Categorized | Features, General, Local

Tribute to Howell – at funeral service

By Claude Gerald (Howell’s long standing friend)

Claude Gerald

Claude Gerald

How do I certify a tribute to a man who is now dead who normally certifies what I write? Some 6 years ago this month Howell requested that I do his funeral tribute after he certified one I did for a departed loved one. I deflected the request as funny.

Howell Richard Bramble (HRB) was my friend, my mentor, who became a brother.

True friendship is based on a shared value system. There is a mutual protection and promotion of each other and a desire to bring out the best in your friend.

Howell Bramble defined friendship and was a fiercely loyal friend. He will guard your back like a proverbial hen with her un-weaned chickens. I value his exceptional role in my life’s undertakings and the rich experience of a very long association.

His wife Ruby described us as beans from the same pod.

I had just entered my teens when I first saw Howell Bramble. He was speaking on the behalf of the Montserrat Labour Party in Cudjoe Head.  He was youthful, fiery, and vivacious, speaking without a script. (I learnt later, it was in his pocket). Words flew from his mouth, as he denounced the evils of the share cropping system that stifled Montserrat’s socio-economic progress. HRB had drawing power. His oratory was captivating.  It was compelling. He commanded listenership. He left you transformed and bewildered.

His life work had a civilizing influence on those touched. The welfare of Montserrat and its people was his driving force and his pen the main weapon of delivery.

I had become a Howellite and an acolyte. I had found a life’s model.

The love of cricket was central to my teenage years. HRB’s cricket commentary drew attention.  I wanted to meet him.   The closest was when he drove along Church Road, next to the cricket pitch at MSS,  in his sporty model cars, to record the evening Sports on Radio Montserrat.

Howell’s description of a cricket game was on par with the best there was internationally. Colourful language, mixed with lively figures of speech filled the airways. Reporting on a highly competitive league match he described the spin bowling of Bertram Burke and Frank Edwards as ‘beguiling’. I was truly beguiled by that word and headed to the Oxford Dictionary. Summarizing a Leeward Islands Match between Antigua and Montserrat at Sturge Park, he intoned that the crowd was ‘flabbergasted and indeed mesmerized by the array of stroke play by Jim Allen in his encounter with the great Andy Roberts’. This made me dove more deeply into my Oxford and my Thesaurus. The final dive as I recall was when he said matter-of-factly that ‘the bowling of Andy Fruity Roberts holds no terrors for local boy Jim Allen as we look forward to another enthralling day at the home of Leeward’s cricket, Sturge Park’. Those quotations are as fresh as a rose petal in my mind.

Howell’s fascination with language fascinated me. I began to read and to practice to the joy of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Holding, a Principal/wife combination of English and Indian origin at the MSS.  My grades took off unknowing to Howell.

The Montserrat Times owned by Howell flourished after the 1978 change of government. Howell lead a one-man crusade (Tim Hector-like) in a ten year spirited opposition to the new government’s attitude to governance. He was investigative and can build a convincing story from a molehill. He had a probing mind. His thoughts were fluid. But he was fair. When you are in the company of a master your duty is to listen and to probe but not to take charge. I did just that.

It was risky to be in such an association at the start of one’s career, especially in that politically charged atmosphere where your loyalty counts. I would not allow anyone to choose my friends for me. I was neck and neck with Howell, in the trenches and purposely visible and never took cover. I wanted to get into Howell’s head and learn how to write stories and particularly editorials. In 5-10 minutes flat he would manifest an editorial, in long meandering sentences that were punchy in flavour, rich in poetry and philosophical quotes.

There are writers but Howell Bramble was gifted beyond the ordinary. I found in the library a piece he wrote for his father in the early fifties. It startled for its quality. It was just pass his 19th birthday!

Without his knowing I began to write pieces on my pet subjects like organic gardening; the influence of trees on the air quality and  dairy goats production. He gave me  centre spreads with  huge pictures of myself. He was as pleased as I was.

Some 15 years ago I ventured into opinion writing locally mainly. Howell had started the Leeward’s Times in Nevis.  I contacted and sent him samples of my manuscripts.

And he was firstly keen to make sure that I was credible and wholesome in my arguments.

A call from HRB was a moving moment. ‘You are risking much with those comments lad. They will come after you on Montserrat. They will hurt you Claude. You may be advised to back off that position’ he would say.  ‘My Father is Jehovah. Who is man that thou are mindful of him’ I would reply.

He would then come to back me once I am committed to face the consequences.

Writing on the death of Malcolm Marshall, the West Indian fast bowler, Tim Hector the late said ‘Death, it appears, is random. It is, for sure, a heartless thief in the night. Malcolm Marshall’s death had that effect. Numbing’.

Those sentiments are applicable in this instance on the death of my friend Howell.

May Howell Richard Bramble rest in eternal peace. Until that great day my friend!

