Yes, I am a “paper Caymanian,” as they say. I am not sure why I am called that, as I am sure that I did not have much say in where I was born. As you know, in the old days, a Caymanian went away to sea to help support their families. My dad did just that and met my mom in the United States, thus I was born in America.
As a child I went swimming in the old Pageant Beach sea pool and stepped on a sea urchin and was taught at that time by my dad that I needed to have someone pee on my foot, and the spines will start to come out of my foot. It worked. (By the way, I tell the same story to my children.)
I stood on the roof of the West Indian Club as a child with my granddad when they were pouring the concrete and watched the buckets get hoisted up and poured in the forms. Of course, my granddad was yelling at the men the whole time.
My granddad would also call when it was time to butcher a cow, and I would arrive and assist in this tradition. I would say I was best at using a machete to make a hole through the beef for the thatch, so that when someone was carrying it down the street, the blood would drip off.
I survived without TV and radio and was better for it. I heated the water on the stove to make a bath. I built a moat using tops from jars to drown the bugs before they would reach the table top. I watched the boat unloading and cringed as they dropped a pallet of sheetrock that I had been waiting for in the sea. I used my machete to cut through the mosquitoes, as my granddad would say.
I watched as my dad was taken to the hospital after an auto accident on West Bay Road, needing what they now call shock trauma. He left us that day by us not having the proper equipment to deal with him. Yes, the doors and windows of the hospital were still just screened in. No airlift at the time. We had to buy six seats on Lacsa airlines to transport him to Miami, but it was too late. I gave my dad to Cayman.
My life was changed and cleansed during Ivan, and after living my entire life, I now know what being thirsty feels like. We made it back because we all worked as a family, and every day was Sunday as there were no stores open ever.
Am I a paper Caymanian or a Caymanian? You will have to decide.
I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you, as the real reason for the letter is to state how fortunate we are to live in Cayman. Why are we trying to be like the rest of the world?
Please stop trying to change us. We are unique and need to stay that way. The more recent change that was being considered is what finally brought me to write this letter. Leave Sundays alone.
We do not need another day of craziness. There will be absolutely no benefit to Cayman to be open on Sundays. The only thing that will happen is a continuing deterioration of the family. If you don’t have any time to do your shopping the first six days of the week, then please call me with a good list, and I will take care of your shopping for you on Saturday afternoon when I am off work. If you are bored on Sunday, then drive around looking for the ladies with the hats on and drive them to church, so they do not have to walk in the heat.
My family is what makes Sundays special. Not the food, clothes, or shoes at the store. Take your children to the fish market, and let them watch as the fish are readied for sale. Teach them to poke the fish eyes to see if they are fresh. Build a sand castle and use a popsicle stick to carve it just right. Walk the beach and stop and talk with your friends and make new friends. My granddaughter has taught me to be more like a 6-year-old. As we walk the beach, she just stops and starts to play with whoever is playing on the beach like she has known them for years. Of course, I join in.
My only problem with Sundays is that they are not long enough. Can I give you something to consider? Maybe we should also close the stores on Saturday.
Please, please, please stop trying to make us like everyone else.