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Posts Tagged ‘Puerto Rico’

Gran Faddah Buckra An De Ol Geeal

July 5, 2018 1 comment

 Book 4.  Gran Faddah Buckra An De Ol Geeal

A time when I wa small ah went to see me ol granfaddah de ol Buckra de Paehae de fus fus fus. Ah sae Granfaddah! Ah come tu see yu! He sae Ok den, look me hare, but yu gon got tu bettah stay ou de way, a Ol Geeal coming to see me fo something an ah don wan yu get mashup when de action start! Ah sae “ A Ol Geeal? A Ol Geeal? Who it tis, granfaddah, who it tis? He sae “Ah me bouy, don worry bout dat, yu gon see, don worry bout dat.

 I sae “but Granfaddah, wha kina action yu gon do wid a ol Geeal, yu gon teach ha how tu fall asleep in de chair? Yu gon teach ha how tu take out an put in ha teet dem? How to play domino?  Granfaddah,Yu tink de ol Geeal gon wan tu hear bou when yu poisen yu self an almos whole a dounde road,  when yu cook up dat Barracota in de olden days? Oh how yu used tu tief Mango?  An Granfaddah wha yu gon gee she tu eat? De Ol Geeal ain gon wan no  sardine and French bread to wash doun wid kool aid, Wha wrang wid yu, Granfaddah, you don know you too ol to have a ol Geeal?

 “Ahh meboy” he sae “ahh meboy” das wae yu wrang, you mubbe tink yu Granfaddah ban ol”? Yu dunno yu Granfaddah is a sharp boy? Yu dunno yu talking tu de man de used to call “Buckre de Pale-Male, de champagne ah Gingerale?” Ahh mebouy, in dose days Yu Gran Papeeto had woman like mosquito, woman like whelks, like genip, woman wha couden done me boy. Yu tink ah spen me whole life scratchin me baney? No Sah, Yu tink all I cou do is siddown outside de kitchen do? No Sah, Not me me bouy, De ol Buckra still know a ting or two, yu gon see, don worry bou dat!

De minute Granfaddah see de Ol Gieall by de do, he suck in he belly an he  stann up straight straight, den he sweep off he hat an he bow doun low like Erroll Flynn, he sae “Come right in my darling, come right in my dear,

Bouy, ah couldn believe me oy dem, de ol Geeal wa de famous Carnival Queen from Nineteen Fifty odd, a ol Geeal wha we da see in de newspapah almos every week for doin something good, Dis ol Geeal is like de fus lady of de lan. Wha she doin hare wid me Granfaddah?

Before ah could ask ha dat question, she watch me straight in me face and she sae “Good afternoon young man, I’m hear to take de measure of your Grandfaddah’s Curtin rods” and wid dat de two a dem went straight in side de bedroom.

De nex ting oy know, ah hearin’ tee hee hee and tae hae hae den something fall doun on de bed an de bed spring start to squeak and squeal , an Man, ah embarrass to tell yu wha come nex, ah hear de ol Geeal  sae OY!, OY! Den she sae “Oh me dahlin  Paehae yu know das how ah like it, yu know das how ah like it, den she start tu bawl out Oh Godee Oh Godee (Ah sae to me self what does dat have tu do wid curtin rods?)

She singing now, Yes Sah, Buckra, OOWEE! She singin now! Yes Sah! Buckra, OOWEE! Yu got me goin, yu got me goin OY OY, ah hear dem bouncing up an bouncing up! Oh Godee Oh Godee! She bawl out don stop now don stop now! Man anit soun like a donkey broke he win in de) wid A AAIIIEEEH! (ah sae tu meself, dat soun like de end a de worl) den a KA_POW! ah hear de bed broke doun! Den all ah hear.. is notin atall, noting atall me bouy,  den ah hare de ol Geeal say .. Hello? HELLO?

De nex tin I know de oL Geeail bus out tru de do,  bawlin out Oh God! Oh God! Sonny boy come quick, yu Granfaddah Dead, Yu Granfaddah dead!, Ah done kill yu po Granfaddah, Oh God Sonny boy, ah sae yu po ol Granfaddah dead”

Ah went in tu see fo meself, Man de ol boy wa white like a ghos, he oy dem wa roll back in he head, he toung hangin out de side a he mout,. De woman bawl out Oh God I’s a murderah, I’s a murderah! Ah done kill de sweet ol Buckra!!

Den she sae, Ah got to get outta hare befor me chrren dem fine out, ah gato go, I ain wan me chrren dem know I ain wan nobody kno…an wid dat she pick up ha wig an she run ou de back and clime doun in de gut an clim up de uddah side a de gut, den she broke thru de chicken coop by de cenep chtree an she wa gan..

