you seem kinda interesting. may I ask how you wound up in Jamaica for 7 years?
Interesting person? thanks, but it's all relative. Those were the growing years and only a kick-start to the last 35.
It was actually the Virgin Islands in the 70's and not Jamaica, although a few of the guys were from Jamaica. I was introduced to the islands with a Thanksgiving to Christmas college course. I earned my three credits by studying and reporting on religions of the island - pop. 3,000 = 13 religions. It's here at the age of 18 that I found myself, together with a hot classmate, sitting around an earthen oven interviewing the Rastas and passing the spliff. Two years later upon graduation, there was a lot of pressure to work in the business of my father. I was proud of my father but feared the lifelong trap of working in a business of which I had no interest and being obliged to live in the same place, as had my parents and grandparents, for the rest of my life. It would have been hard on my family had I stayed and worked for another company, so the only option was to leave town. Two weeks after graduation, I told my parents that I had $900. and a round trip ticket from Pittsburgh to the Virgin Islands. In actuality, I had only $90 and a one-way ticket from Miami. The guy they thought was driving me to the airport in Pittsburgh was only taking me to the highway to start my 1500 mile hitch to Miami.
I was then forced, for lack of cash, into the bush with it's strange creatures and the Rastafari. Again, I'd like to emphasize that the Rastafarian are good people. They may be educated in manners and subjects different to ours, but fundamentally, I'd trust them as I do my own brother.
By the way, it wasn't long before the money ran out. I walked down a trail to town which brought me to a lumber yard. I walked in, found the owner and said, "My name is James S, I'm a damn good worker and I need a job. Can you help me?" I started the next day and worked side-by-side with three guys in their 70's, who turned out to be island icons and my mentors. One of the few regrets I have in my life is that I was never able to tell these men how much they meant to me and how much I had learned from them.
Eryting Irie Me Son