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I know when Kervin is going to visit: the muffler on the old Honda is the first clue.  He parks his in the alley by my living room window, a narrow one-lane street with high stone walls on either side.  What that means to whomever is in the house is an amplification of the slightest sound:  I can hear people breathing heavily as they climb the hill.  I overhear every cell phone conversation, every grunt and curse. In the case of Kervin’s muffler, the amplification effect is that of a platoon of military tanks stationed under my window.

 

The next announcement of his presence comes in the form of the screech of the hinge on the gate—better (and louder) han any doorbell.  And finally, the bellowed  command, “Miss Judith!” followed by the pounding of a large fist on the front door.

 

“Hey!” I answer back.

 

“Whatchu havea car for?” is today’s demand.

 

“Driving,” I answer.

 

“Why?  You don’t never go noplace.  Why you pay for a car?”

 

I open the door and he enters, dripping rain water on the tile floor.

 

“Why you waste your money when you never drive?” he asks again, since I haven’t answered the first time he asked.

 

“Kervin,” I say, “It’s been pouring rain for two days.  Where am I going to go?”

 

“Then why you have it, Miss Judith?  You be wasting your money.  Could be buying other things wid it!”

 

“Like what?”

 

“Food.  Steaks, maybe.  Stuff like that.”

 

“But if I buy a steak, then I need a car to go get it. “ (I suspect Bert’s for the Best doesn’t have a big inventory of sirloins.)

 

“No ma’m, Miss Judith.  People delivers.  You don’t need no car.”

 

“Kervin, I want a car so I have a choice of whether to drive or not.  Choice, Kervin!  That’s what it’s all about.”

 

Although I know he’s been teasing me (at least in part) through this whole exchange, at this point he looks truly puzzled, and it occurs to me that Kervin  probably doesn’t understand the word ‘choice’.  In this island world, choice isn’t an option: there’s no money, no jobs, limited education opportunities, and The Boat with fresh food only comes once a week.  Choice isn’t in the vocabulary of a rocky world surrounded by ocean and ruled by weather.

 

Which reminds me: I have a load of freshly washed laundry in the machine, ready to hang out to dry.

 

“How much longer will this rain keep up?” I ask.

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It takes a village….

I got my rental car yesterday.  I hadn’t wanted one during the first week. I was happy here: once inside my little cottage I’m perfectly set for everything—Bert’s for the Best Grocery is a few steps in one direction, Barbie’s Restaurant a few steps in another, and the beautiful Caribbean a half block down the hill.  Not much need of a car, really.

But I thought maybe a road trip or two might be in order while I was here and so I texted George Major that I needed a rental, and he texted back that he was on his way. Now, I could probably holler “Bring me a car, George” out my front door and he’d be right on my doorstep, but hey! This is the twenty-first century, even on a remote Bahamian island. So text, already.

Don’t get the wrong impression: George’s rental cars are no prize, even on an island where an automobile is expected to take abuse from bad drivers, salt, unpaved roads, mangrove swamps, sand, and US tourists.  George never was much good with engines, and even worse at staying sober, but his mother likes me so I always get my cars from him no matter how questionable the quality.  The car he brought me this time was on the cusp of junker-dom: a cream-colored Honda with a menacing groan in the gearshift region  and throat-burning aroma of gasoline.

“Roll down the windows, Miss Judith,” George advised.  “She’s ok.  Just smells a little bit is all.”

What I had forgotten was how useful somebody with a car can be in this village, and within minutes of taking delivery of mine, my phone rang.  Brenda was in need of a shopping trip to Rock Sound, our nearest ‘metropolis’.  It seems that Shandera was in need of some school supplies—immediately, the next day, for a big exam, just a few things, please?

Of course.

Shandera’s in the ninth grade, and in the Bahamian education system, the ninth grade is the time students take the BJC exams.  Brenda wasn’t sure what BJC means, but she knew the exams were important, and Shandera was studying and studying, and her BJCs were going to be held all week. My friend Google told me that BJC stands for ‘Bahamas Junior Certificate’ examination, which consists of ten subject areas:  Art, Craft, General Science, Health Science, Home Economics, Language Arts, Math, Religious Studies, and Social Sciences.

(Before Bahamians graduate from high school they take the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGSCE) usually written at the end of grade twelve.  This education system exam structure is British in origin).

