A Moment of Euphoria

Posted: March 23, 2007 in Travel
  I am sitting here listening to the Jazz Masters Channel of my on-line music service. The selection is probably Sonny Rollins’ most famous piece, St. Thomas. An indication that my memory is actually getting better is I used to have a problem remembering the name of that selection when I heard it. I do not any more.

I explain to my grandson that St. Thomas is one of several islands in The Virgin Islands. While I have never visited St. Thomas, I have had the good fortune to have been to St. Croix. It was on our D.A.S.O. cruise on the newly commissioned George C. Marshall. We tied up to an extremely long concrete pier. The water was so clear that we could see the bottom through at least 50 feet of water almost as if the water was not there.

On liberty my friend, Calvin Underwood, and I went to the upstairs bar in Frederiksted, a small town across the island from the main tourist attraction, Christiansted. We decided to imbibe the most famous drink in the Caribbean, Rum and Coca Cola.  I can hear the Andrews Sisters Singing. Now, the Coca Cola – so they tell me – is more expensive than the rum there. Accordingly, they mixed the drinks for the best economic return.

After a couple of drinks, (believe it or not, we were still standing) we decided to take a tour into the residential area of the town. My friend is from Alabama and I’m sure he felt the similar uneasiness as I felt when we saw that the town looked to be 100% Negro. I told him, “Calvin, if we see one white person in this town I will kiss your (expletive deleted).” His derrière remained inviolate.

What was more remarkable was what I saw as we passed a small, what appeared to be, one-room home. The front door was open. In full view of passersby were a man and a woman seated across from each other at a table. I do not recall what they were doing; maybe they were eating. What is important is what was on the wall facing the open door. It was, what seemed to be, at least a 36” by 36” portrait of John F. Kennedy. Where is your camera when you need it?

When I related this to somebody later, he acknowledged the believability of it with the reply, “Oh, yes; the people down there think of J. F. K. as a god. It was because of what he did for them.

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