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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:27 pm 
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ON OUR SHORES, THEY STEAL THE WIND AND - STONES FLOAT


There is an area on our shores (you all know about it) where the ‘kite-surfers’ dance on waves with suspended bags of nylon above them and (as if to remind us of our history) old cement and stone huts stand by the waterside listening to the shore lap at its edge. In those huts dwell the ghosts of many old Evinrude and Johnson outboard boat motors. The original ones that had only one cylinder and puttered into eternity until the hand of man did something to destroy them. There, on this beach, if you sit on the beach with toes in water, you can turn to the right and see the intrusion of the many new buildings. The area is know as “Fisherman’s Huts” and it has one of the more pristine beaches left on Aruba. It is a joy to be there.

My son and I played at the waters edge when an old Toyota pickup pulled up with an elderly man driving and the small bed in the back filled with what had to be his grandchildren. Next to his, and wordlessly, sat his humble wife. Kids being what they are, they came over to play with Junior and they started a long conversation of boats.

These angels (only pretending to be children) were discussing why all boats are made of wood. One of the older kids (7 maybe) said that wood had air in it because that is what he had learned in school. And if it had air in it, then it is the air that makes wood float and that is the reason that fishing boats are made of wood and that was also the reason that they were so good to use for catching fish. The other kids seemed to respect that position and it went without a real hitch.

The elderly man had been sitting with his wife and probably listening to the conversation. He slowly got of his pickup and walked over to where we were discussing boats and wood. He sat next to me and looked at the kids and started talking to them much like a teacher talks to a graduating class of world leaders. He said the following in Papiamento:

“Before we had small motors to push our fishing boats, the men used boats made of wood that had large white sails. The sails caught the wind and pulled the fishermen out to where the big fish live. When we got the small motors, we took down the sails but the design of the boats stayed almost the same. That is why the boats in the islands around here have such deep keels. (The kids, including me, were amazed at this tid-bit) He continued “Far out there (pointing to the ocean) they would drop the sails and fish and then just raise the sails and come back. Sails (he said) are important things since they capture the wind but you see those bags in the sky pulling the men on the small pieces of board? ((Kite surfers) Well those bags steal the wind and do not give fish like the original sails did. They are thieves. (the kids gasped)
Then he knelt to the level of the kids and said, our boats were made of wood because it is all we had. But you see that big boat out there? (He pointed to an oil tanker) well that big boat is made of steel and it floats. The kids watched him intently then looked out to the sea and the tanker. He continued “The only thing that does not float are stones.” You can skip them but they do not float, not even sea shells.

A small girl in the bunch had been collecting pairs of angel wing shells. The kind that are almost transparent and have pearly hues to them. This little tot heard the “Stones do not float” part and simply took one of her little angel wings and flipped it upside down, put it in the water and watched it float. The elderly man watched for a few seconds and then went back to his pickup and humble wife. The other kids looked at the little girl and her floating wings.

It seems that no matter how wise we are, … hell I won’t even finish that sentence.

Kids are kids and they are brilliant. I want to be one someday when I grow up.

be well
charles


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:31 am 
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Thank you.

Someday we all will be kids again. We just have to want to.

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Burlington, Ontario, Canada


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