Shandera’s exam was in Home Economics, apparently a skill-based demonstration and she needed to take materials to school, Brenda explained. Help, please.

“OK, Brenda.  You drive.”

“ME? It be your car, Miss Judith.”

“Yeah, but remember that I haven’t driven on this side of the road for a couple of years, and I really don’t want to hear you say “Thank you Jesus” every time we pass another car.”

“I says ‘Thank you Jesus’ when I’m driving too, Miss Judith.”

“I know, but for some reason when I’m driving I take it personally.”

Shandera’s test in Home Economics was to prepare a ‘party’.  Brenda explained that this project involved food, drink, and a decorative table setting.  This included a homemade Key Lime pie, a punch, some sparkling cider, fruit and chocolates, champagne glasses and a centerpiece table decoration—none of which were staples in Miss Brenda’s kitchen, I might add.

So off we went, Miss Brenda driving, (Thank you, Jesus.) Champagne glasses and tissue paper first: not an easy list for a remote Caribbean island.  After a couple of circles around one block (“I know’d there used to be some kinda party store here once, Miss Judith, but I sure don’t see it now.”) we end up at the Rock Sound Supermarket which had everything: plastic stemware, pie shells, condensed milk, lime juice, chocolates.   I bought a portion of the preparations (a girl only takes her JCEs once, doesn’t she?) and $46 dollars later, Brenda and I were prepared for Shandera’s Home Ec exam.

“I do say, Miss Judith, that I don’t know what these education people be thinking.  I could feed my fambly for a week on what we’ve spent on just tomorrow,” Brenda grumbled as we shoehorned ourselves into the tiny Honda.

Silently, I agreed.  How did the Bahamian Ministry of Education come up with such a wildly impractical idea for an exam question for a girl in a village where every resident barely squeezes out a subsistence living, and then only can do with the generosity of numerous friends and relatives?

Life (and a party) takes a village.

Thank you, Jesus.

Back in Eleuthera, 2013

     “Don’t go to the grocery, Miss Judith,” Kervin warns me.  “It ain’t Tuesday yet.”

     While that warning may not mean much to anyone else, to the whole Bahamian island of Eleuthera it’s common sense, and if the truth be told it’s one of the things I did remember: it’s why a half-dozen protein bars and a package of Starbucks coffee singles are taking up precious room in my suitcase—so I can last until Grocery Day.

     You see, the boat–referred to as ‘The Boat’ by the people who live here (you can hear the capital letters in their voices)—arrives on Tuesday morning bringing supplies to the small mom-and-pop groceries scattered throughout the island.  What that means is that there’s one day a week islanders can be sure to have fresh bread and milk and eggs, assuming they’ve planned their shopping trips and limited finances accordingly.

     It also means that the tiny market next to my house will do a frantic amount of business for the next 6 hours.  And it means that Lord Street will be filled with rusty pickups and junker cars belonging to the patrons of “Bert’s for the Best”, who  use Tuesday afternoon not only for this important opportunity to stock up for the week, but also loiter on Bert’s concrete front stoop greeting friends and relatives.

     Relatives? On an island this word takes on a new dimension.  Kervin is a Culmer, and related to pretty much everybody, it seems.  My cottage was built by his great grandfather and is rumored to be the first concrete house in the village.  He was delighted when we bought it, roofless and with a large coconut palm growing up through the middle of the kitchen area, and then hired him to remodel it.  Since then he’s taken it upon himself to be our caretaker, guide, friend, news source, termite exterminator, and airport pickup taxi whenever we come to Tarpum Bay.

     Kervin is also married to Brenda, my closest island friend, and together they are a nucleus for a family unit consisting of Brenda’s grown children, Kervin’s grown children, various aunties, uncles, and cousins, and two grandchildren whom they are currently raising.  Like most of the families on this island, they subsist on pick-up work: building, cleaning, cooking, and fishing. And like most of the families on the island, money means very little to them, except as a means of filling immediate needs.

     In this world, nobody has any money and nobody ever expects to have any—it’s an almost meaningless commodity.  If you have a toothache, pull the tooth.  If you need food, go to a relative who has some to spare.  If you need company, go sit on a street corner—the weather is always nice.

     It’s a friendly world on this Eleuthera—not idyllic, certainly, but welcoming and comforting, a place where people are indeed family, literally and figuratively.  It’s a place to which I’m always happy to return, and for which I will gladly eat protein bars and drink instant coffee, waiting until The Boat arrives.

