Monday, July 1, 2013

Jump Up!

Musicians and vendors set up in the streets to sell their wares. Steel drum players were on every corner, people in colorful costumes danced in the streets to the calypso music. I wandered by them, taking everything in. The girls were beautiful, dressed in bright colorful dresses. One girl danced up to me and threw several beaded necklaces around my neck. She laughed as she pulled me into her dance, I tried to follow along, but she was too fast for me. I laughed and threw up my hands as I wandered over to where a vendor was cooking some kind of meat on a kabob. It smelled wonderful. I bought one, and stood to the side while I ate it. I love listening to the musical voices of the local people mixed in with the metallic sound of the steel drums. It sounds like a rhythmic, living song. A small parade of people wearing shiny masks danced by. They threw candy and more beads to the crowd as everyone cheered and yelled for more. After about a half hour I had twenty strands of beads around my neck.
As it grew later the streets became more and more tightly crammed with people and it got harder to get around. Normally the crowds would have bothered me, but I was too distracted by the Mocko Jumbies. I’d read earlier that the meaning comes from Moko, an African god, and Jumbi, which is a West Indian term for good spirits or ghosts, so they are "Good Gods" or "Good Spirits." They danced in the streets on high stilts and wore colorful costumes with masks. Their presence was said to be a blessing, to mock evil spirits and scare them away. I was fascinated by how well they could dance on their high stilts to the lively Calypso of the steel pan drums. As they danced they touched people’s hands and posed for pictures. One of them danced over to me and I held my hand up, but then froze. He was wearing a mask, but I knew those eyes. He was the taxi driver who gave me the necklace. He winked at me, but before I could say anything he danced away.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shopping on the Island

As we drove Worm pointed out a few of his favorite cars. Many of the locals love putting sayings on their cars. The writing often went across the top part of their windshield. One would say “Sexy mama” while another had a verse from the bible. A lot of them were really funny. Worm’s favorites were, “Nothin to prove to dem haterz.” and “obsessed for perfectin.” He pulled up to a store called “de mix” I walked in and stood there, slightly confused. On the walls were hung a pack of batteries in a container that had yellowed with age, a pair of used pliers and a Barbie, also used. In the middle of the room were some shelves, which contained; two DVDs, a picture frame, a box of hair color, a Spiderman action figure and an old romance book. Behind the cash register sat a toothless, smiling, old man. I turned to look at Worm, hoping he wouldn’t say something mean. Instead he smiled a great big smile, picked up the action figure and proclaimed, loudly, “Just what I was looking for!”
He paid fifty cents for it and we hopped back in his car.
“I love that place, it always has just what I need.” he exclaimed joyfully. 
Shopping in St. Croix is a unique experience, one place has a note on the door that said, "I'm an alcoholic sitting at the Shooters bar next door, if you need something you can find me there." The frame up gives advice on when they are there and what to do if they are being robbed.  Many of the stores say they will be open during certain hours but due to "Island Time" it's a crap shoot as to whether or not they really will be there during those times. I wouldn't change a thing about all these eccentricities... it's what makes this island unique and beautiful.

Friday, June 21, 2013


"Right now I am alive, and life is beautiful, but that isn't meant to last. This is my time to fly, it's meant to be like a shooting star. Painfully bright and amazingly beautiful, but brief. That is how it's supposed to be. I think real courage lies in facing both life and death without fear."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


     The boys had a bonfire going and were cooking some of the fish they had caught off the pier.  I question the intelligence of eating fish that swam in polluted water, but I didn’t say anything. I did not, however, eat any of their offerings. A black cat which Worm told me belongs to him, sauntered over. Rash told me his name is Jupiter. The cat sat across from me and stared, with unblinking yellow-green eyes that seemed almost eerily human. I noticed he wasn't interested in the fish either, smart cat.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



      We slipped easily through the calm waters to the other side of the bay. It was pitch black, on this moonless night but I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable. As we kayaked into the little cove the fish became startled, I watched fascinated as the luminescence lit a path behind the fish when they swam away from our boats. I could see the outline of each fish as they swam, they were all small, nothing over a foot. The luminescence in this cove is amazingly bright, I've never seen anything so magical. I reached over the side of my boat and stroked the water, the droplets lit up in my hand. A handful of diamonds, it was breathtaking.
       The boys jumped into the water and were splashing each other like crazy, brilliant bursts of light followed their every movement. I didn't hesitate to join them, the water was cool and refreshing. As I moved the luminescence encased me in a glittery glow, I loved the way I felt as I swam in the water. So very alive, I took deep breaths of air and listened to the laughter around me.
       Dave brought out a bunch of super soakers and we spent hours spraying each other with beads of light. The streams of water reminded me of roman candles.  It was an enchanting, mystical world. Fireflies hovered on the embankment, drawn by the sparkling lights we created. The boys were loud and wild, but I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun. In so many ways they are rambunctious and crazy but there’s also this amazing loyalty and love between them. I treasure these moments, I know they will be with me for a lifetime.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rash and the mongoose.

      I didn’t realize the island had a zoo, so I was pretty excited. We all piled into Sawyer’s car and drove through the jungle. The ‘zoo’ turned out to be a clearing with several small cages containing four rabbits, a parrot, two turtles and a mongoose. In the yard roamed a handful of chickens, two goats and a scrawny peacock that had seen better days. The boys scrambled out and observed each animal with the intense interest one would usually devote to lions or giraffes. When they got to the mongoose Rash hurriedly walked around it, giving the cage a wide birth.
“Come on, Rash, the mongoose won’t hurt you.” Worm called out to him.
“No! You know I hate that thing.”
     He looked at me pleadingly, “I am not crazy, that thing is creepy, it sizes you up, like he’s gauging your worth. He’s a killer! Don’t go near him!”
He started shrieking as Sawyer and Worm grabbed him and dragged him toward the cage.
“You have to face your fears, Rash. It’s not good for you. He’s just a little, old, mongoose.”
Worm said convincingly.
“Besides he’s in a cage.” Sawyer added.
They dragged Rash to the cage.
“Look at how he’s looking at me with those yellow eyes! Look! Did you see that? That look of intelligence? He knows I hate him! He’s plotting! Let me go! Let me go!” He shrieked while he tried to claw over both Sawyer and Worm. They finally dropped him like a sack of potatoes and he ran off. I walked up to "the killer." .... I thought he looked kind of cute. He was curled in a ball and half asleep."Some killer!" I thought.