Ah sae OH Godee!, OH Godee!  De ol Geeial done gan an le me here alone wid me po dead Granfaddah… Ah sae “Oh Godee, how ah gone tell me Mammie, who it tis kill me Granfaddah? How a gone tell me Mamee wha dey wa doin in de bedroom?” Wha ah gon tell de Police? Ah dunno what u tell de whorl?  

Jus den ah hear a voice sae “boy wha wrang wid yu, yu bettah stop yu bawlin if yu don wan some clout”..when ah tun around, it look like ah see me Granfaddah dae sittin down good as gol an winkin he oy.

Ah sae “but Granfaddah yu dunno yu dead like a ol keeat, de ol Geeal done kill yu, yu ain know yu done dead awreaddy Granfaddah? Yu don tink yu bettah lay doun?

 He sae “Ahh me bouy, don be schupiddy, yu keean see das me good way tu get rid a dem guirl? Das de Ol Buckra trick tu mek dem go home when ah done had me way wid dem. He sae “ Ahh me Bouy…don worry bout a ting, an jus wait til yu see de two ol Geeal wha comin’ tomorrow!!!

 

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August 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s one for Bite Size and the “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” Group.

From the Live Album “SHAKE A BUM” by Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band lilfish records, St. Thomas Virgin Islands

“The Man Who Swam To St. John” (Emancipation Day!)

July 1, 2014 3 comments

The Man Who Swam To St. John (Emancipation Day)

By Scott Fagan

In 1985 Shaky Acres (the recovery program that Tuts and I had started in 1981) was going along fairly well, but was in need of a fund-raiser or two. Tuts heard (along with everyone else) of a proposed St. John swim (everybody heard of it because it was considered impossible by most folks, and suicidally dangerous by local folks who knew that there were sharks, starvin’ hungry sharks, out there the size of the battleship “Bismarck”). The UDT (The Frogmen, The Navy Seals, The toughest hombres on or under the sea) while training for many years in St. Thomas, had given up on swimming to St. John because it was simply too crazy and dangerous a deed.

The well-intentioned local lady legislator who had proposed “the swim” was unaware of the deep and dark difficulties inherent in the “big fun fundraiser”

When Tutsie was a young boy, riding back across Sir Francis Drake’s Passage coming home with his Mother from a harvest festival in Cane Garden bay in Tortola, he looked out from the deck of “The Joan Of Arc” or “The Bomba Charger” at Pillsbury Sound (The five-mile stretch of wild water that separates St. Thomas and St. John) he said to her “I cou’ swim ‘crass dat yu kno” His usually gentle and loving mother, scared to death by what she was hearing, tried to discourage this crazy idea once and for all by replying “Man hush up yu schupid mout, why yu like tu talk such schupid craziness?” Tuts didn’t see any reason to discuss it any further, but, he says, the conviction that he could do it, was locked in his mind for ever after.

It was July the third, 1985, Emancipation Day in The Virgin Islands. (Emancipation Day is the day in 1849, on which it became official that the slaves in the Danish West Indies had won their freedom and were now and forever more free) Freedom was a long time coming for the children of Africa in the DWI, and very hard-won, as was Tut’s own personal freedom from drugs and alcohol.

There were forty eight entrants all together, most of them young white kids from the hot-shot St. Croix “Dolphins Swim Team”, they came prepared and ready to succeed, with sleek buoyant body suits, well fitted goggles and the best fins that money could buy

A number of the St. Thomas swimmers, were runners down from the states, budding tri-athletes, an elderly white gent determined to show his wife he still “had it” and half a hand full of locals with a mismatched assortment of masks and fins..

Tuts on the other hand was wearing one pair of big and baggy boxer trunks, y nada mas…

As the other swimmers did warm ups and calisthenics on the sand at Vessup bay, Red Hook, a tough old Tortola sailor, pulled Tuts aside and said” Buaayyy yu, yu crazy buaay? Yuh following de damn schupid white people dem? Yuh don kno de real name fo red hook is shak waff? Buaayy!! Shak ow de biggah den uh submarine! Yu is a black man gon follow dem schupidy white people? Buaayy wha rang wid yuh, yuh crazy o something?”

Tuts concedes that the strongly delivered warning did cause him much concern, but that he had already told everybody over and again that he was going to do it, told them in the strongest terms, in the face of the harshest ridicule. It was common knowledge that no (sane) black person from the Islands could ever, should ever and would ever attempt to make that swim. Therefore, as his sanity was in question, it was also a crucial moment for recovery in the Islands.

