A Good Greeting
Salty climbed ashore. He smiled. “There is something near spiritual about being here. I can’t explain it, but it’s like picking up a friendship that should not have ended, but it did and there were things left unsaid.”
They walked toward the mainland and met halfway by a tall thin black man. He was dressed in colorful shorts and green button shirt that fit loosely.
“Good day to you, gentlemen,” he said with a Caribbean accent. “Is it petrol you want?”
“No,” Rich said. “We want to dock for awhile and I wondered if this place is okay.”
“Oh, sure,” the man said seriously. “And there is no charge. And you don’t have to worry about anyone doing anything to your boat. We here on Barbuda don’t want policemen. So if you don’t want policemen everybody must be good. But we do have one policeman – with nothing to do.”
“How far to Cordington?” Salty said.
“Perhaps 5 kilometers or more, but not six, that way on the road,” the man said pointing to a road running north.
Rich looked back at The Odyssey.
“You have every right to be concerned about your boat,” the man said solemnly, “but I will watch it personally. And if not me, one of my family. We are good people.”
Rich shook the man’s hand. “A man who says that without a smile means it.”
“There is not much on this island,” the man said. “I hope I’m not prying beyond my place, but is there something in particular I can help you with?”
“I was here many years ago,” Salty said. “Many of the people I knew may be gone by now, but it is likely no one will recall me.”
“I know everybody,” the man said.
“There was a man about my age, his name Patrick Nelson.” Salty said.
The man smiled brightly. “Oh, yes. Mr. Nelson is a well respected man on the island. So you knew him?”
“Yes, but it was many years ago.” Salty said. “So he is still living?”
“Yes,” the man said, “he is very much alive.” And the man laughed.
“He used to live on the northeast side of the island,” Salty said, “is he still there?”
“Oh no,” the man said, “he now lives in Cordington.”
“Can you tell us where?” Salty said.
“I will do better,” the man said, “I will take you there in my truck. I will have my son watch your boat.”
“My name is Rich,” Rich said holding out his hand to shake.
“I’m George Ambrose,” the man said shaking Rich’s hand.
“And they call me, Salty,” Salty said. They shook hands.
They walked with George to his home just beyond the road. It was a blue house on stilts and next to the house parked a green ‘53 Morris pick-up truck.
“Salty can sit with me,” George said, “and young man,” he smiled broadly, “there are most comfortable seats for you in the back.”
Rich hoisted himself into the back of the truck. He rested on one of the wooden slat benches that sat on both sides of the bed.
As George and Salty climbed into the cab, “Michael, this is your father come here!”
A teenage boy in shorts, tee shirt, and sandals came out of the house and onto the covered porch. “What is it papa?” he said leaning over the railing.
“I’m am taking these gentlemen to Cordington,” George said, “see to it no one goes on their boat.”
“Sure enough, papa,” Micheal said and sat on the steps of the porch watching The Odyssey.
Rich sat comfortably and at ease. He knew The Odyssey and contents were under honest eyes.