Lunch In Governors Harbor

watercolor, by Judith Lindenau

watercolor, by Judith Lindenau

Governors Harbor is the capitol of Eleuthera. It’s the midpoint of the one hundred mile-long island and for the most point is a delightful, picturesque seaside town. I say “for the most part” because directly in the middle of town is a huge, ugly, misshapen parking lot, surrounded by retail establishments and other haphazardly placed buildings. However, Governors (as the locals call it) is the commercial seat of the island—there’s the shipping dock, the Haynes library, some banks and government offices, and grocery stores large enough to offer some brand choices.

Miss Brenda stops by on Friday and says, “I going to Governors. Want to go?’

“Sure,” I say, eager to leave the blinking green lights which signify that my internet connection is down again. “But only if I can take you to lunch.”

She looks pleased, and says I should wear my new Barack Obama t-shirt which I bought on our last shopping trip at the no-name grocery store. The shirt is black, and has a striking profile of the President on it—very dramatic, and the Bahamians always smile when they see me in it.

I change and off we go. We stop to get gas at Kervin’s cousin’s ramshackle single pump gas station in Savannah Sound, and the cousin (who looks a lot like Kervin himself) regales us with the hold-up story from his adventure of the week. Seems as how the thief was waiting in the proprietor’s house being the gas station with a knife. Kervin’s cousin disarmed him, getting himself cut severely in the process (he shows us the wounds on his head and hands), and called the police. Apparently, this same guy had held him up twice before (nobody said crooks were smart) and so the third time was definitely NOT a charm for this alcoholic knife-wielder.

Brenda says, “Thank Jesus”, and we head on.

After her chores, we think about lunch. “I never go nowhere. I don’t know any places,” she says. But I do, and I take her to Buccaneer’s, an outdoor restaurant under a huge shady tree. We both order cheeseburgers because in the land of fish and chicken and macaroni, beef is a welcome change. The only other occupant of the large patio is a white man, reading a newspaper and dressed in tourist garb (khaki shorts and a knit shirt, just like those guys at the dog show). He has a burger too, and a beer, and climbs in his new Jeep and drives away just as our food comes.

It’s good—a huge sandwich. When the waitress comes to find out how we like things (she’s learned how to make sure you have your mouth full before she asks), Brenda tells her that lettuce needs to be sliced up more finely—both of us had a pretty thick hunk of iceburg on our burgers. There’s nothing confrontational in the exchange, just Brenda gently suggesting a better way to do things. The waitress smiles and within minutes the cook herself, a wide woman in a very dirty apron, emerges and the two of them have a discussion about it, cook to cook. We part in a friendly fashion, everyone calling out goodbyes.

The last errand is to stop at the bakery and pick up some fresh rolls for the church dinner Brenda cooks on Fridays. She gets over in that part of Governors, and asks a man sitting motionless on a chair in front of his house for directions to the bakery. He tells her, gesturing widely with his arm to the general area on the next street over. We go around the block, and see the same man running wildly down the street in our direction. “He’s coming to make sure I go right,” she says and sure enough—the man, verrucose, horribly covered with the skin disfigurement, has come to make sure we go one more block and turn left. We do, and there it is—the bakery.

On the way home, the only incident occurs when something thumps loudly in the back seat. The rolls are back there, and a couple of small packages, but this sounded different. Brenda slows, and we look behind us curiously. No cause for the strange noise is apparent.

“Probably a visit from the devil,” she says. “You just never know about his tricks. But I got Jesus, and he will get me home ok.” She then breaks into a hymn, which she often does when she drives, sings a couple of verses, and we resume our journey.

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