Home > 1, Music > Book 3. and 1. and 3. Caribair and The Second Coming

Book 3. and 1. and 3. Caribair and The Second Coming

Book 3. Caribair 
It was hot as  double ultra caraho, so I went over to Lindbergh to get in the sea and cool off. I have a “beach outfit” that is the biggest hoot ever, it’s great fun to wear. My “beach suit” is an enormous blue flowery Hibiscus pattern shirt over enormous baggy blue flowery Hibiscus pants. The blues are out of kilter with one another and the Hibiscus are drawn by entirely different artists in entirely different styles. The closer you look the more mind boggling it is, just like any really good tourist outfit.
 Is it possible the tourists have been goofing on us all these years? I’m thinking yes.
 The water was wonderful, the contemplation of the clouds as I lay on/in the Caribbean was wonderful
 The sound of a DC 3 taking off was immediately recognizable to me and I stopped contemplating, and stood upright. to watch it..A very old DC3 with a more shrill sound than most, (but only in one engine) with “4 Star Airlines” written along the side.

I watched it climbing and banking south then east. Immediately after, a second one took off. The sound of a DC 3 is such a comforting reassuring sound from my childhood, I love them. 

Further, it was the aircraft of the greatest airline ever “Caribair.” Caribair’s DC 3s were painted a cool white with a golden stripe running along the side where the windows were (so the windows looked like little jewels set in a golden band or bracelet) the tail featured a classic image of “El Morro” the Spanish fort in Old San Juan, painted in Red against the Golden background of the mighty upright tail.

 The planes were immaculate, in and out and smelled of romance and sweet peppermints, the stewardess were the exact Spanish beauties of your dreams. The kind of ladies that inspired you to  get grown up, just so you could fling yourself babbling at their feet.

The dashing “Don Caballeros” in the crisp pilot’s uniforms were clearly capable and mucho macho. More than enough, to fly you into and through any “cat 10” Huracan! No problema..mon.

In those days, this airlines planes had never crashed. But if one did, (they didn’t, but IF one did) you knew that “You flew with Spanish Angels in the air, when you flew with Caribair” so if you did accidentally wind up with them in Puerto Rican Heaven, well… you knew you would be welcome there.

 Not only were the planes and people beautiful but the sound of the powerful always steady engines (seemed tuned to concert 440) A full throated celestial “A” chord that did not waver, that did not roar. Their harmonic consistency was the background sound every day, morning noon and night through the sweetest years of our lives. “dungderoad” in Bournfield.

 I lay down this afternoon on the warm soft sand as I had done through out the sweet days of yore, with the sound of DC 3’s taking off and landing in the background… just like a favorite song playing over and again on the juke box…

Book 3 And 1 And 3… The Second Coming 

 

The Plane climbs into the orange dusk above Charlotte Amalia, and I am on my way back to the states. As we bank into the setting sun, I think,” I’m doing it again, I’m doing it again. I’m leaving the Island, and going to the states… with the same intention that I held forty five years and lets see..five months and twelve hours and a lifetime ago.

 

To sing, to change the world, to change my family’s economic situation, to prove myself, to demonstrate to other Virgin Islanders that we are good enough too, that we’ve got what it takes to make it, and be equal in this world, To get famous and… (lets not forget, or overlook, diminish or deny the primal, primary force that has driven many many men of music)… Chicks.

 

Only perhaps this time the priorities might be listed somewhat differently.

 To sing, to write wildly wonderful things, to change the world, to change my family’s economic situation, to demonstrate to all Virgin Islanders that we from the V. I. are good enough too, that we’ve got what it takes to make it in this world, and this time to get the fame nesessary and sufficient to take care of the chicks I’ve got. (My daughters and Grand daughters, their beautiful Mamas and Mamas Grande)
 
I’m doing it again, only this time I have to do it right, But how to do it right is the mighty mighty question..begging (in my case) the obvious question “How or what did I do wrong?”
 The answer that comes is 

1. Do not drink or use absolutely no matter what

2. Do not allow myself to be constantly and continuously distracted by the promise of a kiss. Sublimate that to taking care of those already in my care. 

