It Can Be Done

by Dr. Henry Lowe

Kingston, Jamaica

My days at Excelsior were not only met with successful study, but a real sense of appreciation of school life, I remember that I had a friend called Lloyd Garvey. He was one of the students who I had convinced to do A-Level Zoology and Botany. He was a very boastful man, but we became very close friends because we used to study together. He was at least two years older than me. Garvey and I were regarded as the best of the start up Science group at this time. He went on to study Pharmacology at Howard University, and later became Professor of Pharmacology at Howard.

During our summer break, I used to accompany Lloyd on some of his visits to his girlfriend, who was a much older woman. She seemed to be about twice his age. Anyway, we would go over to her home, especially on Friday nights, where she would cook for us, and we graciously accepted the food, and drinks. This woman frightened the hell out of me one night.

That Friday night, we were doing our usual courtesy call. I must be honest, she was a good-looking woman, but on this particular night, she sat in front of the fan. All of a sudden, what I thought was her hair, was blown in my direction. To my surprise and amazement, this woman was as ‘bald as an eagle.’ I was so shocked that I could not speak. I almost fell off the chair! It was the first time I was seeing a bald-headed woman. Needless to say, the look on Lloyd’s face was priceless!

I also had my crazy moments of youthful bravado, and one such was the time I decided to take the wheel of a vehicle and drive down the steep Gordon Town Road. A group of us sixth-form students from Excelsior, guys and girls, took a drive up to Mavis Bank in one of the guys’ parents’ car. I had only just started learning how to drive, and had very little road practice, but when we were about to return to Kingston one of the girls turned to me and asked, ‘Why don’t you drive back?’ Despite my lack of driving experience, I felt I had to impress this girl who had a crush on me, so I said ‘okay,’ and asked for the keys. The journey back started fine but, as the downhill road got steeper, the car started picking up speed and I was losing control because I was not changing down into the lower gears. After taking a few deep corners at almost breakneck speed, I hit the brakes and pulled over, sweating and shaking.

When I stopped the car, everyone was wondering what was happening to me, so I explained that I was suddenly feeling very sick and had to stop driving. Maybe they hadn’t realized what really happened, but I do know that it was a very close call. This would never happen to me again, because as Aunt Dassa would say, ‘One time fool nuh fool; two time fool really fool!...’