: WHAT? That is so very doable. Your dream only requires a decision. So, how about this, you make a promise to me right now, that next year, you will be among the contestants? She agreed! You can bet, if she competes, I will be there to support her if its within my power.
(I will send Joy messages over the next year reminding her of her dream and how close to realizing it she is. That will be my commitment to my new friend because I know all to well sometimes the things we do have nothing to do with our own joy but instead that of another.)
Me: If you could re-live any day, positive or negative, what day would it be and why?
Without hesitation she said, My Wedding Day! The 9th of December because it was a beautiful day. I don’t have any photos to remember it because none were taken.
(People document your moments because one day you may find that all you have left are the memories brought to you in your photographs! I love what I do, because I get to document history; your history)
Me: What others you most about the human race?
OMG Girl, my biggest pet peeve is when black women put other peoples hair in there head and then walk around like they are so danm pretty. Now, I don’t mind a few extensions now and then, but damn can’t you at least put black people hair in your head ? I hate fakeness! I mean ladies, you with your fake nails, fake lashes, and fake hair..…you are not on Broadway! Then you take all these sexy face pictures of yourself all fake (insert the funniest live examples by Joy) ……I mean what the hell would you do if you were actually pretty!
(Laughing so hard I can barely write)
Me: Do you know GOD?
YES!!! HE is a really good friend of mine. I don’t know where I would be without HIM. HE’s like a father, sometimes you do wrong and get lashings.