At this moment he was demonstrating clearly (to local folks) that local people who went to fellowship meetings “wid de crazy white people dem” were demonstrably nuts (just like they thought) and for him to chicken out before he even hit the water would have sealed it once and for all. Tuts has since confessed that on that particular morning he had decided that he would rather be eaten alive, than quit.

Once the old Tortola man realized that he was not talking to a sensible gentleman of color, he began to encourage him with information about what to expect in terms of currents and where to find what he called “soft spots” in the sea. He stated flatly that “yuh can’t swim directly East ta St. John, yuh have tu swim for “Loango” (Loango Key, a small Island West North West of St. John) and as yuh hold Loango as your goal, the current will be sweepin’ yuh south, look sharp! Buaay, dat is de onliest way to get dare”.

As the swim began, the fast and the fancy took off due East for Cruz bay and before you knew it half of them had been swept away and were heading backwards around Cabrita Point towards Big and Little St. James, then out over the Anegada Trench, (The deepest trench in the Caribbean, on the bottom of which the scariest bug eyed things on earth, with jumping, wiggling electro “bait worms” dangling in front of foot long razor teeth, swim around four miles down, snapping steel trap jaws, and saying fish prayers, to get their dribbly lips around something, anything, soaked and slathered in coconut oil, or greasy mango scented sun tan lotion) and then south and west for St Croix, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Haiti, The Caymans, The Isle of Pines Cuba, and New Orleans. (of course by the time they got to New Orleans there would be nothing left of them but a Speedo tag and whatever plastics they’d swallowed along the way) needless to say, an armada of rescue boats started pulling people in over the gunnels, like langustas on parade, on a fish pot Saturday night.

Tuts was heading for Loango .

Shortly after the fast and the fancy fiasco, the old white gent’s wife, standing in his rescue boat started screaming hysterically “A Shark! A Shark! Oh my God, I see a Shark!” Pull my husband out, pull my husband out, pull him out right now!! Oh my GOD! Pull my husband out right now!

Tuts says the poor old gent was utterly dejected as they pulled him up, his bathing suit drooping below his pale old, pink old, shiny old hiney.

Next went the dapper sharply outfitted “high color” attorney from the states, who had looked most disdainfully upon our man’s baggy boxers and boney bare feet but was now being dragged, thoroughly defeated, flat on his back from the sea to flat on his back on the bottom of the heaving boat.

The boats were heaving now because the seas were heaving now, they were coming into “The Big Blue”. A section of the sound a mile or more wide, in which, or perhaps I ought to say, through which, big serioso, fast moving, megalo mountains of Big Blue Heavy Water Waves (Waves of the sort that make you say “Good Lord” or “Mama Mia” or “Holy Freakin’ Toledo” when you first see them even though you (if you have good sense) are looking at them from your perch on the deck of a big passenger ferry, ten or fifteen feet above the water line.

If you are in the water “down in the hollow” splashing along on your belly and craning your neck up trying to see the top of the wave, you will probably say a lot more than good lord, and if you are Tutsie and your rescue boat is manned by one “Fisherman John” a continental dipso juicehead, that you recently helped to drag off the junk heap of life, but now haven’t seen for over half an hour, most of it will not be printable in a general audience mem.wha? such as this one. But you can believe me when I say, you have probably never heard anything like it.

Eventually, Tuts discovered that if he swam like crazy faster and faster as he got closer and closer to the top and he could then flip over to his back at just the last second the wave would crest and the curl would break over his shoulders. He could “hang there” for seconds, (perhaps one or two of the longest this side of eternity,) and contemplate his mounting misery and helplessness before having to roll over and slide headfirst down down down, ah..down down down, ah down down down, down. (Knowing that some thing is surely waiting in the “trough” to open its porky yaw and scrape the heck out of your back, belly and sides as it swallows you whole)

As I may have mentioned casually a short while ago, this section of the sound was just a splash over a mile or more wide, can you guess how many times your whole life can flash before your eyes before you get completely bored with it?

What you don’t get bored with is the fact that you cannot see either Island or for that matter any thing at all when you are down in the valley, nothing but deep dark blue. So the desperate hope that you might be able to see something, anything, hinting at where you are, (is it Puerto Rico? Is it Berlin?) at the top of the next wave is a powerful draw, and can keep you going for many a repetition.

One time he did see some thing recognizable back on St.Thomas, it was the two super poles that mark the spot where the undersea cable goes down beneath the sea. way down to the bottom, that’s the bottom way way down in the pitch black darkness beneath his own bottom. Better to see nothing he thought, than things as scary as that.

