25 Years Ago
What would you do if all the Stores in San Pedro ran out of toilet paper? There are things that if you had never had them, you never miss them. The refrigerator and electric or butane stoves are good examples of things never missed twenty- five years ago. However, you will open your eyes wide to learn of a few things people never dreamed of in the 1950's and you would wonder how they managed.
Twenty Five years ago, or perhaps 35, not everything was as handy and easy as it is now. Let's look at a few examples to illustrate what I mean.
Fifty years ago there were rumors going around San Pedro that there was oil on the island. As children I remember playing in the lagoon and suddenly a bubble of air would appear from the bottom of the lagoon and rise to the surface. When this bubble got to the surface of the water, it would burst and a colorful oily residue would spread on the surface of the water, somewhat like when you spill some oil on the sea.
I am inspired to write this one based on Mr. Fidel Ancona’s resignation as chairman of the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority. In his letter Mr. Ancona puts blame on the San Pedro Town Council, our Area Representative and the Government for allowing for the illegal construction of projects when he and the local Planning Authority object to some illegal practices. Though I agree with Mr. Ancona’s decision in principle (not with the blame on our Town Council), I see something missing, which perhaps “Twenty Five Years Ago” can serve as an example. Take a close look everyone.
“Give me some more stories of old San Pedro,” says Christina Bradley, whom everyone affectionately known as Nana. Nana is a San Pedrana high school graduate now studying in the USA, and enjoys learning stories of animals and now says she is anxious to know more stories of her San Pedro, but in the days of her grandfather and other relatives.
We had a Facebook communication this week by a Sanpedrana living in the United States telling us how much she enjoyed last week’s topic on Twenty Five Years Ago on the lashing of animals. She said she loved the article and even today she lashes her dog when she does something that is intolerable. She furthermore suggested that if I have similar stories to share them, so here it goes.
Last week while parked by Barefoot Iguanas that runs a kitchen I overheard someone calling out loudly at a dog that was dashing across the street with something in its mouth. I soon learned it had stolen a smoked fish from someone at a nearby dining table. And I thought, “This dog needs a good lashing.” And then later that day as I became pensive as I love to do, I recalled how the Ministry of Education is trying to remove lashing or corporal punishment from the authority of schools. There are mixed opinions in this regard especially from the Teachers’ Union.
Can Twenty Five Years Ago go 162 years ago tis time? That is how far back we would need to go if we would like to have a chronological look at the development of San Pedro since it was founded in 1848.
Lent is Lent and Easter is Easter and I don’t think they can be different today than 25 years ago. You observe the passion, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ with prayers and traditions. Perhaps there lies the difference-in the traditions.
Celi Mac, actually Celi Nunez, and I had a wonderful conversation just last week as we waited in the Honorable Minister Heredia’s office. And of course conversation was centered about many topics of our “Old San Pedro”
Close your eyes for the fifth week to enjoy some great Belizean memories, especially those that lived in San Pedro. I am talking going way… way…way back not just thirty but fifty and sixty years ago. I am talking about the time when the infamous Charlie price infested the homes and warehouses in Belize City and we fought hard to prevent their coming to San Pedro. Charlie Price were huge (almost giant) rats measuring about ten inches in body length and about twenty from head to the tip of the tail.
Why is it that 25 years ago it only took one police officer to have an effective curfew system, and today with some 30 officers it does not work effectively? Why is it that in the past nobody even questioned the curfew? It was an automatic thing, and today everybody questions its legality, is form and its consequences? Were people more caring 25 years ago? Or was it that they were more naïve?
Jump into your hammock and close your eyes and go back, I mean go way way back to enjoy good old Belizean San Pedro style of living. Remember those days when daddy used to be a hunter. We don’t have hunters today. Whenever the family was somewhat tired of eating fish, dad and his friends used to go hunting for sea turtles. “Vamos a buscar un caguamo”, said dad. And off they went in the sailing boat outside the reef hunting for turtles. A few hours later they were sure to come to shore with one or two turtles.
Close your eyes and go back. Go way way back to those days. I am talking about those days when you used to get up in the morning to the smell of coconut husk burning on the fire hearth (fogon) and the smell of manatee sizzling in the frying pan and mom baking fresh Johnny cakes for the morning breakfast. Close your eyes and see children spreading out the green coconut husks all over the yard to dry them out in the sun while another brother of yours is grinding corn with a hand mill so that mom can start baking the corn tortillas.
Close your eyes and go back. Go way, way back. I am talking about playing hide and seek at the beach with the neighborhood boys and girls and then going home late, around six and having supper of hot Johnny cakes and fried barracuda roe. It was radio entertainment time at home in the evening listening to Serefino Coleman with his humor show, and the children tuned in to Lydia Ramirez with Roncon Infantil. Lydia gave a riddle asking which is the forbidden fruit and a Sanpedrana wrote in saying it was the guava.
Those of us who like carpentry spend a lot of our spare time doing carpentry chores around the home, especially around Christmas time. There are bar stools to repair, closets to upgrade, and many little things to retouch with paint or varnish. It is fun doing these little things without having to pay or not being able to get the job done because cabinet makers are overloaded with jobs or there are not any available.
Today it costs fifteen to twenty thousand dollars to put on a fairly small wedding. A big one with some eight hundred invited guests and two bands costs forty thousand. I am talking about the wedding reception. If you talk about the wedding dress, you are talking about one thousand dollars and it can get really fancy and expensive to the tune of five thousand dollar.
Dominus vu Biscum. Et cum spiritu tu. Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificaetur nomen tuum, adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie; et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris, et ne inducas nos in tentationem, sed libera nos a Malo”
During their vacation on La Isla Bonita, friendly couple Amy and Henry Stanley from Chillicothe, Ohio, went out to sea with a sharp tour guide – Tomas from El Pescador. They caught an amazing 25lbs Permit and other fish such as bonefish, grunts and snappers. We guess chilly weather is a secret in hauling in a nice catch.
Ooops, so you missed last week’s article on “machismo” (chauvinism) dealing with the wife having to heat up her husband’s bucket bath, swatting the flies away so he would eat peacefully, and not being able to go to a party alone, while he could. Some of my female fan readers told me that they gave me an A for that story because it showed that machismo is on the downfall and that women have been liberated.