Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have been tossing around for about an hour, just a little longer than the yapping dog has been barking outside, it has not stopped. I try my usual fall asleep routines I began to perfect when I was a public high school teacher; deep, slow breathing, the Our Father and the Scientific Statement of Being. It is as if something cannot rest. Each time I begin my prayers, my mind wanders to some problem to solve or a character in the movie, “Precious”, I watched right before bed. As I sit here in the middle of the night, I think back to being in Miami visiting my mom and as I can’t sleep I write a letter to God as a prayer about my mom. I chose now to finally wake up because quite definitely there is something for me to notice. Why do dogs bark at nothing for hours? Why don’t some mothers defend their children? I connected with the purpose of the characters in this movie. Precious wanted only to be someone else, somewhere else and her teacher spent her day with her movie star looks sticking it out as a flashlight in the dark for her students who just by the mere fact of their uneducation, stood alone. Precious admits that as she sits listening to her teacher and her partner converse, she has no idea of what they are saying. I realize tonight that many of my sleep-deprived nights as a teacher might not have been due to stress of my own but that of my students.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I and I a Pirate

Looking this good at 60, U Dun Know!“ Ya mon. I got da hole ting ready.” These, the words from Alstead, the captain of our maiden voyage, honoring Bobby’s 60th birthday. Alstead and Eddie had told me many times, “It dun ready”, referring to the ladder, seats and overall repair of Alstead’s sturdy, old-school Coxen Hole fishing boat. Eddie promised to supply the beverages. 30 minutes after I arrived at the dock with the surprised birthday boy, Eddie explained that his son had drank all the beer that night before. He did tell me this same story 3 times in a row. He apparently doesn’t realize the power of the disappointed teacher stare he was receiving at that moment. So, after the 15 party passengers arrived on time for the surprise, we watched as the preparations were made. Alstead made 3 trips with an old beat up truck. The first load consisted of a borrowed pulperia table and chair set, which like the contents of the second load, a huge sofa, were lashed to the railings of the boat with rope. The third load was 4 cases of brew and ice. It was a Sunday, no liquor sales on church day, so good thing Alstead’s niece owned the beer depot!
Barely made it out of Coxen Hole
After 45 more minutes of watching Alstead and what now appeared to be half of the mechanics in the neighborhood pluck and turn engine parts, the generator shut off, the roaring engine stood on its own and we were off. It was a leap of faith, we knew if that vessel left the harbor, we’d be in for a true island cruise.
Holy Sheiks, even in the Caribbean

As was promised, we were able to use the ladder to get back on the boat after our bathroom breaks. Knowing the dangers we faced to get back aboard the vessel, we threw caution to the wind and jumped into the huge swells in the deep, south side waters. Bobby was able to lash this giant wooden ladder to the side of the boat with the help of 2 of our “crew”, for whom, there was a fair ration of dark rum. Mind you the beer was reserved for us land dwellers. We threw ourselves back over the 4-foot high deck rail of the beast, sliding back to seated positions as soon as possible, trying to avoid cracking our skulls on the deck, which was now slick with spilled fuel.
Gracie, she don't swim, but she climbs a mean ladder!
Although signs of precarious conditions abounded, such as countless glass beer bottles aboard our slippery boat deck, not a radio nor rescue device in sight, and a diminishing ice supply, we prevailed, staying true to our pirate ambitions. We dropped anchor in a calm protected cove, the color of a turquoise blue swimming pool. The food, which Datson and Gracie had brought on board, was soon brought to the table, and the cannon ball dive competition from off the top deck ensued. In celebrating our good friend’s birthday, all onboard having originated from different parts of the globe such as the Honduran mainland, the Island, the States, the UK, Argentina and Holland, we found ourselves pirates for a day. Now familiar on this fiberglass boat which became famed not for looks, but for style.
I and I, We Pirates