I’m always telling people that there are lots of events to attend on the island; they just need to get out there and find them. I’ve been doing precisely that over the last month – either hosting or attending functions wildly different from one another, bumping into people I haven’t seen for a while and generally appreciating the fact that there are lots of members of the community who have good hearts and a great sense of humour.
I attended the annual Mardi Gras celebration at Kaibo last month, and as I was in East End on the Tuesday night anyway, I decided to treat myself to a room at Morritt’s Tortuga Club. I can’t remember the last time I spent the morning in this peaceful district, but as we walked down the road to the small shopping centre, I couldn’t help but truly revel in the quiet beauty of the natural surroundings. Kite surfers were out on the water and I thought “I’m sure I could do that!” which just goes to show how East End can instill an almost dangerously positive attitude in a person. We stopped at Foster’s Food Fair and purchased a ridiculous amount of goods for the less than three hours we had left at the resort. I was just about to foolishly walk out without an impulse buy, when hey-ho, what did my eyes spy but boxes and boxes of sparklers…for half price! Visions of how popular I would be at Mardi Gras with such bounty danced like Sugarplums in my head. I was not swayed by the doubtful glances thrown my way by friend Lynne and sister Gabrielle, and grabbed up enough boxes to start a small inferno. Money was handed over and the sparklers were all mine.
We arrived at Kaibo just as it was beginning. The sun was shining, the band was playing, the beads were glistening – it was a perfect day. We splurged on VIP, which meant spending the day throwing out necklaces to the waiting crowd below. It’s bananas how excited people get about shiny plastic jewelry once a year. As the sun went down, I readied my bag o’sparklers, preparing to be the belle of the ball. It was only when I had emptied the 7439 boxes that I realized how awkward this was going to be. If I lit one on my own and handed it over to some lucky recipient, its bright light would be extinguished by the time I proffered another. I had to start thinking on a global scale. Time to leave the confines of VIP and join the melee on the beach below. Armed with dozens of these flammable metal spikes I walked into the crowd, found a small space and proceeded to light the first one. What I had forgotten from my youth is that sparklers do not simply work their magic upon first contact with fire. You have to hold the match for some time as the flame inches towards your thumb, and hope that the sparkler burns before you do. Sure enough, just as I prepared to incur my first blister, the firework burst to life and my, my, my – wasn’t I instantly popular! The people loved me! They really, really loved me…or my sparklers, which couldn’t be pulled from my hands fast enough. This is what I’d always dreamed – I was marvelous, I was brilliant, I was invincible, I was, I was….as I searched for words to properly sum up my magnificence I tried to light four sparklers at a time. You know how they burn slowly when they are singled out? They go up like TNT when lit in unison – a real Wile E. Coyote moment. Suddenly, as a thousand flashbulbs, the remaining sticks in my hand turned the surrounding area from night into day, and I threw them to the sand in a panic where they put on such a spectacular show, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Harry Potter himself had emerged from their centre. As quickly as it had started, it was over, and my fair-weather friends deserted me in a thin cloud of smoke. I returned to VIP older and wiser, but at least with both my eyebrows intact.
The annual Humane Society Dog Show was held earlier this year so we took advantage of the cooler weather. It’s probably the only event for which I’m willing to set my Saturday alarm to 8:15 a.m. That’s 8:15 a.m. folks. On the weekend. The Dog Show is a terrific half-day of animal lovers bringing their beloved pets out to socialize – a marvelous atmosphere sometimes punctuated by the odd doggy disagreement, but nothing they can’t work out over some Purina. I think my favourite category is the Tricks competition. Inevitably dogs that have performed their act effortlessly at home decide that they’re not going to cooperate when surrounded by thousands of wonderful and unfamiliar sights and smells. You see the owners desperately trying to grab their charges’ attention, but they’re having none of it, entering a staring contest as if to say “I don’t understand what you want of me. We never rehearsed this.” It’s like the sublime “One Froggy Evening” Warner Bros cartoon over and over again. I host the Dog Show each year, and it’s wonderful how everyone gets into the spirit of things. This year the Governor, his wife and son came out to support and judge in some of the categories. Apart from the fact that I got the Governor’s name completely wrong; several times; over the microphone, I can honestly say that the Dog Show was a great success. Love the Humane Society. Love anyone who loves animals.
There are so many great evenings, events and places to go down here – you really do have to seek them out and realize the fun to be had. I would just advise that you keep your distance from me if I’m in attendance, because when I’m not forgetting your name I’m obviously a hazard.