Trini Licks, especially with a guava whip | Yuh is ah Trini

Triniglish|Trinididioms Spoken and Explained #5
Yuh know what is "licks". Yuh get "licks" with a guava whip.

Have you ever heard someone talk about the good ole days in Trinidad and at the same time reminisce about the virtues of 'getting licks?' Oh, I see, maybe as a visitor to this site you may be confused by the term 'licks'. Well, not too long ago children used to "get licks" in Trinidad and Tobago. That ended some time now and children celebrated the no "licks" rule implemented in the school system. However, children at home still get "licks" - a good cut arse. Are you still confused? To get 'licks' is to receive punishment via strokes with a belt or with the good ole flexible and 'boi that could sting' guava whip!

Now just about every child, at some time in their life in Trinidad, gets licks. Sometimes parents really lose it and put a serious beating on the children. The social services in Trinidad and Tobago are not the same as those in the United States and most parents get away with a lot of abuse. However, as most Trini would tell you or simply remark, "licks doh kill but will make you walk the straight and narrow path to become an outstanding citizen" - yeah right. Licks in school was a given and just about every child who attended primary and high school received licks either from a leather strap or,  you guessed it ... a guava whip.

I was one who always got in the way of the whip. Most kids feared the guava whip for good reason but for me, the tamarind whip was considered 'enemy of the state'. I remember that whenever school was coming to a close for the summer vacation most of us knew that we had a good cut arse coming. If we did not do well in school the guava whip was coming for sure. It was just one good whipping and it was all over - the next day life returned to normal. On the last day of school, we received our report books and on the way home I always remember my friend Copper would start to cry as we approached Victory Street. From Victory Street, we had to walk past the Public Cemetery on the Eastern Main Road next to the sawmill then on to Olton Road where we lived. At Olton road junction Copper's day awaited with his guava whip. It was licks and races at the same time. Copper was always faster than his father so he received the rest of the licks when his dad came home.

Talking about Copper's day - he was something else as Trini's like to say. He was also the captain of the Angel Harps Steel Orchestra. In those days playing the steelpan was termed "beating pan" and it was a 'special group' of players that beat pan - yuh did not mess with them but was accepted without issue if they knew you - I did not have any problems since Leslie Cumberbatch (Copper dad better known as Butter Boy) was captain. It was Carnival Tuesday and the band was on the Eastern Main Road heading for Arima. As the band went past Victory street this guy (a big guy with tattoos eh - no pushover) decided that he had enough and refused to play the guitar pan. Oh my goodness... what followed was amazing. Butters told the guy to "beat the f**king pan". The licks that followed after the guy refused had people running for cover. In the end, the guy (man I tell you) beat that pair of guitar pans with tears running down his cheeks.

Years later I spoke to Butters (I was an adult) about the incident and he just laughed. He was the man during that period and that is the way the game was played. Licks can be a healer and it can set some people on the right track but licks can also cause lasting pain to last a lifetime. Many of you reading this post may recall the day of licks and roses. Do you still consider that period the Good Ole Days? 

Well to say that a true Trini knows about licks and getting licks with ah guava whip may be true but that is now historical data.  This is something today that is known and read about in posts like these only. You just may be correct in that regard.  However,  if you get to one of the chat sites with Trinis you will realize that they fondly think about the days they received licks and reminisce about it with smiles on their faces - 'ah' wonder why?

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