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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:36 am 
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Saturday, January 27, 2007


Yesterday, a new friend of mine (Dan) hopped into the car and said – “OK big mouth, show me this island or yours.” At least that is how I heard it. He claims to have said something like, “Hey Charles – Wow is that Junior? Cool, and your wife – how are you ma-am and yes, before you ask – I do smoke cigars and YESSSS that is beer breath and I just had a great game of golf at TDS. I love this Island. Ma-an do I ever and now Charles, show me more.”

Now, one of those two versions is the right one, perhaps we can negotiate a middle ground version.

As I said, Dan hopped in the car and Junior went behind to sit with Iris, and started listening to this new American version of “island lover”. (Must be confusing for a young kid.)

“So .. Dan, let’s do this … I drive and you talk and we see things together. OK?” Cool with me says this NYC piano player who has a stable of musicians at home covering his gigs while he lolls in the sun. Nice to know that the piano lessons paid off. We come to an agreement and off we go - stopping at gold mines and gold smelting plants that are now left in ruins. We walked around and felt the same ground that my grandfather did when he was paid US$ 0.10 per week to keep the books and do some light labor. We walked up to open pits where water once ran and the fine dirt let the heavier gold powder sift its way to the bottom. Dan stood there and held my sons hand and looked. His head turned slowly and he took in different angles of the same thing. It was going into his memory banks and he would surely draw from this in his life. “I never even dreamt this was here” he says and then I decided, ‘this guy is genuine and he will see something that only a few experience’ and that includes locals as well. Off we went….

We went to see an old man that sat in his house in a gulch between two mountains. He showed us medicines that still were in the growth stages in his yard and talked to us about sounds. He walked us to the special spot in his yard where you could hear the ocean surf as if it were right there. My new musician friend stood there and cupped his well trained ears and mouthed (not said) “Do you hear that?” I nodded. Junior looked at the three (ear-cupping adults and walked around the Cunucu and touched things he shouldn’t and collected stones in his hand. The old man gave Dan a “Sea-shell” spoon that was as old as the earth and Dan said thank you. And in saying it bowed a little – not much. Junior looked on. The old man (not knowing what to do) just bowed his head ever so very tiny slightly and then looked for an approval. It never came.

We shook hands and wrote in his diary and h talked about the beautiful women in his life of just under 82 years.

And then we drove to a place by the ocean where the rocks are high and where you cannot see the lives and families that exists there. We walked to the edge of the rock precipice and looked at an old staircase made of breaking cement and wooden slats held by rusting steel tubes. We walked down this staircase and saw that to the left was a home. A house made of many kinds of wood from many different sources such as the junk yard and the docks down town. We walked by and smelled food cooking. Human sounds came from inside. They were family sounds that barely smothered a Spanish soap opera (Novella) on a small TV set. The TV “rabbit-ear” antenna hung just off to the outside of the door. When we reached the bottom of the stairs, we were effectively standing over water. We stood on large pieces of wood placed and laced together in a jig-saw puzzle way to create a floor, yard, place to hang drying clothes and holding pen for an unseen toddler child. To the right there were two small boxes of fish scales.

We turned to the right and walked along the myriad of planks towards the multiple voices of men – fisher men. There they were under more wood. The fishermen’s voices came from under wooden canopies where there were other men sitting on wooden chairs or resting in hammocks that were tied to wooden beams. Their skin spoke of many sunny days out at sea and their hands attested to the hand-line battles with countless fishes on their way to dinner tables and restaurants. They were there – under the wood and hidden at the base of the small coral cliff. Humble small fishing boats tied near by and all the while they talked about (what else?) fishing and the pure joy of it. Fat bellied men with open shirts talked to dark brown ones. There was one man that had thin wires of muscles under his shirt that gave away the tenacity that any large fish would find if they decided to make food from the morsels on his hook. He just listened to the others.

Dan just looked and, like the musician he is, bobbed his head slightly trying to catch the rhythm that existed during that moment. I am not sure if he was able to.

We continues our walk into this wooden and very hidden place and found ourselves out in the sun and looking at a rotund lady in shorts that was tearing apart fish pieces to place on her hook. As we watched, she tossed the hook out into the shallow water and then immediately cursed a rather foul word made all the more so because she looked to be somebody’s grandmother. I walked over and asked if I could help and she said “CONGLA”. The word means ‘EEL’ yet, imagine a big lady dressed in shorts, fishing on a dock, cursing, then loose her bait and then look at you and your musician friend and utter CONGLA! After retrieving her line she smiled a semi toothless smile and nodded to Junior. “Bin otro siman mucha” “Come next week little boy” Junior said “Ta bon” “OK” or “that is fine” and he moved on as if all of this were normal – which by the way – it is in the most profound way.

As we walked, in this small hidden fishing village and home that was hidden at water level and up against the cliffs of coral, As we walked, the places to walk dwindled down to only a few planks that were spanned over longer open areas of water and then finally another staircase to street level. NO choice but the obvious. We went up.

In the car, Dan says – “Hey, thanks man” “I owe you for that” I responded “No you don’t” and we called it square because he had brought music to me and had given our family new friend to wait for every year.
We drove back to his hotel and his lovely wife and coca cola and a few cold beers. Junior held the stems and ate the cherries from the tops of virgin “somethingorothers” and played in the wet sand by the beach showers and the small fishing village faded away. For a while.

Perhaps the words above may keep this small hidden placed alive in the mind of a pianist in New York while he plays in the funk of it all, sneaks in a little bit of calypso to his notes of JAZZZZ.


be well
charles


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:31 pm 
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Location: Burlington, Ont.
As always.... I love your SNIPPETS. 8)

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