Being away from home has thrown some things off kilter, including my writing. After being away for more than a week, I’ve decided to turn to introspection to put things on paper to share.
My thoughts have been wrapped up in the details of the business I came here to take care of, in a country where most citizens have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and more than 1,000 people have died from the disease.
However, this is Jamaica, and many things remain fabulous. First of all, this is mango season, and I have been feasting on a mango a day from the trees in our yard—a large Julie-beefy hybrid that is so sweet that it seems almost dangerous to your health to consume a whole fruit. But, here we are. One has to take advantage of the opportunity to indulge.
My other indulgences are familiar treats that seem to taste better than they ever did to me: creamy, mellow pears bigger than the avocado variety (best consumed between two halves of a sweet bulla—bread); a pithy, luscious jack fruit that left my lips stained for hours; star fruits crunchy and tart with a burst of sweetness, straight from my aunt’s loaded tree; and small, honey-packed pineapples, better than any candy you can imagine.
I’ve been blessed with a generous supply of ackee and saltfish many mornings for breakfast, alongside a regular supply of some of the best coffee in the world. And, I had the luxury of hanging out with a friend for a business lunch at an awesome restaurant, where a wholesome waiter served us mimosas and huge salads. I’ve had only one patty so far, though.
Masks are in play everywhere and hand sanitizer and temperature checks are the thing of the day—at the law office, the supermarket, the restaurant, the bank, the patty shop, and the craft markets. Although masked, people are pleasant and the younger people still hold the door open for me wherever I go. The gesture is heartwarming, though it makes me feel old.
O yes, tropical storm Elsa thwarted my plans to go to the beach on Sunday. Her visit lasted a day and consisted of high winds and heavy rains that flooded many areas on the island. My mother, in an abundance of caution, battened down the windows on the lower level of the house, but, apart from the thunder scaring one of the dogs, there was no physical damage to house or property.
Curfews are still in place, and the streets empty when it goes dark. but the delightful jewels of food abound, along with the surprising expressions of courtesy, which warm my heart. I still refuse to drive, however. My heart can’t stand up to the antics of the Jamaican driver.
copyright July 2021 edits by marks.com