Origins of JA (pronounced Jay-Ay for Jamaica) Storyteller


My grandfather, George Lyn-Shue, is the inspiration for this blog. He was a real character – a former minister, a poet, a charmer and a man generous to a fault, who could break into song or recite poetry just as quickly as he could get under the hood of a car. I loved when Grandpa would pick us up from school. He always brought me and my sisters patties and Pepsi and would sing and beep the car horn as he drove.

Everyone knew my grandfather. He was known as ‘Mas’ George’ or ‘Greasy George’ and he had nicknames for all his 23 grandchildren from Punchinella and Ragamuffin to Rebels in Trebles, Chatter Box and Little Star. Mine were “Storyteller” and “Five Husbands”.

img_4690As a little girl, I loved to thrill up my grandfather with stories. One of his favorites was my story about my five husbands, who were all named Michael, coincidentally just like my father. No one would ever get to meet them though because they were up in the mountains above Kingston fighting the ‘bad’ guys.

Grandpa also loved to tell stories, and as he got older, he would repeat the same stories over and over again. He had lots of stories and they usually revolved around his grand and great grandchildren. My favorite though was about how he got married to my grandmother Lily.

Grandpa said it was love at first sight. However, Grandma refused to go on a date with him. She would tell him ‘no’ over and over. He must have been left out parts of the story because then he jumped to the day when he saw her from the street in the garden. He said, “Lily, come let’s get married.” For the first time, the woman said ‘yes’ and they went to the church straight from the garden grabbing a neighbor to be the witness along the way. They got married that right there and then. I am not sure how true this story is, but this is how I remember it and I love it.

Seven children and 23 grandchildren later, I remember when we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Jamaica Conference Center in Kingston. My cousin April choreographed a dance for the grandchildren to perform. It was the wedding they never had with all the family from Jamaica as well as Miami and Toronto in attendance. There were speeches and of course, the grandchildren’s performance to Michael Jackson’s ‘BAD’ in front of family and friends. It was awesome. I am still waiting for the video.

Anyways, I remember when Grandpa asked me what I wanted to be and I said a teacher. He said, “No man, you love too many nice things. How you going to be a teacher?” He was right. He knew his granddaughter well even from when she was ‘likkle bit’. I didn’t become a teacher. I became a communications executive instead.

So this blog is a collection of the stories that I would of told Grandpa. They are mostly stories about the crazy coincidences that keep happening to me, which tell me I am exactly where I am suppose to be, doing what I am suppose to be doing.

To Grandpa and Grandma, my true loves. Woy, how you sweet me up!


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