(Another Guest Blog from Lynn, still in Eleuthera at our pink cottage in Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera)
The week before Easter on Eleuthera is a an odd mixture of paganism with large amounts of religiosity sprinkled throughout.
Palm Sunday in Tarpum Bay began with a parade of white garbed singers from the Anglican church singing, “The Old Rugged Cross” and waving palm fronds. I was drinking my coffee on the front porch, forgetting the Anglicans believe in early worship. Too late, I realized the procession was going right down our road. Nothing to do but wave and sing along. Several tipped their fronds my way out of deference or annoyance, I wasn’t sure.
About ten, Rev. Ian got the Methodists next door warmed up with several loud hymns I thought I might recognize if only he wasn’t singing them. Either he has no clue he is hopeless, or has such an ego, he doesn’t care. Whichever it is, he’s very enthusiastic.
We were trapped in by parked cars, so we were forced to endure the entire two and a half hour service from our living room, right across the street! At the final AMEN, the congregation, all dressed in white, departed, appearing to be nearly as wilted as their palm fronds.
Monday was the first day of the whist tournament which marked the beginning of the pagan part, Rock Sound Homecoming. I think I’ve written about this peculiar precursor to bridge other years, so will spare you the details of play. Here were the results: we were second the first night when everyone was sober. The second night the crowd was rowdier and we were fourth. I am sorry to report that we were hopeless in the finals and did not bring home a trophy as we did last year. Perhaps we were not drunk enough?
We did however, bring home fresh mahi mahi, a gift of Floyd, one of the players who wanted to make sure “you come back next year.” How sweet, and much better than any trophy!
An interesting aside a woman, not playing, but wanting to, got amazingly hammered. She leaned over the railing– we were playing under a tent surrounded by a bar/railing. She got louder and more profane with each Absolute/Cranberry she downed. Her playing pals ended up trying to get her keys. In drunken anger she dashed/stumbled to her truck, jumped in and tried to back up. Had she been successful, there would > have been several fewer whist players. She was parked directly across from the tent. Fortunately, she didn’t realize the emergency brake was on and all she could do was rev the engine, much to the disgust of the men, and much to our relief. In the end, her girlfriend did get the keys though it took lots of shouting and F**K yous, to accomplish.
Thursday night was revival night in the Tarpum Bay park. Some small obscure church brings together all its followers and singers and preachers for one grand performance. We were a captive audience once again. Despite closing the windows and turning up the fan to full, we heard clearly the Hallelujahs/praise Jesus/Amens! Over and Over and > Over… Every song was long, think three “Hey Judes” and an “American Pie”. None of the words were intelligible,but they were loud! They had cymbals, drums, and back up singers, (think bad version of The Supremes). Both men and women extolled God/Jesus/their neighbors, friends, and relatives living and dead. Each of the former were also thanked by each speaker. This whole pageant of praise/song/prayer lasted late into the night.
There were smaller groups also into the religious thingum. We were entertained one afternoon by a shouting woman and her troupe standing in our parking lot preaching to apparently no one. But the erstwhile troupe members bravely clapped and tapped their tambourines as she carried on. She ran out of energy (and audience) after only 45 minutes. She and her ensemble reassembled into her white van, and drove off to save other souls in other villages.
Miss Brenda, meanwhile, was packing Easter baskets for the children of her church. She bought some “stuff” for the baskets while off island last week. The treasures her flock will find include the usual candy, plus a plastic cross with a meaningful message, AND an Easter Egg snow globe!
She was also writing fairly decent poetry for the women to read in church tomorrow. Brenda has abiding faith and practices her good works religiously. Though she did tell Paul and me to “go beat da hell outta dem whist players” WOW!
Once more back to Rock Sound tonight in search of either stuffed crab or cracked conch. We wanted to see the Junkanoo parade with its brightly costumed men playing their whistles, drums and cow bells, but when we discovered the parade didn’t start til MIDNIGHT (read one or two a.m.) we took our cracked conch and guava duff and came home.
Tomorrow is Easter with yet more pageantry. Women look their best for church. Their hats are spectacular and their heels high. The men are starched and pressed, and the children behave for the most part. The services will be long. We have already positioned the car for a quick exit!
At Rock Sound there will be gospel singing all day. The pagans and the pastors will blend into a final great AMEN.