My Life in Coffee Cups
My Life in Coffee Cups
This may sound silly to some, but you could learn a lot about my life by just perusing my coffee cup collection. That is why I have decided to start a little coffee cup-based biography. Over the years most of the places I visited with my spouse(s) or on business resulted in the purchase of a souvenir coffee cup.
For example, here is my cup from St. Lucia. I went there in late 1990’s with a psychologist friend, to talk about substance abuse prevention. It was little bit vacation and a big educational experience. I stayed part of the time in a WW II vintage billet while meeting with nuns who ran a free hospital service for islanders in what was once a recovery facility for soldiers during the war. The only other hospital available to the islanders was closed with a chain. No one was admitted through its gates unless they had $25. (I might add, I did not believe this until I saw it.) There was a second private maternity hospital for white people living on the island. I you were white, you usually went to the mainland for other treatment.
Later, I moved to a nice hotel. The poverty of the St. Lucia people compared to the fancy resorts built by mainland business was evident. Some of the island people lived in houses with dirt floors, no indoor plumbing and no electricity. Still on the sometimes-painless windows there were lacy curtains, and colorful cloths hanging on the outdoor clothes lines. The unemployment on the island was very high for native islanders. A clothing manufacturer had closed eliminating many jobs. Employment was available for some in tourism, but still the poverty created what they said was serious substance and domestic abuse among the people. My friend, Victoria X, had been working there and invited me to come along with her to talk from and educator’s viewpoint. We did presentations to police and social workers
Big cruise ships visited the island on a regular basis, so stalls were set up on the wharf with baskets, scarfs and other trinkets probably made in China. The native marketplace had more handmade clothes, hats and jewelry, plus food stalls. I did try some typical island fare which consisted mostly of root type vegetables. I don’t recall is there was any meat like chicken.
The beaches were beautiful, the water a special shade of blue, and the sand that fine white stuff that looks and feels like sugar as you sift it through your fingers. We went one night to a dance held at one of the resorts. I did not dance or drink whatever concoction the we are providing free but was fun to watch.
One afternoon a friend took us on a ride around the island. I took some pictures of the view. It was a fairly short stay, but I do remember going to the bar in the hotel and overhearing a conversation between a couple of men. They were talking about Bill Clinton and the Monika Lewinsky scandal. One was from England, the other maybe Germany. I could not resist asking them what Europeans thought about the President. Their basic take was that is was usually that way with men who were in power. Women often fell into their laps. Basically, it was no big deal.
My how times change, or do they??
I wrote a poem about my visit.
The Eyes of St. Lucia
Soft and loving, dark as night
Flashing, gentle, shining, bright
Golden depths and haunted glare
Hurt and anger, raised in prayer
Wide with wonder, lit by hope
Low, averted, shuttered, cloaked
Not to let us look within
Not revealing where you’ve been
Or betraying where you’d go
When hope is not a place you know.
Fringed in thick and curling lash
Sunken, dull a face of ash
Full of kindness quick to bleed
Guarded mirrors of soul’s need
Wet and glistening tears at bay
Wishing, praying for the day
Both and all will look again
Brother, sister, loving, friend
Into the velvet eyes of St. Lucia
I am hoping to find some of the pictures I took while on the island to add to this story. It was an adventure I will never forget.