August 2016

3 articles in August 2016

Ii was hanging out the washing in the back garden, as I infrequently do, when a woman who was walking down the road strolled into the garden and stopped for a chat about the weather, the state of the nation and such matters. In those days the garden was unfenced, you see, but not any more.

Staring at her in some amazement I wondered if this was just a localized way of introducing oneself to new people, or was it – I suspiciously conjectured – simply a short cut habitually taken? After a couple of minutes of one-sided idle chit-chat over the washing line, during which my growing annoyance was camouflaged by inane grinning, she continued diagonally through next door’s garden and casually left the premises via a small gap in their leylandii hedging.

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Wwith only dark glasses and a scarf to disguise her, she quickly scurried through the side door of her hotel. Always careful enough each year to follow different streets, she darted off only after she was positively certain that no one was watching her. She was even cautious enough each year to start from a different hotel as well.

She would stride down different streets that were usually teeming with tourists. Like a busy bee bouncing from flower to flower, she would dive in and out of little shops, while at the same time cleverly changing her appearance from time to time, by adding different scarves or sunglasses, or sometimes even changing her dress. Always looking over her shoulder she insured that no one was following her. Her moves were well co-ordinated: quickly through front doors and out back ones leading to allies and side streets, as she skillfully made her serpentine route towards the docks.

This year would not be different, as she started off with a taxi down Victoria Street followed by a brisk walk through St. Thomas Circle and on to the market streets of St. Crois that were sweltering in the tropical heat. Always stopping to look behind to be sure that no one was following, she quickly disappeared in an out of shops and back door of restaurants. After many hours of this, and only when she was absolutely certain that no one was trailing her, would she even attempt to approach the docks.

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The other day, my wife and I took my grand kids to McDonalds. We clearly understand this is not the best place to take them for lunch but it is nearly impossible to tell them different. We sat in our normal corner booth with my wife organizing the chaos while I went up to the counter to get them their favorite ‘Happy Meals’.

On my way back to the booth I noticed an elderly gentleman sitting at the next booth by himself. He had no food or drink in front of him and for some odd reason he brought a story into my mind. He was very old or at least he appeared to have survived too many decades. His skin was the color of over-cooked chicken and hung from what was probably a strong, structured face.

The skin on his face was freckled with the type of marks that had nothing to do with cute. He had large, dark bags under each eye that were permanently placed there from years of worry and concern about everything he once found important. He also wore eyeglasses that hung on the end of his pocked nose. These glasses had nothing to do with anything modern because they were large and, like his skin,were gray.

My grandkids were deeply involved in their ‘Happy meals’ and were playing with their ‘Happy Toy’. My wife was enjoying her ice coffee making sure neither of them swallowed one of their ‘Happy Toys’. Sneaking a peak over the side of the booth I noticed the old man wore a blue flannel shirt and bright greenish yellow shorts. I then assumed he wasn’t married because no wife would allow this combination to see the light of day. Continue Reading →