A Word about Eleuthera Cooking

Wondering what he was going to do when he reached Boston’s 24 snowy degrees still wearing his shorts and sandals, Ken boarded the plane home on Sunday morning. I will miss him: visitors show me my world through new eyes. And besides that, he’s a great cook—to get a compliment from Miss Brenda on somebody else’s mac and cheese is indeed a badge of honor.

One of my frustrations with Eleuthera has always been the limited diet that seems to be available here: mostly carbohydrates, sugar, and fried meats, it seems to me. (With a little conch salad, of course.) But Ken showed me otherwise—he found vegetables, fruits, fresh tomatoes, and herbs and combined them with rice, lentils, and non-gluten pastas: we ate like kings!

However, I have to admit that today I just had to go to Miss Barbie’s for conch fingers and guava duff. That’s what Bahamas eating is all about—and I’m not a flour-avoiding vegetarian, though I must admit the last week of Ken’s cooking has made a partial convert of me.

Like all the other places on Eleuthera, the recent hurricane damaged Miss Barbie’s Take Away. It’s still spotless inside—even more so than before, I think. There’s fresh white paint and dark red trim that’s coordinated with the five booths, new tiles on the floor, and an added refrigerated display case filled with cakes, tarts, and guava duff. Miss Barbie’s daughter Beryl was wearing a chef’s hat and looked so professional I had to take her picture.

Miss Beryl

I was compelled to bring home a container of the Bahamian national dessert, Guava Duff. Guava Duff is a steamed pudding made with sieved guava fruit. It looks like a jelly roll, but is served warm with hard sauce (butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla and rum). It’s my absolute favorite dessert: one year I asked Miss Barbie to make some and freeze it so I could bring it back home and share it with the poor folks in Northern Michigan who have never had the joy of tasting this concoction….maybe I’ll do that again this February.

Generally speaking, Bahamian cuisine isn’t a primary incentive to visit these islands, but a good cook is really a special treat. The food heritage here is a mixture of Dutch, English, Asian, French, and native cooking. Curries are common, as are chowder and stews. Fish and chicken are staples, of course.

One of my favorite Eleuthera restaurants (beside Barbie’s Take Away) is the Northside, just a couple of miles outside of Rock Sound, and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I took Ken there before he left, knowing that if anybody could meet his dietary restrictions, it would be Miss Rose.

Miss Rose is a lovely Bahamian woman. A widow, she manages Northside’s restaurant and charming resort cottages by herself. As we bounced down the partially paved two-track that leads to Northside, Ken remarked on the lack of signage and paving. “Well,” I said, “The important folks know where Miss Rose is. She caters for some very significant dignitaries on this island.”

It didn’t take him long to understand why everyone loves her.

“I can’t eat gluten,” he explained.

“Oh, don’t you worry at all! I’ve got peas (beans) and rice, vegs, plantains, and salad. We can make you a real good meal. I just finished cooking the peas and rice—that’s the hard part. Everything else can be prepared in no time at all.”

And our lunch was indeed splendid! Even better, Miss Rose came and sat with us as we finished our meal and explained how to cook plantains, what ‘brown sauce’ was, and when to use limes in chowder and stews. Rose also told us how difficult it was to repair her business after the hurricane: “The Prime Minister came to see the damage here,” she told us. “He gave me a certificate so I could get supplies and make repairs without paying taxes and import fees. I gotta get all that done before my grant time runs out.”

“It’s hard to believe you had any damage,” I said. “Everything looks perfect.”

“Oh, lordy, I had to get a whole new roof, and windows, and chairs. My children and grandkids came home from the US and from Nassau for Christmas, and I just had them to help me all they could.”

Miss Rose at Northside

As we bumped our way down the two miles of trail from Northside, Ken and I congratulated ourselves on our good fortune to have visited Miss Rose on a day when she could not only cook a delicious meal for us, but also provide a special insight into island life.

We had her all to ourselves. It’s a good thing Eleutherans don’t invest in paved roads, directional signs, and flashing neon lights.

(PS: as I write this, there’s a light tap at my front door. It’s Kervin’s grandson, Po, carrying fresh, hot conch fritters wrapped in foil. “Grampa made them for you,” he says.

Oh, heaven.)

The Adventure of The Glass Window Bridge

Glass Window Bridge

“Now you be careful,” Miss Brenda tells me. “That car don’t got windshield wipers. They be broke.”

