George Graham

Home, Sweet Home

Myrie3miss_world2As I scrolled through the news this morning, waiting for something to trigger a response that might end up as a blog, I felt trapped in a time warp with everything that needed saying already said.

The aftermath of the horror in Paris continued to unfold with a young woman blowing herself up and a young man shot to death by police on the trail of the weekend’s terror suspects. French and Russian bombs, meanwhile, were raining down on Syria in reprisal for ISIS atrocities. And American bombing continued unabated, even with increased intensity.

The various ongoing debates in America continued, pro and con, seeming so contrived, so politically self-serving, so unworthy of further comment. Another general election is drawing close, and the obligatory campaign chatter fills the news.

And then, as I scrolled through my in basket, I came across a video from my friend Margaret, providing a breath of fresh air to relieve the grittiness of the news.

In the video, Jamaica’s Miss World representative, 24 year-old Sanneta (“Pilgrim”) Myrie (shown above at work and at play), briefly discusses her life and her homeland, smiling all the time of course for she is a Jamaican and Jamaicans smile in spite of everything.

The YouTube video goes on to other topics, including past winners of the Miss World pageant. They are all delightful young women, not just physically flawless but also impressively accomplished. Miss Myrie is a medical doctor whose passions include interpretive dancing. She runs an after-school program and mentors inner-city youth in Kingston.

While I find it somewhat absurd for young women to be  judged like that, I have to confess it was a relief to look at them instead of the masked visages of jihadists and the contorted features of “outraged” politicians.

What prompted this morning’s blog, however, was not the parade of beauty contestants but the charming presentation by Miss Myrie and the background scenes and rhythms accompanying it.

Viewing the video, a wave of homesickness engulfed me.

I look out of my den window and I can glimpse the lake. The sun is shining and the grass is still bright green. A warm wind ruffles the oak branches and kicks up whitecaps. This is Florida, after all, and the climate is not that much different from Jamaica’s.  The terrain, although missing the mountains, is also similar.

But Florida is not Jamaica. Nowhere else in this wide world is Jamaica.

After all these years away, my island home still calls out to me, its magic as spellbinding as ever.

Click for the video.

Click for more about Sanneta Myrie.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for