3. Do not be dismissive of ideas other than my own 

4. Remember to be grateful for the beautiful gifts that I’ve been given, and to let them shine. 

5. Stay committed to doing it better, by doing the things I do, better than I’ve been doing them.

6. Choose my battles thoughtfully and carefully 

7. Listen. and 

8. Learn 

9. Remember alsway, to pass it on.

While this octave plus one, of ideas may not be the whole story, it could lead to a better story than the one I’ve got.

Puerto Rico is below and the whole majestic Island is moving to the south east at five slow hundred miles per hour. Every dream and heartbreak, pot of arroz con pollo, beautiful bighearted, black-eyed, big bottomed beauty, and her Abuelita, every tousled haired little one and their sinewy armed Abuelos, every conga pounding, bongo beating, high note hitting, guapo big dreamer, every surviving Taieno and Carib, every Don Santiago de Espana, every child of Africa, every perfumed Princessa De la Noche, every hysterical television personality and dancing melocoton, electric plug, telephone cable, naval installation, politician, supermarket, history book and so on, is slipping away “al Oriente”. I will miss it when it’s gone.

On July 2nd, 1964, (forty five years, five months, twelve hours and a lifetime ago) It took the entire day, (dawn to dusk), to sail the fifty foot Ketch “Success” this far. Sailing into San Juan harbor in the dark that night, was a bilge-rat’s first lesson in finding the navigational lights hidden among the dancing neon, red, green and amber traffic lights and the ever blinking diamond twinkle of a major sea side city.

On July Fourth 1964, as we were leaving the harbor at Areciebo, bound across the dreaded Mona Passage for Hispaniola. I looked back towards “The Virgins” beneath the rising sun, and felt my heart all but break with longing.

I wanted more than anything to go back home (even though home was at that time, a small clearing on the side of Sara Hill.) I stood on the deck, looking back for a long long time.

In truth, no small part of my pain was the realization that “today, the 4th” was wild, raucous, rambunctious, crazy ruckus, Carnival Day in St. John. I felt ever so strongly that I should have been heading there, rather than here, going who knows where. (but clearly in the wrong direction).

The good question of whether I ought to have been heading east to England rather than west to the U.S. has been posed many times by sincere people aware of my history in the music business. While I very much appreciate their concern and perhaps it is true that I might have been a better fit for Britain, Truth be told, on July Fourth 1964, standing on the deck of the good ship “Success” longing for the “Islands of the Virgins” I was much more an “instinct driven, lusty, dipsomaniacal youth,” than a thoughtful, practical, prescient planner. Ah well…

I’m remembering how at 18, I was alone in the full moon night at the helm of a 50 foot ketch, under full sail, just off the coast of Haiti, holding a course W.N.W, on the Midnight to 4 AM watch, with four souls asleep below.

What an amazing series of moments. I was as hyper alert as I had ever been, hyper aware of the wind, the current, the strong pulling of the wheel, the glowing compass and what would happen if I slid off course. I was sure that I could hear the water crashing against the reefs that line the northern coast of Hispaniola, and if you ask, to this day, I could almost swear that I remember (clear as a ships bell), the leaping fires on the Mountain side and the crazy pounding of Haitian drums. My heart was pounding my, my mind was racing, and I knew that I would never forget that moment, that time and place, the spirit in that boy. And I never have.

There were many other wonderful exhilarating unforgettable nights at sea, standing at the point of the bowsprit, flying high and plunging deep above and between the dark and dangerous waves. Singing into the wind as it whipped my hair my open shirt and my words away.

Scrambling in crazy wind lashed rain storm to follow the Captain’s command, to haul in the franticly beating jib, in spite of the fact that it’s already slapped you silly. To this day I dream of magnificent beautiful flying Jennys…

Or still quiet nights when the sea and the sky and the stars in the sky ARE everything, are everything that is the world, everything that is except our poor little pondering noggins with their peculiar little imaginings,

A boy of beating heart, of fragile little (but conscious) brain, my feeble little man-child wonderings, sandwiched between billions of years above and billions of years below. A “consciousness” floating on a wood chip smack dab between double eternities. Yikes! There perhaps, the waddling baby duckling birth of reverence and humility. Continued…

 

 

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