Imagine getting killed on your honeymoon in beautiful Jamaica. Lois and I started out in Montego Bay, our first tropical island, in November, 1963, the day after we were wed. What a gorgeous island, its beauty startlingly apparent as soon as we stepped off the plane. The beach and bay were alluring, even seductive. It impelled us to stay in the sun much too long, burning my face and head, and perhaps being responsible for the melanoma appearing there many years later. Our first stop while driving from Montego to Ocho Rios and the highly regarded Plantation Inn was for a few hours at Rose Hall, a few miles off the road into a remote area where we had to walk on a dirt road to reach that famous site. Rose Hall is where the “Wicked Witch of Jamaica” resided in the 18th Century, and where it is reputed, she did away with a few husbands she didn’t especially care for. Her ghost must have accompanied us when en route in this lonely place, on this dirt road, with an abyss to our left, and a wooded bush to our right, we saw a lone and threatening figure approaching us at a distance. Inquisitiveness turned to fear when we saw he was armed with a machete! I could already see the headlines in the Boston newspapers. “Recently married couple disappears in Jamaica,” As he came closer, I saw what I thought was a cruel twist of his lips. I told Lois if there was trouble, run down to the car and call for help. As he came closer, he seemed less cruel looking. Was he smiling at our trepidation? And there was that machete which could sever me from my head with one swoosh! Now he was only a few feet away This was the moment! Then he walked by without a word, that amused smile still on his lips. Close call! We gathered ourselves together, walked on to Rose Hall, thanked the witch for sparing us, retreated to our car and drove on to the inn, where terrific services awaited us including two sumptuous meals on our patio every day, a pool, a sandy beach, and our every wish met, especially by the bass throated Mr. Brown, who led all his staff, but was there on the phone to take our order every morning for a hearty breakfast served on Irish linen on our patio overlooking a deep blue sea. All this for $28. a day? Yes. Now it would be more like $1.500. a day. A few miles down the coast is Oracabessa, famous for the unloading of the banana boats, where the scene at night is one of tumult and haze created by the sweat of limbs and the sweat of bananas. On to the capitol city of Kingston, where I was lucky to become friendly with Dudley Thompson, Esquire, the top defense lawyer in Jamaica, whose visage appeared almost daily in the Island newspaper, “The Daily Gleaner,” and was later the right hand of Jamaica’s premier, Michael Manley.
A greater threat to our well-being occurred a few years later when we lost our way hiking in Franconia Notch, near the now extinct “Old Man of the Mountains,” who must have been intent on vengeance because we had interloped upon his property. You’ve read a lot in those stories where hikers or skiers starting out too late, without a compass, warm clothes, and the necessities of venturing into the mountains, end often very unhappily. You will want to hear how we got out of this one.
Fortunately, that frightful experience did not destroy my love of nature which I describe at some length in this podcast. Somehow that leads Jordan and me into a discussion of Moses, me, and Charlton Heston, Jordan noting that unlike Moses I carry no staff, not even a cane, so distinguishing me, if indeed any is required, from a Prophet of the ages. Then to our approval and why of the latest remake of “West Side Story,” to how one likes their steak, medium or well done.
Jordan and I get around to all kinds of stuff. Listen and you shall share.
People, Always People!