Pretty soon his primary concern had shifted from monstroso seas, to waves slapping him in the face, slap slap slap slap and he realized that he was in a different kind of swim now, the big blue was behind him, and he was battling offshore currents, lucky he had gone for Loango, because now, in spite of his forward motion he was being swept sideways, southward towards “Stephens Key”, a small flat island outside of the Bay of Cruz Bay or Cruz Bay Bay, comprende?

Tuts knew that if he allowed himself to be swept southward beyond Stephens Key, he would be out in the Anegada Trench, and then as likely as not his rescuers would be the Venezuelan Navy. He determined that he had to get to and make it through the spiffy currents around Stephens Key

If the current was running in his favor it could be a breeze, he was exhausted, but just on the inside of Stephens Key was the outer entrance to Cruz Bay. He was almost, almost there.

Alas, the current was not in his favor (unless he wanted to turn around and “go with the flow” back to the “Cabrita express” and the afore-mentioned many points beyond) and this part of the swim took everything but the very best of him. The very best of him was all that kept him kicking; the current was so strong that the surface water was rippling backwards in protest. That’s when the “water under water” is moving too fast for the water “on the water” to keep up, so the surface ripples backwards in tiny little cascades of confusion, all of which seemed to be going right up his nose, and down his throat.

They say that the children of Africa can’t swim. My friend Tutsie has proved time and again, that that is a racist lie, or put another way, demonstrably untrue. Although it is true that Tutsie’s Mother, Miss Meu, born in Dominica, was one half Carib. And although the present effort of the Carib/Arawak Federation is to dispel the myth that they say King Charles of Spain used to promulgate and excuse the genocide of the indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean, specifically, that the Caribs were so wild and savage that they ate people, there is no question that the Caribs were and are among the toughest of the toughest human beings that have ever lived. So our man, three quarters African, One quarter Carib (with a smitter smatter of French and, British, both in the African part of the pie) is lying all but dead in the water, having just burst through the impassable current hole at Stephen’s Rock.

Tuts aka “El Toro” aka “Peperino” aka Skarpy aka “The Rabbi” (that’s another story) aka a hundred other desperado descriptors, is ready to give it up. If only he had the strength to raise his arm to signal surrender or the voice to beg to be dragged out of the sea, he would have done so. But just then the cheerful voice of Fisherman John came sing-songing across the water, “Make it look pretty Tuts! Make it look pretty! We’re almost there man!, Make it look pretty!!!.

Some day I’ll build a statue at Cabrita Point to Victor Antonius “Tutsie” “El Toro” Edwards, one portraying a skinny little mahogany or Brass hued dude in baggy boxers, tilting forward on one leg, the other angled up and out behind, with hands clasped (as in prayer) just above his head, Poised to dive into history.

Tuts became that day the first native Virgin Islander to EVER in all time, swim from St. Thomas to St. John.

It wasn’t pretty as he crawled and dragged himself ashore (water streaming from every orifice), and it wasn’t pretty as he collapsed on the sand, unable to stand for a full three minutes. But in his defense, he was forty freakin’ years old and working with a body that had been ravaged by drugs and alcohol.

The kids on the Dolphin swim team have much to be proud of, they did in their wetsuits, fins and organized swim formations, what the rough and tough UDT had given up on, they made the swim.

I know that where ever these kids are in the world, and where ever they will go, they will always remember that “once upon a time, when we were kids in the islands, my friends and me did the impossible together” they will also remember with awe and admiration “that skinny little fellow in the baggy boxer trunks” that did it alone and bare footed, and then, passed on the champagne and praise, because “that’s not why he was there”.

Tutsie made the swim because it was Emancipation Day, and he wanted to demonstrate and celebrate freedom, he wanted to demonstrate freedom from fear of the sea and the ignorant idea that “Black people can’t swim” He wanted to demonstrate that “recovery is macho” and that black people now need to be emancipated from the chemical slavery that is alcoholism and addiction, and because even though she was long gone, he wanted his mother to know that he could do, what he said he could do, and now it was time to go home… And oh yeah, he did it for Shaky Acres.

Of course we were celebrating Tutsie long before we started Shaky Acres and he swam to St. John. I first recorded “Tutsie” for BANG Records in 1965, (we wore it out on the Juke box at Duffys) and then again for RCA in 1975 as La Biega Carosuel/Tutsie. If you listen closely to this more recent recording of La Biega Carousel/Tutsie (made in St. Thomas in 2005) you’ll hear our friends Jeff Medina, Morgan Rael, Lennie Monsanto, Richard Spencley, Cliff Finch, and Robbie Roberts, strummin’ and bangin’ out the groove and the beautiful ”Of GOD”, Mighty Whitey and April Moran AKA “The Trader Dan’s Forever Memorial Choir” on the choruses. God Bless Emancipation Day and God Bless Us Each And Every One.

