My name is Floyd Toussaint and I drive a backhoe.
The Toussaint family is real big. I have plenty cousins and a reasonable amount of brothers and sisters, too.
My father had nine kids in all, two girls and the rest is boys.
I’m the last in the boys but there’s a girl after me. So I’m not the baby, but I’m the baby boy.
I live El Dorado now but I’m from Covigne Road, Diego Martin.
Boy days in Covigne Road was thiefing mango. Thiefing everything. Crab. Everything.
BC Pires tell me that David Rudder says every man in Trinidad, as a boy, “nearly” get catch thiefing mango.
That’s David Rudder: always cracking a joke on the tour bus.
I worked with David & Charlie’s Roots for plenty years. Not as a musician, but as a roadie. All in Canada, New York, all over the world.
Sleep in plenty hotel rooms, sleep on plenty couch. Plenty “on the ground,” too.
I have two sons, Warren, 22, and Nkosi Toussaint, 26, but me and my wife doesn’t pull.
If BC Pires tell me I don’t look 47, is because I’s sleep early now. Since I don’t work music again, after backhoe, is home and relax.
From small, I liked backhoes. Wherever I see a backhoe man, I always go, ask a question. Get myself involved.
Backhoe. Tractor. Truck. Anything.
I came to this backhoe job 13 years now, same company, never shift to go nowhere!
I leave El Dorado five o’clock every morning. I’s leave home in the night and go back in the night.
I’ve had two jobs in my life: roadie and backhoe operator.
So I on the road most of my life. And I’m still on the road.
No matter you try to get out the road, you still on the road. That’s how you make it in my both fields.
Even though you picking up the garbage, is a job, so you have to love what you doing.
If you love what you do, it becomes easy.
That is one of the most critical thing that we all have to get to (understand).
I don’t even come in town again for Carnival. I’s go to J’Ouvert in Tunapuna.
As I walk out (my gate), J’Ouvert start. As I walk back up the road, Carnival done!
I’m a cookist. I don’t ‘fraid that.
Since we small, we cooking labba by the side of the road. Three stone (open fire). Best pot you could ever cook.
We’s oildown men.
My mother was Vincy. and every two weeks, we used to get a box of provision on the wharf.
We like hard food. Dumpling. Blue food. We don’t go off on this rice, rice.
And as the cook done, the first person to get food is we grandmother, who passed at age 98 and she never eat rice yet. When she coming to Trinidad to spend holidays, she send two box of provision to reach before she come.
A modern backhoe have four forward gears and come in automatic. The cab is air-conditioned. The seat have a pump to adjust it.
Your bucket on a floating system so you don’t feel it bounce. You don’t feel the road. Is very comfortable. Come like you home! Is your home away from home.
You have sounds. You play whatever music you want and you head up the road. Just don’t go on your phone!
I listen to only 104FM or my own soca and calypso CDs. Not dub or dancehall. I love my culture.
Because of traffic, I leave two hours before I supposed to be wherever I supposed to be.
I rather wait on the customer than the customer wait on me.
his job don’t have no “best” part because, every day you go, is something different you meet up. So you have to (adjust) to suit.
But the real best part of the job is when you don’t have to work: holidays is the best part of the job.
Toco is my relaxation. The beach. Fish broth. Everything, everything. You get the best homemade ice cream on that side.
My other relaxation is to head up the islands.
BC Pires stop to talk to me because he see me eating a pack of Chee Zees next to my backhoe and he want to know if that was a good breakfast for a big man.
But the Chee Zees was for the smoked herring I had eat right before. For the breath. To dampen the smoked herring. Can’t be breathing smoked herring on people whole morning. That is bad business.
My grandfather who dead and gone say, “Trouble does come on a horse back, but it does leave on a snail.”
I don’t have no problem with the state of the country because I understand what it is going on. I come from Covigne Road and I have a house in Bagatelle, where the shooting happened. I know the guy who died.
These fellas now born and they want to play a bad crab. These fellas do people things. You can’t want to do people things and come back five minutes after and say, “I surrender!”
Sometimes these children going El Dorado Blue and El Dorado Brown have more money than me. They have weed, they have car, they gambling on the side of the road before they reach to school!
I see that with my own eyes! I could take out pictures of that and show you!
That’s why, when somebody reach to blame the teacher, I does just laugh. The teacher didn’t put you to that; you learning that from where you come from!
My sons grow with me and with their grandmother who passed, and so they grow on a certain target.
And so far (so good). I only had to go into school to sign for betterment. No complaint. The both of them doing very good.
People’s call it all different things but, to me, a Trini is born in Trinidad. When you born in Trinidad, you are Trini to the bone.
No matter where I go, and I’ve been a LOT of places, I just want to come back to my Trinidad.
Trinidad is a paradise for me. I love my Trinidad.
But I was never a Tobago person. I will go and spend a two days, but then is back to Trinidad.
I love Toco and, yes, Toco isn’t so far away from Tobago – but I stop right there, in Toco.
Read the full version of this feature on Saturday at www.BCPires.com