Shalom! Shalom!

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Claude Gerald (Howell’s long standing friend)

Claude Gerald

Claude Gerald

How do I certify a tribute to a man who is now dead who normally certifies what I write? Some 6 years ago this month Howell requested that I do his funeral tribute after he certified one I did for a departed loved one. I deflected the request as funny.

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Howell Richard Bramble (HRB) was my friend, my mentor, who became a brother.

True friendship is based on a shared value system. There is a mutual protection and promotion of each other and a desire to bring out the best in your friend.

Howell Bramble defined friendship and was a fiercely loyal friend. He will guard your back like a proverbial hen with her un-weaned chickens. I value his exceptional role in my life’s undertakings and the rich experience of a very long association.

His wife Ruby described us as beans from the same pod.

I had just entered my teens when I first saw Howell Bramble. He was speaking on the behalf of the Montserrat Labour Party in Cudjoe Head.  He was youthful, fiery, and vivacious, speaking without a script. (I learnt later, it was in his pocket). Words flew from his mouth, as he denounced the evils of the share cropping system that stifled Montserrat’s socio-economic progress. HRB had drawing power. His oratory was captivating.  It was compelling. He commanded listenership. He left you transformed and bewildered.

His life work had a civilizing influence on those touched. The welfare of Montserrat and its people was his driving force and his pen the main weapon of delivery.

I had become a Howellite and an acolyte. I had found a life’s model.

The love of cricket was central to my teenage years. HRB’s cricket commentary drew attention.  I wanted to meet him.   The closest was when he drove along Church Road, next to the cricket pitch at MSS,  in his sporty model cars, to record the evening Sports on Radio Montserrat.

Howell’s description of a cricket game was on par with the best there was internationally. Colourful language, mixed with lively figures of speech filled the airways. Reporting on a highly competitive league match he described the spin bowling of Bertram Burke and Frank Edwards as ‘beguiling’. I was truly beguiled by that word and headed to the Oxford Dictionary. Summarizing a Leeward Islands Match between Antigua and Montserrat at Sturge Park, he intoned that the crowd was ‘flabbergasted and indeed mesmerized by the array of stroke play by Jim Allen in his encounter with the great Andy Roberts’. This made me dove more deeply into my Oxford and my Thesaurus. The final dive as I recall was when he said matter-of-factly that ‘the bowling of Andy Fruity Roberts holds no terrors for local boy Jim Allen as we look forward to another enthralling day at the home of Leeward’s cricket, Sturge Park’. Those quotations are as fresh as a rose petal in my mind.

Howell’s fascination with language fascinated me. I began to read and to practice to the joy of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Holding, a Principal/wife combination of English and Indian origin at the MSS.  My grades took off unknowing to Howell.

The Montserrat Times owned by Howell flourished after the 1978 change of government. Howell lead a one-man crusade (Tim Hector-like) in a ten year spirited opposition to the new government’s attitude to governance. He was investigative and can build a convincing story from a molehill. He had a probing mind. His thoughts were fluid. But he was fair. When you are in the company of a master your duty is to listen and to probe but not to take charge. I did just that.

It was risky to be in such an association at the start of one’s career, especially in that politically charged atmosphere where your loyalty counts. I would not allow anyone to choose my friends for me. I was neck and neck with Howell, in the trenches and purposely visible and never took cover. I wanted to get into Howell’s head and learn how to write stories and particularly editorials. In 5-10 minutes flat he would manifest an editorial, in long meandering sentences that were punchy in flavour, rich in poetry and philosophical quotes.

There are writers but Howell Bramble was gifted beyond the ordinary. I found in the library a piece he wrote for his father in the early fifties. It startled for its quality. It was just pass his 19th birthday!

Without his knowing I began to write pieces on my pet subjects like organic gardening; the influence of trees on the air quality and  dairy goats production. He gave me  centre spreads with  huge pictures of myself. He was as pleased as I was.

Some 15 years ago I ventured into opinion writing locally mainly. Howell had started the Leeward’s Times in Nevis.  I contacted and sent him samples of my manuscripts.

And he was firstly keen to make sure that I was credible and wholesome in my arguments.

A call from HRB was a moving moment. ‘You are risking much with those comments lad. They will come after you on Montserrat. They will hurt you Claude. You may be advised to back off that position’ he would say.  ‘My Father is Jehovah. Who is man that thou are mindful of him’ I would reply.

He would then come to back me once I am committed to face the consequences.

Writing on the death of Malcolm Marshall, the West Indian fast bowler, Tim Hector the late said ‘Death, it appears, is random. It is, for sure, a heartless thief in the night. Malcolm Marshall’s death had that effect. Numbing’.

Those sentiments are applicable in this instance on the death of my friend Howell.

May Howell Richard Bramble rest in eternal peace. Until that great day my friend!

Shalom! Shalom!