Scott Fagan
La Biega Carousel/Tutsie

Copyright 2012, Scott Fagan Music ASCAP.

“SCOTT FAGAN And The MAAC Island Band” In CONCERT One Night Only HERSHEY AREA PLAYHOUSE, Hershey PA. August 3rd 2013, 7:00 PM

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

 “SCOTT FAGAN And The MAAC Island Band” IN CONCERT One Night Only..THE HERSHEY AREA PLAYHOUSE, 830 Cherry Dr., Hershey, PA.  August 3rd , 7:00pm -CALL Box Office for Ticket Information: 717.533.8525

Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band

 Scott Fagan (Singer/Songwriter) has been an international recording artist since he left high school in St. Thomas Virgin Islands to sign with Columbia Records in 1964. Some reviews..Cashbox Magazine: Spinal Tap melodies…His range is phenomenal. Billboard: “A Poet”.  William Krasilovsky, Author, THIS BUSINESS OF MUSIC, l & ll: “Scott Fagan is a genius. I’ll certify that.” The MAAC ISLAND BAND is: Rafael “El Jefe” Martinez, (El Congero) From Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, he has been a “Congero” for over 25  years. Drew Washington, The BASS Man of Choice for the MAAC ISLAND BAND. Has played at the highest levels, for over 30 Years. Tim Griesemer, (El Maestro) Well known for his extraordinary gifts as a drummer. He is a master of percussion. Barbara Vajda, A Steelton guitar Goddess with a long history as a rocker. After a hiatus to raise little ones, the Goddess is back with Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band. Benny Danner, (El Estudeante) Percussion plus….Gary Smith, (El Nuevo) Back Ground Vocals and Percussion. Visit our website www.scottfaganandthemaacislandband.com  Listen to our latest singleSure has been Good Loving You Baby”  @ http://www.youtube.com   check out our latest album @ www.10greatsongsongsinsearchofanaudience.com   CONTACT INFO: Tim Griesemer, 717.439.1919 or Scott Fagan, 717.592.0853

 

 

“The Man Who Swam To St. John” (Emancipation Day)

July 2, 2013 2 comments

The Man Who Swam To St. John (Emancipation Day)                                            

                                                                                                                   By Scott Fagan

In 1985 Shaky Acres (the recovery program that Tuts and I had started in 1981) was going along fairly well, but was in need of a fund-raiser or two. Tuts heard (along with everyone else) of a proposed St. John swim (everybody heard of it because it was considered impossible by most folks, and suicidaly dangerous by local folks who knew that there were sharks, starvin’ hungry sharks, out there the size of the battleship “Bismarck”). The UDT (The Frogmen, The Navy Seals, The toughest hombres on or under the sea) while training for many years in St. Thomas, had given up on swimming to St. John because it was simply too crazy and dangerous a deed.

The well-intentioned local lady legislator who had proposed “the swim” was unaware of the deep and dark difficulties inherent in the “big fun fundraiser”

When Tutsie was a young boy, riding back across Sir Francis Drake’s Passage coming home with his Mother from a harvest festival in Cane Garden bay in Tortola,  he looked out from the deck of “The Joan Of Arc” or “The Bomba Charger” at Pillsbury Sound (The five-mile stretch of wild water that separates St. Thomas and St. John) he said to her “I cou’ swim ‘crass dat yu kno” His usually gentle and loving mother, scared to death by what she was hearing, tried to discourage this crazy idea once and for all by replying “Man hush up yu schupid mout, why yu like tu talk such schupid craziness?” Tuts didn’t see any reason to discuss it any further, but, he says, the conviction that he could do it, was locked in his mind for ever after.

It was July the third, 1985, Emancipation Day in The Virgin Islands. (Emancipation Day is the day in 1849, on which it became official that the slaves in the Danish West Indies had won their freedom and were now and forever more free) Freedom was a long time coming for the children of Africa in the DWI, and very hard-won, as was Tut’s own personal freedom from drugs and alcohol.

 There were forty eight entrants all together, most of them young white kids from the hot-shot St. Croix “Dolphins Swim Team”, they came prepared and ready to succeed, with sleek buoyant body suits, well fitted goggles and the best fins that money could buy

A number of the St. Thomas swimmers, were runners down from the states, budding tri-athletes, an elderly white gent determined to show his wife he still “had it” and half a hand full of locals with a mismatched assortment of masks and fins..

