What is this thing called love anyway?

I recently met a lady on Facebook who I have not been in contact with since I left St Kitts many moons ago. Our conversation went like this:

Her: Tony do you remember me?

Me: Name sounds familiar but I need me a few minutes to recall.

Her: I am the cousin of so and so your next door neighbour.

Her: I was the girl friend of your brother R.

Me: Oh

Her: But it was You I liked.

Me:  So why were you with my brother?

Her: You use to be TOO SLOW; I could not wait for you.

That was the story of my early life growing up. It took a while but I finally remembered her. I also liked her but I was shy with girls, too shy to tell her.

So what is love all about?

I went to Miss Rogers School at age 4, 56 years ago, just up the road from our house. My sister walked with me, I don’t remember a lot of details but I do recall having my writing slate and a piece of chalk in a bag and my pants held up by over the shoulder straps. I was cool. I recall one day returning from school and there was a lot of commotion around the house. As I approached I saw a Stork flying away, haha, I look at too many kid movies with my kids. Anyway my mom had delivered my baby sister. I recall the midwife (later found out that her name was Nurse May), shushing me. I had a habit of informing the world that I was home.

Yes I love my sister but my recall is about this girl named P. She also went to Miss Rogers nursery school and the moment I saw her I was in love. She had dimples.  She made going to school fun even at that age. I think I was about 12 years old when I realized she was not going to be my girlfriend. I also remember that once I snuck up on her and kissed her. I am not sure which part of her face I got, could have been her nose. She lived between my house on Cardin Avenue and most of the rest of my world to the north so I would pass by her house often enough. We were on a long distance flirting plan; she would be on her veranda sometimes as I walked by.

Of course she was not the only girl on that path, during the same time I fell in love with a least 5 other girls while still loving her. Life was good. It took me a while before I realized that a girl had to agree to be your girlfriend before you can be her boyfriend. Details.

I think I am getting close to love.

My family had lots of chickens while I was growing up, some we kept for laying eggs, we would feed then ‘Layena’ and the other for eating, we fed them ‘Growena’. I Googled the names they are legit.  The laying hens sometimes were the parents of the eating hens but mostly we bought baby chick from a farm in Conaree and raised them for food. One of my jobs as a kid was to process the chicken for consumption. How is that for political correctness? Good, I don’t have to give details.

One of the egg laying chickens were able to hide her eggs until they hatched and she had six baby chicks. Unfortunately this ugly ass duck stepped on the leg of one of the chicks and broke it. Well you know me, I stepped in, fixed up the chicken leg with a match stick and some string, but she walked with a big limp all her life. I grew to love that chicken, there is that word again. I would sit and look at her with her ‘jokey’ walk and laugh, she provided me with hours of pleasure.

There was a problem however; Gimpy would not lay any eggs.  Remember we only had two kinds of chickens, the laying kind and the eating kind. We needed an entertaining category for her.  

Once again I stepped in to save the day.

One of my older brothers wanted to start a bakery, so my dad built a brick oven and purchased all the equipment that went with it. My brother was a baker for a while then left and went to England and that pretty much killed the bakery business. There was an area of the oven where the burning wood was placed to heat the oven. That hole was now empty.  I figured that was a great place for a chicken to lay eggs.

Every morning I would steal another chicken egg and place it in the fire hole and then harvest it as my Gimpy own egg.  As you know parents know and see everything.

One day my mom decided it was time to process Gimpy. I pleaded for her life to no avail. I refused to touch her; she had to find someone else to do the job. Well I grew up in the village there were always guys hanging around the shop too eager to help.  Processing the chickens was a highlight of Saturday morning.

I refused to eat the meat from Gimpy. My mom would cook two chickens at a time and she tried to convince me that the chicken she was serving me that day was from Conaree. I think I cried for a week, I often think about Gimpy.

 Love has no species boundries.

