Saturday, 9 April 2011

Of Pink Grapefruit and Sorrel

It's a tradition among my sisters and I that whenever anyone of us returns from being overseas for an extended period of time we make sure we head to Bridgetown (the capital) to get what we affectionately call a "Sister M". This bundle of joy wrapped up in a simple plastic cup is made by the sweetest and most hardworking woman: Sister (Margrita) Marshall.

Now sister Marshall is quite famous on the island for something completely different from a refreshing treat. According to an article on Trivester (Daily Christian News), "Sister Margrita Marshall is a stalwart on the Barbadian Gospel Music scene, and is by far the most popular female gospel singer in Barbados". She is known for her signature high pitched falsetto, and for possibly her most famous song, "Walk Holy". Listen to it and you'll have to resist the urge to shake a limb or two :).

Link to a short video clip of Sister Marshall Performing "Walk Holy". 

So on Friday I had to go to town to pick up some stuff for a cake order. It was super hot and humid and noisy- I hate going there for all those reasons, as well as the fact that every two steps a taxi man asks me (in a pseudo American voice):   "You need a taxi Miss?", like I am a tourist! I don't know what's up with that? I from bout here! LOL. I digress... Yes, so to make my trip worth it, I headed to the west side of town to find Sister Marshall and her bright Yellow (Yellow Pages) snow cone cart. [*Please note it is not actually a cone- it is in a cup- a nice BIG cup :) ]

Now we have Sister Marshall's movements down to a "T". Lol, that sounds a little "stalker-ish", but a girl needs to know these things if she is to ensure a trip to town will be worth it. In the mornings she's usually up town- I think coming along Tudor Bridge- but by afternoon she is usually en route to, or in the Bus Stand by the General Post Office.  It was afternoon, so there she was right in front of the Post office, under the shade of a tree, yamming down her lunch.

I was ecstatic, but its always hard to find a park around there at that time of day, and I had no idea how I was going to manage this. I was alone in the car and couldn't circle while someone got it for me.  First I turned left, right before the building, and thought about risking a 3 minute park in a "No Parking Zone" but my conscience won and I exited hoping I could find a spot in one of the parking lots on the other side of the street. There was none and my heart dropped. I could almost taste the ice in my mouth and I couldn't bear the thought of driving home without one. Then I saw there was a guy parked in front of an office standing out side his car chatting. There was just enough space for me to park behind him, run across the street to get my "cone" and dash back. So I did just that! I parked behind him, ask him nicely and he said sure!  He even followed me and bought one for him and his kid.

Across the street Sister M hooks me up!

Now when I was growing up, there were like 3 or 4 flavours you could choose from, along with the option of condensed milk poured on top. At Christmas time when Jams, Mom and I bought from her she still only had a few flavours, but I today there were about 10 bottles on her cart! There was Ginger, Lemon, Blueberry, Pineapple,Strawberry Orange and more, but when I heard Pink Grapefruit that grabbed my attention!

It went down like this:

Sister M: "...Pink Grapefruit".
J: "Is the grapefruit good?"
Sister M: "Yes girl"
J: "I'll have that!"
Sister M: "You know what, try it with the Sorrel".
(She saw my face)
Sister M: "Girl I won't put you wrong!".
(She handed me my cup, packed in tight and tall. I pay her.)
Sister M: "Taste it and tell me".
J: Mmm...You're right. It's so goooood!
Sister M: "You see, I told you I won't put your wrong."

It was a perfect blend of sour and sweet and certainly tasted like real juice- not the syrupy stuff you usually get. Heaven I tell ya! I returned to the car, negotiated a really tight 3-point turn (assisted by some very helpful gentlemen) and headed home sipping and crunching on the concoction.

Sister Margrita Marshall had no idea how much she made my day on Friday. I will certainly be returning there very soon for another one, but as I sit here thinking about this special lady, I can't help but ponder the fact that she too, never subscribed to "Jack of all trades, master of none". She has her snow cone thing, her music and Lord knows what else she does! I'm sure much more.

I remember meeting Sister Marhsall for the first time in a music setting back in 2007. We both performed at an event for the Barbados Cancer Society at Western Light Nazarene Church in St. James. That night she came up to me after I sang and started chatting. We talked about music and life and church. She encouraged me to always put God first and to never choose to compromise God's standards for a career. She said life can be hard at times but that you can always find something to give thanks for and that she thanks God for every day He gives her. I thought it was so nice of her to share with me like that. Her encouragement was a real blessing and I was honored that she thought so highly of my music. I find that in Bim musicians/artists may say something good about a person among their peers, but don't actually tell the person! I try to do it whenever/wherever I can because I know that a little bit of encouragement and acknowledgement can really go a long way, but I don't do it enough. A compliment just means so much more when it comes from someone in your field and someone your respect.

It seems as though Sister M is known for her encouraging spirit. In the above mentioned Trivester article Barbados Gospel Fest founder and director Adrian Agard states: "One of her strongest inputs in Barbadian gospel music, to my mind, extends beyond the stage. Sister is an encourager. Whether or not she is actively involved in the concert, she can be seen supporting the younger artistes, actively involved in worship as they minister."

I give God thanks for Sister Margarita Marshall and her ministry of feeding the spirit and quenching our thirst :) I hope you try her Grapefruit and Sorrel snow cone. It's a mere $1.50 BBD ($0.75US)- a steal if you ask me! Oh, and try encouraging someone this week!

With all the love I have to give,

For information on Sorrel: Click here.              

Did you know that Grapefruit is an 18th
Century hybrid first bred in Barbados?
Check out this link:
 Wikipedia Grapefruit History Article.


  1. This made my day! I am even more excited to get my Sister M when i get home!

  2. Jennifer Pollard9 April 2011 at 21:27

    Great article, Janelle

  3. Sorrel and Grapefruit! Man I need to get me a Sister M, which means I need to get me a plane ticket home soon.

  4. Cheese on bread J, you got my mouth hey watering for one o' those. Don't have any reason to be in town soon but I'm sure I can think of one. Lovely tribute to Sister M.


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