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A Bermuda Day full of pride, community and kindness

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Nina London, fourth left, and the Coral Beats. The drummers braved the rain to cheer on runners in the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby (Photograph supplied)

My Bermuda Day began early. I walked to the row of windows overlooking the South Shore. The sky was an ominous, coiling pillow of grey, and the sea was metallic and flat. The wind, out of the north, barely disturbed the relentless surge of the incoming tide. I shivered, and thought of my warm bed with Bill still sleeping peacefully. I knew it would rain soon …

I was waiting for a text and it appeared right on time, precisely at 6.30am. All it said was, “Let’s go!” I ran downstairs, grabbed my big Brazilian drum from the corner and was out the door.

The Coral Beats were drumming at Stone Crusher Corner, near the entrance to the airport. We had to be across the Causeway before the police closed it for the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby race that morning.

Some of the band members were setting up along the roadside, and the joking and banter I love so much had already begun. “Nina, I just love those crazy sunglasses!” Another voice chimed in, “Yes, yes! A must on a day like this!”

I laughed.

Nina London, centre, with members of the Coral Beats (Photograph supplied)

The first big drops of rain began to fall. I looked up at the low sky. “Better get used to it,” I thought. And then the wind picked up.

We lined up in our formation, 18 of us women in our bright turquoise Coral Beats T-shirts and our big drums slung around our waists. Our drum leader Patricia began, and we thundered in the morning just as the first runners appeared from St George’s. As they passed us, heading for the Causeway, we cheered and drummed louder, and many runners raised their hands in appreciation, smiling and waving as they splashed past us, their grim determination giving way to big smiles, many nodding their thanks, and raising their arms high, a few dancing in stride to the power of the beat, as the rain started and the wind blew.

At that moment, it struck me that this was what Bermuda Day was all about: pride and appreciation.

Through sunshine or rain, we help each other with the journey, supporting and acknowledging each neighbour’s efforts, smiling and joking to get through the hard times, and united in our love of this small, far-flung island we share together.

I returned home, cold and soaked to the skin, yet smiling.

“Let’s go to the parade,” Bill said, holding two big blue umbrellas.

We parked below Fort Hamilton and made our way down. Lining the parade route were hundreds of plastic awnings, all packed with Bermudians in folding beach chairs, many with rickety tables crammed with picnic food.

Nina London, second from left, and the Coral Beats. The drummers braved the rain to cheer on runners in the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby (Photograph supplied)

The parade made the turn up Parliament Street right in front of us. We cheered as loudly as we could for all the determined performers: the colourful floats and dripping marching bands with bright, wet banners. The antique cars with no tops or windscreens; the older drivers soggy, but waving and smiling.

The rain poured down in buckets; torrential, unyielding. We heard a voice from the crowded awning to our right. “Come in! Come in!” We folded our umbrellas and squeezed in among an entire extended family: grandparents in nylon chairs, parents, babies, children.

“I’m Vanessa. This is my grandmother’s fried chicken. You will never taste better!” She handed us each a drumstick in foil, and, standing room only, we chatted with everyone nearby. The chicken was delicious.

The rain dripped in rivers off the sides of the plastic awning, the bands played, the dancers danced, and I thought once again this is what Bermuda Day is all about: community, the love and closeness between families, and kindness to strangers.

”This is really fun!” Bill said. I laughed and nodded, “Absolutely great!”

I was soaking wet again.

Nina London is the founder of Mermaid Wellness Centre for Women and a certified Chi Gong and Laughter Yoga teacher. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their bodies and mind. Contact her at www.mermaidwellness.com and on Instagram: mermaid_wellness

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Published June 08, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated June 08, 2023 at 7:18 am)

A Bermuda Day full of pride, community and kindness

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