AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Peter Ray Blood and I was not supposed to live.
At my birth, the doctors gave my father a choice: my mother or me. I was born (dangerously) premature.
I did live, though, and went on to a near half-century long career in journalism.
I am a product of Laventille and now live close to Lapeyrouse Cemetery.
I am the eldest of five children, four sisters.
I have been married twice. But I am single now.
I have seven biological children, six daughters and one son, plus two adopted daughters.
I have truly been blessed.
Broken marriages do have a debilitating toll on family life.
I have maintained a wonderful relationship with most of my children. I love each of my children equally. Including the estranged ones.
My extended family, the Bloods of Mayaro and the Goddards of Barbados, is enormous. One uncle had over 30 acknowledged children and my father's family seems to be related to all of Mayaro. Including the Sobions, Massys, Richardsons, Peterses, Riverses and Whiskeys.
My scores of cousins include musician Pelham Goddard, former government ministers Keith Sobion and Emmanuel Hosein and the calypsonian Gypsy.
My education was at Moulton Hall Methodist School and Queen's Royal College.
And tertiary-level education via IBM, studying computer science.
I believe that there is an afterlife and our essence lives on in our descendants after we have left this plane.
In my belief system, we stay connected to our ancestors, and pay homage to them.
I believe in God and that all humans, are connected, regardless of religious faiths, (those) manmade entities.
At 12, I wanted to be a priest, (like) my friend. now Canon Winston Joseph. in Miami.
I got turned off the more I became involved in church.
Around 15, I dropped Caribbean history and began studying African history (leading me to) the African ancestral faith, Orisha, more familiarly Shango. Spirituality is the essence of man.
LGBTQ people are entitled to full human rights (like) anyone else.
(But) the rights, as ordained by religion, may not be the same as human and civil rights.
I believe that nothing is permanent but we're all here for a brief time. And then we are gone.
Man has always manipulated power, influence, science, technology and knowledge to subdue weaker beings.
I don't think that God has anything to do with this. It's all about man's wickedness to his brother.
At my age, I truthfully do not worry about actually dying, but more of having to suffer as I exit this plain.
I have a deep phobia of flying, so every flight is a living nightmare.
One of my fears is the aircraft crashing and my body never being found, to give my family and loved ones closure.
My job has taken me to Italy, the USA, Canada, South America and across the Caribbean.
I have judged Carnival in New York, Miami, Jamaica and Barbados.
I have judged every TT cultural expression, including calypso, pan, parang, chutney, Pichakaree, Saaj Sammelan and Scouting for Talent.
I still get goosepimples when I listen to Jimi Hendrix's version of the American anthem. And Joe Cocker's You Are So Beautiful from the Woodstock Festival.
Today, musically, compositions have become less personal and sentimental over the years. Music has become more frenetic.
Locally, popular compositions have become less conscious. With less relevance to social and political issues.
Seems that money, hype, frivolity, narcissism and illusion are the order of the day.
Google and social media are the dearth (sic) of young journalists. In terms of access to information, we are in a better place.
Unfortunately, much of the information is fake, or posted to create chaos and confusion.
(Today) there is less empathy for one's neighbour. And the village no longer raises a child.
Children now make babies, feeding truancy, delinquency and vacuous, ill-informed minds.
Crime is definitely higher, with criminals, greed and corruption feeding gradual decay socially, culturally and politically.
Globally, there is a subtle increase in ethnic intolerance. The quick fix, shake ’n’ bake solutions and disposable items have taken precedence of our lives.
Spirituality is systematically being pushed out the door, with organised religion being an easy get rich quick option.
I lost my job in the pandemic, forcing me to adjust my way of living.
I have always been comfortable in my own space so being confined hasn't really affected me.
If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, it would be lobster. With oodles of butter. And potatoes.
Once in my life I hit someone. At school. A bigger boy. And got my a--- whupped by him.
Another time, and the recipient fell unconscious. I almost got into trouble that time. ‘Cause I was a karateka.
I can't remember what my age was the first time I was given that (life-changing story) about being premature at birth.
Being premature never affected my life or health. I participated in all the activities little boys participated in.
As told by my parents, the doctors told my father he needed to make a choice between my mother and me at my birth because I was premature and my mother had some kind of complication.
He didn't make the choice and I am told that my first few weeks were spent in an incubator.
My mother lived until age 75, outliving my father, who was a health and fitness freak.
And I am approaching 70.
My mother and I always had a special bond. I always had a spiritual connection with her.
When abroad, I miss TT music the most. And being able to get a good-tasting roti and a red Solo.
A Trini is one of the most resourceful and adaptable humans on planet earth.
And a creative soul, as evidenced by the creation of the national instrument and Carnival.
Trinidad and Tobago is my mother. She is the centre of my existence, my sustenance, my development, my life.
Read the full version of this feature on Saturday at www.BCPires.com