“And,” offers Kervin, “Y’all check the oil and water each time you gets gas.”

“OK,” I promise, and Ken and I drive one block to the gas station, get gas, and the attendant fills up the car with a couple of jugs of water. (Gas station attendants do that here in the Bahamas. “That’s their JOB,” sniffs Miss Brenda. Of course, for $5.50 a gallon, they ought to do something….)

My visitor Ken and I are headed for the Glass Window Bridge, the one site in Eleuthera that Ken wants to see. On this two mile-wide island, ‘The Bridge’ is at the narrowest part: underneath its arch, the indigo Atlantic Ocean and the turquoise Caribbean meet. On calm days, it’s a beautiful and strange experience to see; on stormy days the bridge is closed because the waves will sweep away cars and pedestrians. The Bahamians call these ruthless waves “The Rage”–and while I’ve never seen the oceans like this, being on The Bridge even in the most calm times is a fearsome experience.

Now the sixty or so miles from Tarpum Bay to The Bridge ought not to be a major trip, were we on the mainland. In Eleuthera, however, a two lane road is often 1.5 lanes wide, and the word ‘shoulder’ is not in the roadbuilder’s vocabulary: there’s usually a sharp drop-off, sometimes into cypress swamp or rocky shoreline. There’s one road going north and south, and most of the locals have traveled it all their lives: they know every curve and pothole. Intersections are marked not by signs, but by crosses adorned by dusty garlands of plastic flowers. And the traffic often consists of large diesel trucks, a few tractors, and lots of old pickup trucks carrying several passengers in the back bed.

Ken asks, “Are there speed limits on this island?”

“Do you see any signs?” I answer. “Or any law enforcement?”

And so we’re ready: plenty of gas, oil, water, soft drinks, snacks, and money. We pass through Palmetto Point, Governors Harbour, and points north—one small, colorful town after another. We drive along the ocean’s rocky shore and smooth sand beaches, marveling at the lack of people and cars. Ken practices pot-cake spotting and rooster sighting opportunities: stray brown dogs and iridescent birds populate every village.

We don’t stop until we reach Gregory Town: there is a charming gift shop there, and then we have lunch at Monica’s Dis and Dat Carry Out and Grocery Store. Monica remembers me from last year and asks after Miss Lynn. Vegetarian Ken does a little hiking around the village while I eat a gloriously sloppy Bahamian hamburger and sip some Goombay Punch.

Then, on to The Bridge.

The Bridge is one narrow lane. It is in a constant state of repair, due to the endlessly beating waves—but today it is quiet. Ken hikes up to the top of the ridge and takes the awesome photo in this blog, and we head south again, thinking to find a tranquil sunbathing beach on our way home.

The car, however, has another notion: it seems to understand that its job was to get us to The Bridge, but not home again. Its red temperature warning light flashes on, and it gets to the gas station in Gregory Town and then abruptly stops—three feet short of the gas pump.

Fuel is not the problem. “Bad news,” says a local mechanic who appears from the house next door. “Engine’s blown. She ain’t gonna go further.”

He explains that he could fix it, but it will need an engine from Nassau. He estimates an astronomical price and a couple of weeks wait. When I call her, Brenda advises, “You all just come home. We worry about it later.”

The mechanic proposes a solution: he will find a wrecker who will take us (and the car) back to Rock Sound. “Wrecker?” I say. “In North Eleuthera?”

“Sure,” he says, wiping his oily hands in his tee shirt. “There be TWO wreckers on this island—one in the Nord and one in the Sout.” And an hour later, we meet Big Chuck.

Big Chuck, it turns out, is a Nassau native who has been to ‘Ford School’ in Detroit, and so he knows Michigan—and is a good mechanic as well. Big Chuck, Ken and I (who are, by contrast, little people) squeeze into the cab of the huge, spotlessly maintained wrecker, and head for Tarpum Bay at a speed which would put even Kervins driving to shame. We roar through villages and pass moving cars and trucks as if they were parked. Big Chuck waves at everyone, talks on his cell phone, and gives us his thoughts on Eleuthera business and banking, tourism, and the current government.

“We just gotta get WID it,” he says of Eleuthera businessmen. “We gotta get to the twenty foist century, make it com-for-table (four syllables) for the tourists.

