While burning the trash from the churchyard job, a strong sea breeze kicked up to cool me off. As I worked I started to think about the Reverend Lady I had just met and I decided to do a good job as the challenge of finally getting rid of all the trash the job had produced troubled me. By the eighth day on the job I felt satisfied that the yard was looking good enough to be called neat. I then went to see the Reverend to report on my progress. Continue reading
Image thanks to quotehd.com
By now I realized why I had been out of synch whenever I tried to speak to Pug about what was making her so unhappy and the issues that had soured our “love.” But no matter how often I tried, it was fruitless as she would not respond to me, or anyone else, about what it was I had done so wrong to embitter her. Even to this day it is a mystery to me. I did continue, however, to mentally seek to know the hidden side of the things that had suddenly spoiled our lives. I began blaming it on her love of putería, or whoring which I tended to forget in my naivete. Continue reading
Image from Morguefile
My routine on my new job was simple. I would arise early every morning to milk the cows. After filling the gallon bottles, I would then saddle the horse, tie the five bottles on either side of the saddle and then make my way to town. I had been trained by Little Man and a boy younger than myself who also lived at the ranch. Once I arrived in town I would unsaddle the horse, then hide the saddle under some brush and tie up the horse nearby at a small stream so that he could have an abundant supply of water to drink and grass to eat for the day, until I had sold all the milk and was ready to go back up to the ranch on horseback. Continue reading
The abundant Yellow Jack fish off the waters of Bocas del Toro.
With the lack of communication between Pug and me regarding our feelings, or lack of feelings, for each other, I walked out of her Bocas family’s home to get to know that part of town we were in and, perhaps, take a little time to reflect quietly. As I walked I looked back to discover Pug following me down a street unknown to me. I was just making my way to the beach to sit and meditate and get my mind clear.
“Where you going Juni?” she asked as stepped up to me to continue walking in silence as I hesitated to answer her. I really didn’t know how to answer her as I didn’t know what my next move was going to be. “Look I’m looking for a room just in case,” I said rather evasively hoping to discourage her and prevent her from following me. But, she remained walking at my side. “Roberta says she wanted to talk to you,” she insisted. So, I stopped and turned back around to go see what Aunt Roberta had to say to me. Continue reading
Another old photo of Bocas Town circa 1910 (Isla Colon) from our friend, Señor José Price’s collection.
The trip to Bocas Town had not been thoroughly planned but I cared less and less about going back to work in the fields of Baseline since I knew the marriage was not a union anymore. Continue reading
Image is of the Mechanics Lodge posing for a group picture with their families. About 1912 at Isla Colon. Just as in Colon and Panama City the Lodges made up a very important part of the life of the West Indian Panamanian society. Image thanks to Sr. José Price.
These were the times of the Panamanian presidency of Ernesto de la Guardia, Jr., while we remained in Baseline, today known as the area of Changuinola in Bocas del Toro Province. However, today I would probably not recognize that same Changinola River area I got to know the first day I ventured up there to seek work back in 1956. But, it was an area that my co-workers and I would get to know as home and we shared many adventures together as plantation laborers just as my West Indian forefathers had done years before. At this point in my life, now with a new baby and a wife in tow, I was ready to depart from this tainted land for me, swearing that I would never go back. Nevertheless, I started meeting new friends. Continue reading