Brenda’s Car, Day Two

Well, today we had to return a couple of things to the Tarpum Bay Shopping Center. One of yesterday’s purchases was a snifty looking water pump, a blue plastic gizmo (here in Tarpum Bay we say “thingum”, not “gizmo”) that fits on top of a five gallon water jug. You push down on the
button on the top and the water comes out a spigot and, hopefully, into your
pitcher. Since the Eleuthera tap water is not drinkable, and since pouring from a 5 gallon jug is a little challenging until the jug is about half empty, this blue thingum seemed like a good idea.

Except it didn’t work. I pushed, it sputtered. No water.

So, we were headed back to see Julian at the Shopping Center. We also had to pick up Lynn’s friend Ann at the Rock Sound Airport, about 12 miles from our house down Queen’s Highway. Kervin brought back Brenda’s car, complete with a brand new battery and without an alarm system. We were ready to go!

An hour later we were back in our cottage, complete with Ann and a new water pump—life was good. Ann went across the street to Miss Barbie’s for some fresh coconut cake, and Lynn walked the other direction to the new fish restaurant for some conch salad for lunch. Life was really very good!

We decided that a Saturday night out was in order, and the big celebration was at a little
town about 20 miles south of Tarpum Bay, Wymss Bight (pronounced “Weemsbit” in Bahamian). What we were really in search of was some Bahamian food, something a little different from the usual cuisine of conch fritters, fried fish, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and ‘peas and rice’–known as ‘beans and rice’ in Cajun country. So off we went to the Wymss Bight Homecoming.

The site of the party wasn’t hard to find. Wymss Bight has about 40 dwellings and a large open park area, which was, of course, where the party was. But we could hear the celebration from a half mile away: the “rake and scrape” Bahamian music blasted full volume. The festival set-up
consisted of a half dozen food stalls, a concrete dance floor, a grass hut bar, and a baseball game with about 30 spectators in the bleachers.

We visited each of the food vendors, and bought something from every one, just to be
democratic, of course. The women were cooking on huge grills—chicken, ribs, hot dogs in rich sauces. And of course there were the usual starches, plus Cole slaw and deserts. The
highlight of the meal was a dessert known as guava duff*, a kind of jellyroll filled with sweetened guava and covered with a butter sauce. Oh, my.

We decided not to stay for the dancing, but to drive home on Queen’s Highway before it got dark—the QH doesn’t have amenities like lines down the middle or on the sides, and in some places it’s none too wide, either.

We did fine until we came up a steep hill about half way home. The car slowed, and sputtered.

“Uh-oh,” said Ann, who was driving. “I am pushing on the gas pedal, and nothing is happening.”

Slower and slower we crept up the hill until we reached the top. Brenda’s car wheezed a little, and began to pick up the pace, but each time Ann slowed the car down, it began to hiccup and
gasp.

Finally, just outside the Rock Sound airport, it breathed its last and Ann steered it
silently to the side of the road .

Not three minutes later, a car stopped, and a well-dressed older man got out to
help. He and his wife had been to a wedding in Tarpum Bay and were on their way home, and would do what they could, including giving us a ride back to our house.

“You live in the pink house on the hill?”

“Yes, that’s us.”

“Nice house. Good for the whole town.”

From the other direction came a shiny white pickup, a big one with extra lights and
other jazzy things, and pulled up behind us. A huge, handsome young man jumped down from the cab, nodded briefly to the older man, and proceeded to lift the hood and look underneath. Lynn explained the problem, and both men stared thoughtfully at the silent car engine. Both of their women companions stayed in the car, of course, and the three of us—Ann, Lynn, and I—stood
helplessly by.

“Your car?” the younger man asked.

“No, Kervin’s,” I said.

“Oh, Kervin. Looks like he has a new battery.”

“Yes, it’s a new battery. But the red battery light was on.”

“Yup,” he said profoundly, and went back to his truck.

“That’s my son,” said the old man. “He been to the wedding, too.”

The son came back to our car, and removed Kervin’s battery. Now I don’t know how he did this, but he started up his truck, removed his own battery, and replaced it with Kervin’s, while the truck was running.

Then he put his battery in our car, started it up, said, “I’ll meet you at Kervin’s house,”
and climbed back in his truck.

We thanked the old man profusely. How nice they both were to take the time to rescue us, and to make sure we got back to Kervin’s house safely! How could we
repay them?

“Don’t repay me,” he said. “Repay God. Y’all just live next door to the church—go
over there tomorrow and thank Him for providing you with what you needed.”

He gave us a friendly wave as we drove away.

*Guava Duff Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Tara Ramsey

In celebration of Father’s Day, Tara Ramsey shares one of her father’s best
Bahamian recipes.

Ingredients:

* 1 pound bag plain flour
* 5 whole guavas
* 1 can guava
* 2 cups sugar
* Vanilla
* 4 sticks butter

In a big bowl, mix the flour with some water and roll the dough out on the
table. Insert pieces of guava all over the dough. Then, roll the dough almost
like an egg roll. Place the dough in a clean, white pillow case. Place the
pillow case with the dough in a big pot of boiling water. Let boil until dough
is cooked.

To make the sauce: Mix butter, sugar, vanilla together with juice from the
canned guava. Take dough out of pot after cooking, slice the dough into thin
slices like bread. Pour guava sauce over the dough. This is one of the
Bahamas’s oldest and greatest deserts.

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