In about half the time it took us to get to The Bridge, we arrive home. Big Chuck expertly backs the car into Kervin’s parking place.

“How much?” I ask.

“It’s a long way from Gregory Town,” he replies, gazing into the clear blue sky. “A real long way.”

Yep, it is that. About $7.00 a mile, it would seem. And a dead car. And a day’s adventure in the Bahamas.

Doing Business in Eleuthera

Lynn and I decided to go to the new French restaurant here in Eleuthera. We were intrigued: Eleuthera is not known for gourmet food preparation: most restaurants serve the regular staples of peas and rice, mac and cheese, and fried or barbequed meat or fish. It’s good home cooking, but not particularly innovative. A French restaurant? What a concept!

The food was superb, particularly the chocolate souffle—light and puffy, delicate, with a dish of deep, rich chocolate sauce on the side. You dig a little hole in the center of the souffle, watch it collapse in on itself, and then pour in the chocolate sauce. Magnificent!

But I digress. A meal at such a singular establishment does not come cheap, of course. So I asked the dread question: “Do you take credit cards?”

“Oui”, was the surprising reply.

What we’ve found here on the out-islands (“family islands” is tourist-speak for places like Eleuthera), is that modern banking methods leave much to be desired. Credit cards are virtually unheard of, utility bills are usually paid in person and in cash, checks (even on local banks) are not acceptable for most transactions, and the banks themselves do everything they can to prevent a successful transaction rather than accommodate it.

For instance, our bank – Scotia Bank of the Bahamas – is legendary for its unfriendliness, even among the native Bahamians. An hour wait in line is customary if you’re doing your banking, and you stand (no chairs or coffee or a writing desk), crumpled paperwork in hand, watching the clerks discuss lunch break, the curious actions of the copy machine, and their manicures. Either that or they stare fixedly into huge, clunky computer monitors, waiting for the secrets of creation to be revealed to them. (For Americans, this stare is analogous to that of the airline ticket agent re-booking your ticket after a weather delay).

Once you do reach the head of the line, the level of service at Scotia Bank in Rock Sound is nothing short of obstructionist, Lynn arrived in the Bahamas with a couple thousand dollars in cash to deposit in her account so she could pay bills, and was told that she could only deposit $400 cash per day. Scotia rejected my $100 Am Ex travelers check because my two signatures weren’t exactly the same. Lynn had corrected a date on a check, initialed the correction, and the bank refused it—even though she was standing in front of the clerk. And numerous times customers have been told that the automatic teller machine was out of cash, and would not be functional until a certain time one or two days hence when the cash supply would be replaced.

Last year I wrote to the Scotia Bank corporate headquarters in Canada. “Scotia Bank in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, is an embarrassment to your organization,” I told them – to no avail.

The moral of this story: bring plenty of cash to the Bahamas. Plastic, paper, and electronic funds transfer don’t work in the out-islands.

Last week I had to change my airplane ticket on Bahamas Air: I wanted to head home a week earlier than I had originally planned. Of course, an online ticket change is not possible in the Bahamas, so I headed for the Rock Sound Airport, planning to be there at a time when no planes were arriving.

From the parking lot I could hear the music from inside the terminal. It was loud, solemn, church-y, funereal. “This is not even a Sunday,” I thought. “What is going on?”

Inside, a group of about 15 Bahamians were watching the ancient television set mounted high on the wall. An Anglican bishop was being buried, and his funeral was broadcast live (and loudly). Everyone in the airport was transfixed, a room full of motionless statues.

The Bahamas Air ticket agent reluctantly invited me into her office, a tiny cubical with one desk, mounds of paper, and a single folding chair, currently occupied by a man in a wilted white shirt who was obviously the supervisor of the Rock Sound office of the airline. He was looking wan and pale under his dark skin.

“This has been a terrible day,” he mourned, accompanied by the solemn Anglican hymns from the next room. “It is the first day of our new Bahamas Air computerized ticketing program, and it’s been nothing but problems since 6 AM this morning.”

“Yes,” said the clerk. “We were trained on it last November, but now we’ve forgotten everything.”

The two of them huddled over the ancient computer, discussing the best strategy for changing my ticket. Should they cancel the old and write a new one? Just change the date and time on the existing data file? Should they enter the data in all capital letters, and put dashes in my telephone number?

It was at least a half hour while they worked through these problems.

“Ah, I think we got it,” said the clerk. “But now it wants more information. Do you have an e-mail address?”