Tuts on the other hand was wearing one pair of big and baggy boxer trunks, y nada mas…

 As the other swimmers did warm ups and calisthenics on the sand at Vessup bay, Red Hook, a tough old Tortola sailor, pulled Tuts aside and said” Buaayyy yu, yu crazy buaay? Yuh following de damn schupid white people dem? Yuh don kno de real name fo red hook is shak waff? Buaayy!! Shak ow de biggah den uh submarine! Yu is a black man gon follow dem schupidy white people? Buaayy wha rang wid yuh, yuh crazy o something?”

 Tuts concedes that the strongly delivered warning did cause him much concern, but that he had already told everybody over and again that he was going to do it, told them in the strongest terms, in the face of the harshest ridicule. It was common knowledge that no (sane) black person from the Islands could ever, should ever and would ever attempt to make that swim. Therefore, as his sanity was in question, it was also a crucial moment for recovery in the Islands.

At this moment he was demonstrating clearly (to local folks) that local people who went to fellowship meetings “wid de crazy white people dem” were demonstrably nuts (just like they thought) and for him to chicken out before he even hit the water would have sealed it once and for all. Tuts has since confessed that on that particular morning he had decided that he would rather be eaten alive, than quit.

 Once the old Tortola man realized that he was not talking to a sensible gentleman of color, he began to encourage him with information about what to expect in terms of currents and where to find what he called “soft spots” in the sea. He stated flatly that “yuh can’t swim directly East ta St. John, yuh have tu swim for “Loango”  (Loango Key, a small Island East North East of St. John) and as yuh hold Loango as your goal, the current will be sweepin’ yuh south, look sharp! Buaay, dat is de onliest way to get dare”.

 As the swim began, the fast and the fancy took off due East for Cruz bay and before you knew it half of them had been swept away and were heading backwards around Cabrita Point towards Big and Little St. James, then out over the  Anegada Trench, (The deepest trench in the Caribbean, on the bottom of which the scariest bug eyed things on earth, with jumping, wiggling  electro “bait worms” dangling in front of  foot long razor teeth, swim around four miles down, snapping  steel trap jaws, and saying fish prayers, to get their dribbly lips around something, anything, soaked and slathered in coconut oil, or greasy mango scented sun tan lotion) and then south and west for St Croix, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Haiti, The Caymans, The Isle of Pines Cuba, and New Orleans. (of course by the time they got to New Orleans there would be nothing left of them but a Speedo tag and whatever plastics they’d swallowed along the way) needless to say, an armada of rescue boats started pulling people in over the gunnels, like langustas on parade, on a fish pot Saturday night.

 Tuts was heading for Loango .

 Shortly after the fast and the fancy fiasco, the old white gent’s wife, standing in his rescue boat started screaming hysterically “A Shark! A Shark! Oh my God, I see a Shark!” Pull my husband out, pull my husband out, pull him out right now!! Oh my GOD! Pull my husband out right now!

Tuts says the poor old gent was utterly dejected as they pulled him up, his bathing suit drooping below his pale old, pink old, shiny old  hiney.

 Next went the dapper sharply outfitted “high color” attorney from the states, who had looked most disdainfully upon our man’s baggy boxers and boney bare feet but was now being dragged, thoroughly defeated, flat on his back from the sea to flat on his back on the bottom of the heaving boat.

  The boats were heaving now because the seas were heaving now, they were coming into “The Big Blue”. A section of the sound a mile or more wide, in which, or perhaps I ought to say, through which, big serioso, fast moving, megalo mountains of Big Blue Heavy Water Waves (Waves of the sort that make you say “Good Lord” or “Mama Mia” or “Holy Freakin’ Toledo” when you first see them even though you (if you have good sense) are looking at them from your perch on the deck of a big passenger ferry, ten or fifteen feet above the water line.

 If you are in the water “down in the hollow” splashing along on your belly and craning your neck up trying to see the top of the wave, you will probably say a lot more than good lord, and if you are Tutsie and your rescue boat is manned by one “Fisherman John” a continental dipso juicehead,  that you recently helped to drag off the junk heap of life, but now haven’t seen for over  half an hour, most of it will not be printable in a general audience mem.wha? such as this one. But you can believe me when I say, you have probably never heard anything like it.

 Eventually, Tuts discovered that if he swam like crazy faster and faster as he got closer and closer to the top and he could then flip over to his back at just the last second the wave would crest and the curl would break over his shoulders. He could “hang there” for seconds, (perhaps one or two of the longest this side of eternity,) and contemplate his mounting misery and helplessness before having to roll over and slide headfirst down down down, ah..down down down, ah down down down, down. (Knowing that some thing is surely waiting in the “trough” to open its porky yaw and scrape the heck out of  your back, belly and sides as it swallows you whole)

 As I may have mentioned casually a short while ago, this section of the sound was just a splash over a mile or more wide, can you guess how many times your whole life can flash before your eyes before you get completely bored with it?