We pretty much had a mini farm in our back yard. Another brother was the pigeon king of St Kitts. After he left for the Virgin Islands, I inherited his birds. In my last blog I wrote about my love for pigeons. We had at least a hundred birds. Again we had two types. The homing ones, that were racers, we bred them for sale and the other kind, the common birds we bred and ate. Quite a delicacy, not much meat though. 

I knew each bird by sight. I knew the parents. Pigeons mate for life, they nest and raise their kids in the same spot. Sometimes you would have odd number of pigeons and some males would be without a mate. They were the trouble makers.

By some freak of nature, one of our male pigeons kept growing. He looked like a half grown chicken. With his weight, it meant he could not fly very well. He became a bully, he would pick fights with the other birds that came close to him. He was also a lady’s man. The unattached female pigeons seem to like his style. He became my favourite pigeon. I loved him.

If you listen to companies that do statistical work when they publish results of a survey they sometimes say; ‘…with a margin of error of 1%’. That way when they are wrong they can point to the 1%. Well Pidge was that 1%. He had 3 families.  A pair of nesting pigeons shared the egg warming duties. The pigeon coop was build with nesting boxes  along one wall, from the ground to the ceiling. Pidge didn’t actually have a Mrs Pidge, he would beat off the male pigeons nesting in the low boxes when it was their time to warm the eggs and take their spot, like a surrogate dad. I loved that bird, unfortunately his time also came. I bawled.

I also love fish, the kind you eat although we also had a pond in the backyard with live gold fish. It was there to drive the ducks crazy. I totally loved looking at them.  Just a little distraction.

There was this guy named Norris that would go out fishing at night and return in the morning with his catch. My mom would send me to Limekiln Bay to buy fish. I always chose the Red Snapper and my mom would fry them. Sometimes we had more than one fish for each kid so my mom would save the extra in the fridge for next day. In addition to being a cake thief as you may remember from my Christmas blog,  I was also a fish thief. I would get up in the middle of the night and have a snack. Yes I love fish, but not as much as I loved my birds.

How many loves can one man have? Later I traded most of my loves for sports.

You are probably wondering about my wife Jo, where does she fit into my life Loves. You may recall we met at work, I was her supervisor. My office was close to the back of the building and was close to the filing system. This was back in the early 1980’s when short skirt was the fashion of the day.

Jo was in the mid 20’s and was quite attractive especially in her short skirts. She would leave her filing to the end of the day and make sure I was in my office when she did it.

We were working with a big company with rules about what you can do or say to your co-worker. I wanted to gawk and tell her what I thought about her but I couldn’t. It was quite frustrating.  I wore glasses,  I would remove them so I could not see very far when she was there, of course I would take the odd peak, you know, pretend to clean the lens and then test them.  Who would not?

This went on for some time, at least a year I would think. I had come close to asking her out a few times, but I just could not pull the trigger, I was in my late twenties. Thank god my brother lived a long way away, he was in California, remember that girl who liked me so she went out with him? This was the perfect situation for that scenario.

Then one day, she looked at me and asked:

Jo: Do you want to go out after work?

I was thinking, I always go out after work, I do have a life, what a silly question.

Me: Why?

Jo: Thought you would like to go for a coffee.

Again I did not get it, I was thinking, isn’t it late to be drinking coffee.

Me: Ok just a quick one.

I was still not making a connection to her nice legs; I often went out with other co-workers.

To make a long story short, yes all this time she was asking me if I liked her legs and the other parts that were ‘accidentally’ exposed. That’s my side of the story.

 I am not quoting her exactly but she has always accused me of having an over active imagination and she claims that she did not do the things I said she did and that I had a dirty mind. It’s clean now. She said she would have reported me if I had tried the things I said I was thinking at the time.  Yeah right.  Like I said it’s my story.

She did say she thought I was really slow.  That word again.

It has been 30 years, I found out she makes nice babies and yes I love her. Sometimes slow pays.

Love is many things I guess.

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