I told her I did: judith at judith lindenau dot com. She asked me to spell everything, including the ‘at’. When I told her one used the ‘at’ sign in an email address, she looked confused until I showed her on her keyboard where the “@” was located. Then she got it.

For this she charged me a $30 change fee.

“Do you accept credit cards?” I asked.

She looked helplessly at her supervisor. “Of course,” he said, wearily. “I will have to go in out to the ticket counter and plug in the phone line extension to the machine.”

He opened the office door, and the dark chants of the funeral mass surrounded us.

Tomato Sauce, Eleuthera Style

Washing the Tomatos

Bahamian tomato sauce – it’s not what I often think of as tomato sauce, the rich Italian sauce that Mama Pignotti used to brew up, with lots of garlic, oregano, and red wine. No, Bahamian tomato sauce is thick and chunky, with peppers and onions. In Eleuthera, you see it in groceries, gift shops, and specialty stores. It’s recognizable by the fact that it’s produced in small cottage industries and bottled in used bottles. If you find it in one of the tourist shops, it’s usually in a Kalik bottle (Bahamas best beer) and has a cute little raffia bow or ribbon around the neck – and costs 3 times as much as as at at a roadside stand or neighborhood grocery.

But the Bahamian tomato sauce is used throughout the islands as a base for stew fish and soups, or a condiment for baked fish, chicken, or ribs.

There are, however, few commercial tomato processors in the Bahamas any more, and those that remain are Chinese. Eleuthera, the island where I live, was once known as “the breadbasket of the Bahamas”: the northern third of the 100-mile long island still is marked by huge crumbling stone silos populating the countryside. In the 19th and early 20th century there ws much agricultural activity on the island, due to the climate and the red lateritic soils. Eleuthera was a major supplier of US pineapple until 1900, when Hawaii became a US territory and the object of US economic support. Both politics and increasingly intensive modern farming practices contributed to the demise of large farms as a mainstay of the island. Currently agriculture here exists primarily as small-scale operations supporting local demands and subsistence living.

I mention that background because I’ve always been amazed at the lack of produce-growing that I see on the island. Most food is imported from the US and South America, and there appear to be few back yard or container gardens to supplement the food supplies of the residents. Bahamians don’t eat much in the way of fresh fruits or vegetables, much to my frustration when I try to find lettuce and other produce in the grocery stores.

So I was pleasantly surprised when my phone rang the other day and Miss Brenda announced, “Miss Judith, Barbie is putting up the tomato sauce. Come and see.”

Production Line

Sure enough, out behind Miss Barbie’s Take-Away I found Brenda, Barbie, and Barbie’s husband Peter—busily ‘putting up’ a huge quantity of beautiful, fresh tomatoes. They had a regular production line going: Barbie was washing the tomatoes, quartering them, and squeezing out the juice and excess water.

Barbie at Work

Peter was taking the tomatoes from Barbie, adding fresh tomatoes, and running the vegetables through a food processor. Barbie then added salt and spices, and Brenda filled sterilized beer bottles with the thick paste.

“You gotta know the secrets,” Peter told me. “First, we don’t add any coloring, like they used to use at the big tomato plant in Rock Sound. We are all organic! Second, you gotta get the extra water outta those tomatoes to make the sauce just right.”

I tasted it: delicious! Barbie knew just the right amount of seasoning to add. “Tip the salt box,” she instructed Peter. “I’ll tell you when to stop. There. That’s it.”

Brenda fills two kinds of bottles: the Kalik bottles which are clear glass, and dark green Heineken bottles “We puts the clear bottles in the shops for the tourists,” Peter says, “so they can see what they’s getting. We uses the green bottles for our own recipes.”

Brenda capping the bottles

Peter is most proud of his newest acquisition, a bottle capper. “Used to be real tough before this technology,” he says. “We used to grind up the tomatoes with one of them meat grinders. You know, the kind you had to crank by hand? Now that was a LONG day.”

Of course, even though there are several hundred bottles that have been ‘put up’ and capped, the day isn’t over. The capped bottles must still be placed in huge metal tubs and boiled over an open fire to complete the process.

Then the clear glass ones will be decorated, probably with raffia bows, and placed in shops and stores around the island. The green bottles will be stored in the restaurant pantry, waiting to be served up as a part of the delectable food offerings at Barbie’s Take-Away.