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The Sea Smell of Gouyave
Ah, the sea smell of Gouyave. Nothing stirs my fondest memories, stored in the deepest recesses of my soul, like the sea smell of Gouyave.
On many a day, the sea smell had floated on the winds of Gouyave into my classroom. Beckoning me with its seductive smell, to sneak out of the classroom when Mr. Scoon dared turn his back. To leave the slates and blackboard behind, and to become one with the sea, rich in fish and adventure.
The smell takes me back to the days when we swam naked in the sea, blue water reflecting sunlit streaks of glittering silver, while our school uniform remained dry on sun bleached rocks. The sea smell of Gouyave had never betrayed us. Our parents never knew.
Oh, the smell of fresh snapper, cut in chunks with rusty razor blades, saturated in butter, salt, and pepper. Simmering in an old pan over an open fire, on rocks in the shade where the river met the sea. Just the thought of the smell still makes my mouth water.
The smell reminds me of the days when I defied superstition and my parents’ warnings. I would run bare feet on the sands of the Lance, past clothes lines laden with drying fish that drenched the air with its fresh smell, to witness the launching of schooners, crafted by the skilled hands of Gouyavemen and Lancemen. The sea smell of Gouyave it seemed had again protected us from the kidnappers who were supposed to sacrifice little boys to bless the new boats.
The sea smell reminds me of times when there was no difference between fantasy and reality. The day offshore whales blowing their top had become, in our young fertile minds, sea monsters. We didn’t need fairy tales back then. Gouyave was a land of fairy tales.
Like the late Saturday nights, when cow-hoofed La Diablesse women in bright red lipstick, high heels, and fancy hats, their ear rings jingling in the quiet night, strolled the streets from the Lance to Gouyave under the streets lamps lit by Mr. Ferguson. No one ever saw one, but we knew they existed, searching for wayward drunks to push off precipices.
The sea smell of Gouyave reminds me of the thousand wild stories that explained why a thousand couvalis rushed onto the seashores of the Lance, enough to supply the town with hundreds of cocoa baskets of fresh for days.
Ah, the sea smell reminds me of the rumshops, with fishermen on the Lance slapping dominoes with chest-pounding bravado, while others repaired fishing nets hanging from coconut trees, a wooden needle in one hand, and a bottle of Rivers rum in the other.
It reminds me of the fish market that became our temporary classrooms while the Anglican school in the pasture was being rebuilt. Its low windows and cramped classrooms made skipping school so easy. The sea smell of Gouyave reminds me of the day we were released from class to see the huge shark being pulled up and slaughtered on the sands of the Lance.
Ah, the sea smell reminds me of the boats, with colors and names as colorful as the rainbow. It reminds me of the frantic chattering of sea gulls diving into schools of fish trapped in offshore nets. The solitary pelican in a clumsy splash to fill its pouch. Pigeons fluttering over coconut trees to land on rooftops. The crash of waves, their narcotic effect that induced the deepest sleep and the best dreams. The wail of a blowing conch shell announcing another catch of fresh fish. Helping fishermen pull in their nets, and walking away with the reward of a few free fish.
The sea smell of Gouyave reminds me of the best days and nights of my life.
That's what I call REMINISCING. I get those memories when I am watching a movie with a tropical scene. The young generation would not know about those wonderful days. TV and Computers have taken over the good old days. BTW I am not against modern day technology. Just my opinion.
Not to long ago, a friend of mine from St. Vincent, and I, were speaking about the smell of the nights gone by. We spoke about the sweet smelling frgrances of the flowers that gave full meaning to the night. As it was, one could've smell the fragrance from a distance, especially when a light breeze was blowing in the air. The smell did get stronger as the nighttime hours went by. We wondered if the nights in the Windward Islands still have that sweet smell to it, because we both knew that things have changed drastically in these places over the years. Especially with the lack of trees, as it used to be.
Like the man said in his song: "Where mongoose use to run, bus a drive there now!"
Anyway, as some parts of the islands have turned to industrialized areas, the factories have overtaken the smell from the flowers, by night, and replaced it with their chemical substance - some of which causes cancer in both humans and animals as well. It was a long, and excruciating journey somewhat, from then, to now; but, still, it was for the better for an eaiser life, as they say. Only that the effects it has on the lifespan of most living things around is shortened, and it is worth taking a good look.at. What I mean is that: what had seemed to be a good option then, may in fact be the worst, where health issues are concerned.
The sea is a very good example of how good, or bad, all the changes we've seen over the years were for life itself! It's filled with murcury, and all sorts of garbage on could think of.
Still, I love the sea as much as I did as a youth. It's an interesting thing to watch the waves and flying birds over it.
The sea has always have a fresh smell to it. And, so, you brought back one of the many things I'd enjoyed as a little boy, who grew up not too far away from the sea. The sea smell wasn't a sometimes-ish smelling thing; it was a daily smell that we'd in Gouyave! Even when the sea was in quiet mood, the smell of it was there. But, It wouldn't surprise me today, if the sea smell is lost, because of the many changes that occurred over the last thirty, or forty years. If that's the case, it gives us more reasons to "miss the sea smell of Gouyave", rather than one haven't been close to the sea for a good few years.
I've experienced everything you spoke about in, "I miss the sea smell of Gouyave", but it is a wonderful memory of my boyhood days. Coming from your book, gives me more anxiety to read each and every page in your book. Already, I've seen how interesting the stories in your book are. If there's another way one can purchase your book, besides ordering it online, please let us know. Some people are willing to support it, but can't do it through the channel your recommended before, in a previous post.
In any event, I wish you success with your book, "Blood of Belvidere", and applaud the dynamic work and serious time that went into it.
Good luck, and thanks for giving Gouyave a 'notch' (positive spin), upwards on the ladder!
My website below leads to Amazon.Com. It's available in paperback, or can be downloaded as an eBook on Kindle.
Let me know if this is still a problem.
Thanks for all your kind support.
You can use firstname.lastname@example.org to touch base with me. There, we can talk things over.
I remember those days very well great memories mate