25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
Imagine a time when apples were enjoyed for about two or three weeks of Christmas only. Apples were not seen on the shelves of the stores throughout the year. And suddenly, in the middle of the year you wake up one day and people are saying that there are tons of apples on the beach, right in front of the village and all over the beach from Boca Del Rio to Victoria House. Can you imagine the excitement to verify if this is true and then the excitement to fill your dory with apples?
This happened one day in the 1960ís. I was along with my dad on the way to check the lobster pats more or less by the area past Victoria House.
Suddenly my dad spotted an apple floating near our little dory. We picked it up and wondered who would have thrown this apple in the sea. It was stranger because it was the month of June and apples were unheard of in June. They were only seen in Belize from December 15 to 30.
Suddenly my dad thought he saw about six and when I looked at another direction there were about ten more. We excitedly picked them up one by one and even forgot to taste them. They were green apples and looked strange because we were only used to the red ones. After we tasted one, we confirmed that they were juicy, sweet and nice. Then we wondered if they had been poisoned by some witch or evil person who dumped them in the sea.
Before we knew it we had collected about half a dory of apples, about two hundred I would say. We quickly hauled some twenty lobster pats and collected about four sacks of lobsters. We knew we had our catch of the day, but more important, we were eager to return to the village to boast about our finding.
When our three horse power Johnson outboard finally got us to the village about half an hour later, we learned that all the villagers had been picking up apples on the beach right in front of the village. Some greedy and eager people had even gone out to sea midway to the reef to collect apples before they got to the beach.
I would say that about five thousand apples had been picked up that day. The next morning there were more apples on the beach and people still picked them up. But who was to buy them when every family had about ten sacks each. This kept on for about three days and on the last day they were diminishing.
Now what to do with the apples? People were tired of eating them. Some were fed to the pigs that enjoyed them. The chickens did not really bother with them, nor did the cats and dogs. So we started throwing away the ones that started to spoil.
Unfortunately nobody had any ideas about apple pie, or preserving apples, or dehydrating them. Eventually we got rid of all our apples and what a relief it was. Unfortunately an exciting incident turned sour because there was not much to do with the apples. Normally for Christmas we would send half a dozen apples to a relative or friend. But if we did that this time around, they would have thought it was a joke or offence. The belly ache and some loose bowels did last for a few more days, but after that it was only a sweet-bitter memory. I only remember it when I talk about beachcombing. Beachcombing for apples seems strange, but donít we have marijuana and cocaine beachcombing these days? I kind of liked it 25 years ago to go beachcombing and finding something strange.