My last sermon for my dad’s funerals-El Bricon: from womb to tomb!

The following was my latest words for my dad’s funerals in Port-au-Prince last week. I call it “El Bricon: from womb to tomb.” This is in a nutshell his life story. I’m excited to share more about him and those closed to him in an upcoming book to reveal his memoir, and keep his story alive, and fulfill, for myself, a sense of purpose, and accomplished mission.

I am glad to have listened to his story to the last moment. I missed some moments. But, I cope with what I have, and what others told me.

Our story makes us who we are. We are the best ones to tell our own story in our own words.

I spoke in Creole. I’m just recopy the words I wrote on paper the way I wrote them. I’m asking my friends to volunteer and translate them in French or English for a wider audience.

For this blog, I mostly write in English. This is an exception.

Thank you.

RJF

_____________________________________

Reveran Pè Johnson Thévenin,

Zanmi, Fanmi

Frè-m, Sè-m,

Jou ki 6 Desan’m 1930, Erick Jean-Francois fèt nan Chanbellan, yon komin Jérémie, ki nan depatman GrandAns.

Papa-l, Vénélas Ladouceur Jean-Francois, te yon kiltivatè. Manman-l, Marie-Anne Europe Juin, yon komèsan.

Yo te rankontre nan mache Moron.

Vénélas al Kiba nan Zafra. Li kite Europe  nouris leve Erick pou kont-li. Lè-l tounen, ti gason-an te gentan gen 5 an.

Erick swiv manman-l toupatou.

Li kòmanse lekòl nan Chambellan. Apre, la-l Moron. Epi, li fè kèk klas segondè nan Jérémie.

Li te oblije kite lekòl pou-l fè monte desan’n ak manman-l ki tap grandi komès li nan Pòtoprens.

Nan lane 55, yo deside rete Pòtoprens, kote yo louvri yon boutik sou bòdmè-a tou pre kote wharf Jérémie an te ye a lepòk. Se Epicerie Dieu Tout Puissant ki te nan angl Boulva La Saline nan pwent ri Makajou.

Erick eseye anpil ti mete tankou mekanik, tayè, mannèv, jouskaske l-rive rantre nan gad la kòm rekri nan Kan Lamaten, Kafou.

Apre 9 mwa fèmen nan kan, li komisyone sòlda, epi-l anrole nan Kazèn Desalin, kite-l fè yon long karyè militè.

Se nan papòt Kazèn Desalin, kote-l tap monte lagad, an 1958, li te resevwa yon bal nan zèpòl goch li, lè kòmando Paskèt, Dominique, Perpignan tap eseye yon panzou pou ranvèse prezidan Francois Duvalier.

Kòmando-a te rive rantre nan Kazèn nan. Se yon lòt sòlda ki tap fè gad avè-l, ki rive trennen-l nan san-l, lage-l nan sal ofisye dijou-a, ki sove lavi-l.

Yo te opere-l nan lopital militè. Li viv ak bal la andan’n tout rès vi-l.

Apre operasyon an, pandan-l tap repran’n li, li retounen al bay manman’l koutmen nan boutik la nan kwabosal.

Se nan boutik la, yon aprèmidi, li rankontre yon bèl jèn dam, de grande taille, ki sot La Tremblay, komin Croix-des-Bouquets, ki vin’n achte.

Yo koze. Rès la se yon bèl istwa, na rakonte-w nan yon lòt okazyon.

Dam sa-a, se manman’m, Elucianne Momplaisir, ki rive marye ak papa-m, Erick, nan lane 1961.

Ansan’m yo fè 11 pitit. 3 mouri nan pasaj. 2 mouri nan dènye lane sa yo. Manman’m te mouri an 1984. Frè-m Erickson Jean-Francois mouri an 2009; Gransè nou Edeline Jean-Francois, nou pa wè-l depi jou tranbleman tè-a 12 Janvye 2010.

Map, mande nou, silvouplè, pou nou pran yon ti moman, rekèyman, nan memwa moun sa yo.

Mèsi.

Nou rete 7 jodi-a.

Mwen-n men-m Roosevelt ak madan’m mwen, Marie-Josee, ki la-a;

Yanick ki la-a;

Luc-Daniel ak madan’m  li Nathalie, ki la-a;

Marc-Eddy ki la-a;

Marie-France ak mari-l Yves Bellevue, ki la-a;

Aderson ki la-a, ak madam-m li Geromina;

Abacuse (dènye pitit El Bricon apre lanmò manman-m);

ak pitit pitit nou yo: Jonathan, Cassandre, Axel, Sophie, Erick, Olivier, Stéphanie, Christopher, Sebastien, Alex.

Sa-a se fanmi dirèk nou. Men Brick se te papa bon kè pou tout moun: zanmi ki pase lakay, fanmi ki vin’n fè la descente lakay. Pòt li toujou lovri. li toujou prèt pou-l padone. Li toujou gen yon ti souri sou bouch li. Sa-a se Brick.

Vi nou se te yon vi nòmal. Papa-m se jandam nan kazèn; manman’m se machan’n nan boutik la. Kòm nou pat ka al nan kazèn nan tout tan, nou te toujou ak manman’m nan boutik la.

Nou pase anpil katye nan Pòtoprens: ri Joseph Janvier, Nan Cite- Delmas 10, ak baz la ki se Rue Fourchard # 51, nan Kafou fèy.

