Raymond ‘Lino’ Hughes, thank you for the music

Dear Editor,

  Permit me to send this letter viral because Lino was a St. Martin/St. Maarten patriot and a gifted musician par excellence.

  Comrades, during his lifetime Raymond "Lino" Hughes produced quite a lot of memorable music to showcase our lovely island. And I would like to add, to his credit, that I believe he was an integral member of "Creole Stars" band. And his big band "Lino and the Hardway", everybody remembers that band. The band could play, plus it had an amazing brass section. It was with that particular band that he produced his signature tune "St. Martin is my home", which prominently displays the abiding love that he had for his country.

  I think it was during the year 2015 when I sent my letter to the Editor with the caption "The Sunshine-City, Guava-Berry Sound". Comrades, I gave out copies of that letter to all the St. Martin/St. Maarten outstanding musicians and artists that I thought of. But I could not in good conscience leave out Lino.

  As fate would have it, I had the good habit (at that time) of hanging out on the Marigot waterfront with the taxi drivers and vendors almost every Saturday. And one day Lino (for lack of a better word) came on the scene. But I did not have any letters with me. Nevertheless, I approached him cordially and I told him my story. And I let him know that I would really like for him to have one of my letters. And that I looked forward to meeting him on the waterfront the following week-end. Unfortunately, he did not come the following weekend. No big thing, I understood his situation.

  I cannot recall when it was, but one day he came on the scene. I greeted him nicely, we shook hands and I handed the letter that I had for him. He told me that he would not be staying; we shook hands and he left. A couple of Saturdays later he came on the scene, and he came directly to me. We shook hands, as usual, and he thanked me. He told me with a big smile on his face that he liked the letter. Your comrade was overjoyed to know that I made Lino feel happy. And he never forgot me. Whenever he would come on the waterfront and I was present he would acknowledge me. And we would sit and have a chat. I feel ecstatic to know that I gave him his flowers before the good Lord took him in the sweet bye-bye.

  In closing, I would like to wish his family well. Keep the faith!

Julien F. Petty

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