What you don’t get bored with is the fact that you cannot see either Island or for that matter any thing at all when you are down in the valley, nothing but deep dark blue. So the desperate hope that you might be able to see something, anything, hinting at where you are, (is it Puerto Rico? Is it Berlin?) at the top of the next wave is a powerful draw, and can keep you going for many a repetition.

 One time he did see some thing recognizable back on St.Thomas, it was the two super poles that mark the spot where the undersea cable goes down beneath the sea. way down to the bottom, that’s the bottom way way down in the pitch black darkness beneath his own bottom. Better to see nothing he thought, than things as scary as that.

Pretty soon his primary concern had shifted from monstroso seas, to waves slapping him in the face, slap slap slap slap and he realized that he was in a different kind of swim now, the big blue was behind him, and he was battling offshore currents, lucky he had gone for Loango, because now, in spite of his forward motion he was being swept sideways, southward towards “Stephens Key”, a small flat island outside of  the Bay of Cruz Bay or Cruz Bay Bay, comprende?

 Tuts knew that if he allowed himself to be swept southward beyond Stephens Key, he would be out in the Anegada Trench, and then as likely as not his rescuers would be the Venezuelan Navy. He determined that he had to get to and make it through the spiffy currents around Stephens Key

If the current was running in his favor it could be a breeze, he was exhausted, but just on the inside of Stephens Key was the outer entrance to Cruz Bay. He was almost, almost there.

Alas, the current was not in his favor (unless he wanted to turn around and “go with the flow” back to the “Cabrita express” and the afore-mentioned many points beyond) and this part of the swim took everything but the very best of him. The very best of him was all that kept him kicking; the current was so strong that the surface water was rippling backwards in protest. That’s when the “water under water” is moving too fast for the water “on the water” to keep up, so the surface ripples backwards in tiny little cascades of confusion, all of which seemed to be going right up his nose, and down his throat.

 They say that the children of Africa can’t swim. My friend Tutsie has proved time and again, that that is a racist lie, or put another way, demonstrably untrue. Although it is true that Tutsie’s Mother, Miss Meu, born in Dominica, was one half Carib. And although the present effort of the Carib/Arawak Federation is to dispel the myth that they say King Charles of Spain used to promulgate and excuse the genocide of the indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean, specifically, that the Caribs were so wild and savage that they ate people, there is no question that the Caribs were and are among the toughest of the toughest human beings that have ever lived. So our man, three quarters African, One quarter Carib (with a smitter smatter of  French and, British, both in the African part of the pie) is lying all but dead in the water, having just burst through the impassable current hole at Stephen’s Rock.

 Tuts aka “El Toro” aka “Peperino” aka  Skarpy aka “The Rabbi” (that’s another story) aka a hundred other desperado descriptors, is ready to give it up. If only he had the strength to raise his arm to signal surrender or the voice to beg to be dragged out of the sea, he would have done so. But just then the cheerful voice of Fisherman John came sing-songing across the water, “Make it look pretty Tuts! Make it look pretty! We’re almost there man!, Make it look pretty!!!.

 Some day I’ll build a statue at Cabrita Point to Victor Antonius “Tutsie”  “El Toro” Edwards, one portraying a skinny little mahogany or Brass hued dude in baggy boxers, tilting forward on one leg, the other angled up and out behind, with hands clasped (as in prayer) just above his head, Poised to dive into history.

Tuts became that day the first native Virgin Islander to EVER in all time, swim from St. Thomas to St. John.

 It wasn’t pretty as he crawled and dragged himself ashore (water streaming from every orifice), and it wasn’t pretty as he collapsed on the sand, unable to stand for a full three minutes. But in his defense, he was forty freakin’ years old and working with a body that had been ravaged by drugs and alcohol.

 The kids on the Dolphin swim team have much to be proud of, they did in their wetsuits, fins and organized swim formations, what the rough and tough UDT had given up on, they made the swim.

I know that where ever these kids are in the world, and where ever they will go, they will always remember that “once upon a time, when we were kids in the islands, my friends and me did the impossible together” they will also remember with awe and admiration “that skinny little fellow in the baggy boxer trunks” that did it alone and bare footed, and then, passed on the champagne and praise, because “that’s not why he was there”.