Papa-m the chwazi 2 kalite lekòl pou nou. Ti fi yo al ka mè Bèlè ( Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours au Bel-Air) nan tèt ri Makajou, ti gason yo al sou Bisantnè kay frè yo (Ecole Jean XXIII des frères du Sacré-Coeur). Lè nou vin’n pi gran, fi yo al Saint-Francois d’Assise, gason yo al Canado. Kèk nan nou al nan lòt lekòl takou: Henry Premier, Wetsèl Pierre-Louis, Petit Séminaire Collège Saint-Martial, Catts Pressoir.

Nou vin’n rele papa’m Papi Brick se apre kèk jou nou fè nou pat wè-l paske-l te rete konsignen nan kazèn.

Istwa Non Brick la sòti nan yon emission blag Fito Popo te anime chak swa a 8è sou radyo Progrè ki te anba 2èm avni sou granri. Fito Popo te gen yon piblisite ki di “O… apa Brick tounen…” epi gen yon lòt vwa ki repon’n “kòm si-l tale”.

Apre 2-3 jou konsignen nan kazèn, El Bricon rantre lakay. M sonje, tout ti noun yo kontan pou al salwe-l, epi m di, byen fò “O… apa Brick tounen…”, e pi-l repon-l ak yon ti vwa kè kontan “kòm si-l tale”.

Depi lè sa-a non Brick la tou rete. Nou vin’n mete El Bricon avèk yon slogan: El Bricon, que es un hombre que nunca faya…

El Bricon, que es un hombre que nunca faya vle di pou nou se yon nèg ki toujou pran responsablite-l, ki gen disciplin.

Li pa jan-m gen lòt djòb. Apre kazèn nan, li transfere assistant chèf polis nan Okap, epi li rantre nan Gran katye Jeneral kote-l jwen-n retrèt li nan lane 1987.

Apre retrèt li, li mennen yon vi pezib lakay li. Li vin’n pèdi chan vizyon-l ak maladi glocòm.

li te viv rès vi-l avèg. Men l develop yon memwa ekstraòdinè: li sonje tout dat fèt tout moun, pitit ak pitit pitit, dat mayaj, nimero telefòn ni sa kap viv isit tankou sa ki laba.

Li vin’n gen yon pasyon pou zafè legliz. Li te renmen chante. Li te men’m rive konpoze yon chante.

Se yon chante li chante chak fwa nou invite-l pase yon moman ak nou. Depi-l fin’n fè lapriyè, fòk li chante chante sa-a ki gen 4 kouplè ak yon refren pou’l repran’n 4 fwa.

Se toujou yon pale lè nou pral mange ansan’m pou’n di “El Bricon ou mèt priye. Men,  ou pa bezwen chante tout chante a non”. Repons li “pa gen pwoblèm”. Priyè ka pi kout, men pou li chante se priye 2 fwa.

Erezman pou ou maten an, m pa sonje tout kouplè yo, men’m ta kontan repran’n yon pati nan refren chante sa-a ke-l rele “Si nan lavi te gen lanmou Jezikri”.

——-

Si nan Legliz, te genyen lanmou Jezikri,

Renmen pwochen-w jan ou renmen tèt ou,

Ou ta an jwa-a,

Chak jou ou tap priye,

Gras tap desan’n an abondans.

Si Kris la vi’n jwen’n nou nan division,

nou pap sove-e,

Si kris la vin’n jwen’n nou nan pale moun map,

nou pap sove-e….

Nou pap dove-eeeeeee…..

———

Erick Jean-Francois, Papi Brick, El Bricon kite anro fas la tè-a jou jedi 13 Octòb 2016 a 10è nan Mattoon. Soufrans sou tè-a fini pouli.

Nan nom fanmi Jean-Francois, ak tout lòt fanmi ki afekte pa dèy sa-a, tankou fanmi Casimir, Salnave, Bellevue, laborite, Juin, map di nou tout yon gwo mèsi.

Mèsi pou tan sa-a nou pass ansan’m pou nou tande istwa Erick Jean-Francois, El Bricon, que es un hombre que nunca…. nunca faya.

M swete ou jwen-n nan istwa sa-a yon rezon pou-w pataje istwa pa-w, istwa fanmi-w, pou la vi-w rive konekte ak lòt pou pote plis limyè kote ki gen fè nwa  anro fas la tè-a.

Nou pral depoze rès kò-a nan Parc du Souvenir, Tabare. Nou invite-w, si-w kapab, vin-n akonpagne Erick Jean-Francois, jusqu’à cette demeure.

E m ta mande nou bat yon gwo bravo pou vi sa-a nap selebre jodi-a.

Mèsi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “My last sermon for my dad’s funerals-El Bricon: from womb to tomb!

  1. Roosevelt,

    Please know my prayers and thoughts for your loss inspired my last talk to our club. The title of the talk was “Remember.” While I was writing it, you and your dad was in my heart.

    I believe David sent to all club members the link to the Youtube posting. If you did not receive it, the link is below: https://youtu.be/PgGWBINXvwA

    Andy

    >

  2. Please do forward the French and/or English version when available…. I am so looking forward to read your homage to your Dad.

    Lire en Créole est trop laborieux pour moi.

    Thank you/Merci!

    Evangéline

    ________________________________

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