Hail to a living legend, Aunt Helen

  • Tough crowd: some of the lively crowd enjoying the festivities at Helen Mateen’s pre-Cup Match party at the Dr Cann Park seniors residences, Rockaway, Southampton

    Tough crowd: some of the lively crowd enjoying the festivities at Helen Mateen’s pre-Cup Match party at the Dr Cann Park seniors residences, Rockaway, Southampton

  • One of our living legends: Aunt Helen Mateen, with her St George’s Gombey crown (Photograph submitted)

    One of our living legends: Aunt Helen Mateen, with her St George’s Gombey crown (Photograph submitted)

Last week, I received, this somewhat ominous WhatsApp message.

“Dear MP Famous, your aunt Helen Mateen has asked me to invite you to speak at her pre-Cup Match party this Thursday (July 18) evening at her home in Dr Cann Memorial Seniors residences. Please let me know if you can attend.”

My reply was as such:

“Please remind me which team does she support.”

The answer was as follows:

“She invites all the neighbours of the complex and a few friends, about 50 people. Her team is St George’s. The time is 6.30pm sharp. Many thanks. VALERIE”

Well, anyone who knows Ms Helen Mateen, knows full well that a request from her is not actually a request. Quite simply, it is a nice way of sending an order that has to be carried out.

Born and raised in an era of “Do as you are told”, Ms Mateen has raised her own children, grandchildren, great-grands and anyone in need of care and attention in a manner that defines “Tuff Love” and “Pond Dog Licks”.

Her longstanding involvement in community organisations is known island-wide. Indeed, she is one of our living legends.

With a knowledge of what she expects, I marched myself right along to Dr Cann Park senior residences located at Rockaway in Southampton.

As I rounded the corner to where the tent was located, I was greeted with a combination of both claps and boos, based not on politics, but on my choice of blue-and-blue attire.

Needless to say, it was without a doubt, a very tough crowd that I had just walked into.

Under the tents were roughly 60 persons, attired in the colours of their respective Cup Match teams, fanning themselves with paper fans that had either St George’s or that other team printed on them.

What was to follow was an evening of unforgettable memories.

From the very outset, I was subtly press-ganged into being one of the ten or so wait staff.

Starting with bottles of water, then progressing to old-fashioned home-made root beer, we started the service off with liquid refreshments.

After that, we distributed very soft dinner rolls and butter, and then the main course.

In typical Bermuda potluck fashion, Aunt Helen had requested/ordered the following items to be delivered promptly by 6pm:

• Baked chicken

• Barbecue chicken

• Peas and rice

• Potato salad

• Coleslaw

All of which, her faithful wait staff delivered to the eager guests.

Also in typical Bermuda fashion, multiple conversations were held at each table on any number of topics. I do recall one topic being that the cup, as in the Cup Match trophy, was heading east to stay.

Others may have had opposing conversations, but who really had time to listen to such silliness?

After we cleared the tables, we set about delivering more liquid refreshments and then dessert.

Generous slices of gingerbread, and both plain and marble cake were followed with a variety of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.

With all those calories now having been consumed, it caused the partisan banter to intensify into a near-frenzy.

At one point, a show of hands was requested to determine which side had the most supporters present.

My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I am fairly certain there were more blue-and-blue fans present. However, I would not be surprised if someone reading this will attempt to state something different.

As each guest left, they thanked the hostess and reserved their spots for Cup Match 2020.

In all seriousness, it is these sort of gatherings that embody who we truly are as Bermudians — an event that brought persons together to reminisce on days gone by, free home-cooked meals, fast and friendly service, and, most of all, love.

On a personal note, I want to thank Aunt Helen, via Somerset supporter Mrs Valerie Dill, for requesting/ordering me to attend this event. It helped to remind us that to be able serve others is a blessing.

In closing, please have a safe and enjoyable Cup Match/Emancipation holiday. Let us remember that this holiday is not about how much money we can spend on material items, but how much time we can spend with our friends and family.

We have to love them, even if they wear red.

Christopher Famous is a government backbencher and the MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

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Published Jul 26, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 26, 2019 at 8:19 am)

Hail to a living legend, Aunt Helen

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