I’m trying to find the right word, which should not pose any real problems for me because I am supposed to be a writer of sorts, but today the word escapes me. I mean, it’s not as if it’s a weird, obscure word of the kind that Rick loves to pepper his articles with whenever he is on a roll. No, it’s an everyday word used to describe someone who is decent, kind, capable, reliable, dutiful but not subservient, loyal and even patriotic—though I am not big on patriotism—well-educated as well as intelligent, great company and fun to be with, considerate, generous with her time, a good listener and in possession of a fantastic sense of humour. In fact, she excels in just about everything. One might even say she’s excellent, but that’s not the word I’m looking for.
During my lengthy sojourn—gosh, how did that tricky ‘rick-word’ inveigle itself, which in this context would mean ‘wheedle its way’, into my narrative? As I was saying, during my stay—there, that’s better, easier to understand—in St Lucia, I have been fortunate enough to meet some very good people (Is that the word I’m looking for: good?) who have enriched my life, and whose company, although far too infrequent to qualify as hobnobbing, always leaves me feeling good (There’s that word again). And the lady I am trying to describe, or rather, find a word for, is exactly that kind of person: good.
We probably speak on the phone more than we speak face to face, and there are several reasons for that. First of all, she is extremely busy doing things; her time is not her own. And people will go to incredible lengths to get her to attend their functions, which if nothing else, shows her immense popularity and the respect that she commands wherever she goes. In addition, my shorts are frowned upon by people in her close proximity whenever I visit her at her office.
I suppose I phone her more than she phones me, but occasionally she calls me, especially if I am in hot water about something, or if I have been abnormally silent for a while, but generally speaking, I do the calling. Ok, it’s true; when I call it’s often because I need information or help and she is a fount of information; she knows so much about so many things Saint Lucian. Her mother knew even more.
May I digress? Do you mind? Now you may be wondering why I wrote ‘fount’ of information when so many people might prefer ‘font’. Well, both are most certainly correct. A fount is an abbreviated form of fountain, which is a source of life-sustaining water, which in turn inspires the figurative use of a fount of knowledge. A font, on the other hand, is the receptacle used for holding water for baptism – which gels with the idea of wisdom being imparted. I doubt I have ever used the word ‘gel’ before in my writings; well, there’s a first time for everything.
It’s Good Friday—talk about choosing a totally inappropriate name for something! In Germany, they call this day Karfreitag, Freitag being Friday and Kar having its roots in words for ‘sorrow, care, lament, wail’ and even screaming. The Swedes, being as nonchalant about religion as any nation can be, call the day Långfredag, which means Long Friday presumably because it refers to a long day of suffering by Jesus, but also maybe because everything is closed, there’s nothing to do and the day just seems so interminably long. Actually, that’s how it was way back when I first moved to Sweden in the 1960s; nowadays people simply treat the day as a holiday; but I digress too far . . .
In Saint Lucia, a Governor-General’s duties—you must have guessed who I’m writing about by now—fall generally into three categories: constitutional and statutory duties, and ceremonial and non-ceremonial duties. Legislative power is vested in Parliament, which consists of The Queen, a Senate, and a House of Assembly. In so far as the appointment of a Prime Minister is concerned, the executive authority is exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Governor General of the day. In the
discharge of this and other duties, the Governor General acts on the advice of the Prime Minister, so, in real terms, I
suppose a prospective P.M. tells the G.G. to appoint him or her P.M., and then, at the opening of a new session of Parliament the Governor General delivers the speech in which the P.M. sets out his or her legislative and economic programs.
There must be many a time when any Governor General, especially one who might have served during successive, quite disparate, squabbling, mutually disrespectful, arrogant and vindictive administrations that are hell-bent on proving the other side wrong rather than dealing with the problems of the day, must wonder if it is all worthwhile and perhaps, secretly, long for a little power to put things right, and actually say what he or she thinks. But then again, that’s not the role of a Governor General.
Honestly, I think our Governor-General does a super job. That’s the word I was looking for—super!