Tutsie made the swim because it was Emancipation Day, and he wanted to demonstrate and celebrate freedom, he wanted to demonstrate freedom from fear of the sea and the ignorant idea that “Black people can’t swim” He wanted to demonstrate that “recovery is macho” and that black people now  need to be emancipated from the chemical slavery that is alcoholism and addiction, and because even though she was long gone, he wanted his mother to know that he could do, what he said he could do, and now it was time to go home… And oh yeah, he did it for Shaky Acres.

Of course we were celebrating Tutsie long before we started Shaky Acres and he swam to St. John. I first recorded “Tutsie” for BANG Records in 1965, (we wore it out on the Juke box at Duffys) and then again for RCA in 1975 as La Biega Carosuel/Tutsie. If you listen closely to this more recent recording  (You will find Tutsie’s song “la Biega Carousel” here. La Beiga Carousel/Tutsie  ( made in St. Thomas in 2005) you’ll hear our friends Jeff Medina, Morgan Rael, Lennie Monsanto, Richard Spencley, Cliff Finch, and Robbie Roberts, strummin’ and bangin’ out the groove and the beautiful ”Of GOD” and Mighty Whitey and April Moran on the choruses.

Scott Fagan

 

                                    Copyright 2012, Scott Fagan Music ASCAP.

 

“SCOTT FAGAN And The MAAC Island Band” In CONCERT One Night Only HERSHEY AREA PLAYHOUSE, Hershey PA. August 3rd 2013, 7:00 PM

March 16, 2013 Leave a comment

 “SCOTT FAGAN And The MAAC Island Band” IN CONCERT One Night Only..THE HERSHEY AREA PLAYHOUSE, 830 Cherry Dr., Hershey, PA.  August 3rd , 7:00pm -CALL Box Office for Ticket Information: 717.533.8525

Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band

 Scott Fagan (Singer/Songwriter) has been an international recording artist since he left high school in St. Thomas Virgin Islands to sign with Columbia Records in 1964. Some reviews..Cashbox Magazine: Spinal Tap melodies…His range is phenomenal. Billboard: “A Poet”.  William Krasilovsky, Author, THIS BUSINESS OF MUSIC, l & ll: “Scott Fagan is a genius. I’ll certify that.” The MAAC ISLAND BAND is: Rafael “El Jefe” Martinez, (El Congero) From Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, he has been a “Congero” for over 25  years. Drew Washington, The BASS Man of Choice for the MAAC ISLAND BAND. Has played at the highest levels, for over 30 Years. Tim Griesemer, (El Maestro) Well known for his extraordinary gifts as a drummer. He is a master of percussion. Barbara Vajda, A Steelton guitar Goddess with a long history as a rocker. After a hiatus to raise little ones, the Goddess is back with Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band. Benny Danner, (El Estudeante) Percussion plus….Gary Smith, (El Nuevo) Back Ground Vocals and Percussion. Visit our website www.scottfaganandthemaacislandband.com  Listen to our latest singleSure has been Good Loving You Baby”  @ http://www.youtube.com   check out our latest album @ www.10greatsongsongsinsearchofanaudience.com   CONTACT INFO: Tim Griesemer, 717.439.1919 or Scott Fagan, 717.592.0853

 

 

Book 4. Brand New Grandson…Jacob Max Charles Fagan! “Dreams Should Never Die” and “El Gringito”

April 13, 2011 4 comments

Book 4. Brand New Grandson…Jacob Max Charles Fagan!

My boy “The Bix” (Scott Francis Fagan) Son of Patricia Trepuk Evelyn Nelthrop Fagan and Great Grandson of Max Trepuk (of M.E. Trupk and I. Levine fame) has just had a little one. Here’s a photo of the fine young gent.

Jacob Max Charles Fagan

The Newest Chip off the Old Block

 He is not one bit better looking than his father or Grandfather (me)  at his age and so unfortunately, is not terribly likely to be able to get by based on looks alone. This means the lad is destined for hard work and long labor and may expect to start his first job  well before nursery school.

 Such is life for the likes of we…

Too bad he doesn’t look like his Grand Mother Patricia, why then the boy would be “King of The World”.

However, if he brings even a quarter of the happiness, delight and joy to his father, that his father has brought to me, then there is great cause for high kicking and hot footed celebration all across the land, and I welcome him with all my heart and soul.

 God bless you little Jacob Max Charles Fagan, you are most certainly a chip off the old block. Welcome, Welcome, to the World.

Here is “El Gringito” from “The V.I. Songs Vol. ll”  ’cause the dear lad is “Un Cuarto Puertoricanio”

 and  “Dreams Should Never Die” from the same CD to mark the occasion.

Feliz Navidad! Looking Forward!