The Pagans and the Preachers


(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.

churchsuitTomorrow 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.


2 thoughts on “The Pagans and the Preachers

  1. Hi Gertie,

    You have such a wonderful blog!

    I came across your blog after looking at your picture of a snowstom (on your March 19th post) that a dear blog friend of mine from Novi had posted on one of her member sites.

    She used to go by the name Carrie and if you know her, please ask to write. I really miss her.

    God bless you and I hope you keep up your amazing blog, Gertie.

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