25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE   BY ANGEL NUÑEZ

Ah, Those Windy Days!


H
ow do you see windy days today? Some people like them. Others hate them. Johnny Grief can enjoy wind surfing. But the food vendors by Central Park get sand all over their place. If you are a tourist guide and have a group of enthusiastic tourists to take out to sea, you might not be happy with a very windy day that can interfere with your plans.

How About Twenty Five Years Ago?
A windy day twenty five years ago meant good business for the children of San Pedro. You see, when someone lost a quarter or half a dollar in those days on very sandy streets, that money was really lost. There was no hope finding that lost coin. However, on windy days, (25 knots) the sand on the streets was blown away right down to the hard crust. As a result of that those hard heavy "coppers", or one cent pieces, and the quarters and half dollars all came to the surface.

Early in the mornings of a windy day, children would be seen by the street corners looking for these coins. A 50 cent coin was like Christmas or like finding ten dollars today. That could purchase a coke for 10 cents, ice with syrup for 2 cents, pepitoes (roasted pumpkin seeds) for 5 cents, biscuits at 2 for 5 cents, spearmint chewing gum for 5 cents, and if not watched perhaps cigarettes at 2 for 5 cents. Having spent all of that, one would still have some money left for the following day. Fifty cents twenty five years ago was indeed a lot of money so a windy day offered the possibility of becoming rich!

Windy days also gave children the opportunity to play a few games like flying kites, sailing the small toy boats equipped with sails, or even playing airplane. And how do you play airplane? A piece of cardboard cut and twisted in the shape of an airplane propeller with a pin punched through the center did the job. Children would run all about with their propellers spinning at full force and what an exciting sensation that was in the days when we had no airplanes.

Windy days were welcome days twenty five years ago when people relied upon sails for their boats and dories to get to work or even to sport about. A trip to Belize City by cargo boat could be up to twelve hours, but on a windy day it was cut down to four to five hours only. Also consider how welcome the wind was during times when there were no air conditioning units nor even electric fans. Those windy days surely made life on a hot island more pleasant. Hey, did you know that on stormy seas there was more fish movement in the sea? Therefore stormy windy days meant better fishing, more fish and more lobster in the traps. More wind means fewer mosquitoes for the wind tends to blow them inland. Also those dreadful sand flies are more abundant on calm days, so you can bet that windy days meant relief from those minute beasts. O surely windy days were a lot more welcome and meaningful twenty five years ago. On a side note, today, with wind at 25 knots, some people start evacuating the island. What a thing, eh! Now what about you? Do you like it calm or do you like it windy? Read next week about those calm days.


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