Bestbird Page Eight:

A year with what I wished for - ugh!

There's a small hotel:

A family reunion:

Two Caribs and a fireman:

A conversation and a confrontation:

Another disaster and two separations:

A baseball player and a lawyer: (16 Feb 2000) During the year I was still running Victoria House after the necessary exodus of my wife and kids, and while personally manning the vacant bar, there chanced to enter two gringos for a few libations. One of them was of sufficient size to cause me to inquire if he was a football player, which made the smaller one start ranting things like, "You don't know who you're talking to, do you? This is the baseball great, Jim Lefebvre!" Well, I didn't quite know how to respond, so I finally muttered something like, "I remember the name, I just don't remember the sport." Well, after the smoke cleared and "El Pequeno" (as I had secretly named him) had rendered himself comatose, Jim (as I was calling him by this time) and I decided to go to town, threw El Pequeno in the back of the pickup, and headed off for an adventure which I will not relate here unless I receive permission from Jim Lefebvre. Just today, I found his baseball statistics and found him on to which I mailed a message asking for that permission. If I get it, you'll not hear anything about that lawyer I thought about mentioning. A soldier in the road: (25 Feb 2000) Late one rainy night, I was making the last run from town back to Victoria House with a few of the straggling guests and live-in hotel workers. In those days, the road leading south out of town was not bordered by buildings as it is today; and, not far down the road there was a large bush, probably a ziricote, in the middle of where the road would otherwise have gone. The road forked around both sides of the bush to allow for the rarity of any two-way traffic; and, no matter which route you chose, you would wind up on the same road after maybe twenty feet. This night, there stood in the middle of the road and right in front of the bush, what could be only a British soldier - easily recognized as such though dressed in civilian clothes. He obviously was soaked in two different ways, and was frantically waving his hands to flag down our pickup. When I stopped just in front of him, he rushed, listing a little, to my window and asked, "Oh, Mister, can you tell me which one of these roads I take to get to the Hideaway?". He seemed very relieved when I told him just to jump in the back, and he did that very adroitly for one in his condition. When I stopped in front of the Hideaway to let him get out, he rushed to my window, hooked his arm around it to halt my progress, and gushed, "Thank you so much, Mister, if I had taken the wrong road, there is no telling where I would have wound up!"

Good people and bad booze: (28 Feb 2000) By now you may have realized that the drinking of alcoholic beverages was a way of life on the island. "Papa" Blake once remarked to me that he didn't enjoy the island anymore because of, "too much drinking". So, the truth is that some drank an unhealthy amount and some didn't. I can't think of a resident gringo that didn't indulge (and I can think of myself, of course) and not many who didn't over indulge, myself being (for once) in the majority. It helped some that I could steal W. C. Fields remark, "It was a woman who drove me to drink, and I forgot to thank her for it," and that most of the younger gente and some of the older ones also boozed it up pretty good. The younger ones, probably because of their hard physical life style, suffered fewer ill consequences than the rest of us. Anyway, I'm glad I'm not young anymore. There is no need for me to mention the details of the other drug problems of some of the younger gringos and San Pedranos, so I won't.

Walk this way, fly that way:

Breaking up and cracking up:

Shoving a job and going north:

Rebuilding and re-cracking:

One goes east and four go west:

One flies back to his cuckoo nest:

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