Fire and Brimstone
17 January 2011
After a fantastic evening of food and stories at the Farmers' Cay Yacht Club, we awake the next morning to a picture perfect Bahamian day. It is warm, with light winds wafting over the multi-colored waters. We take Chopin in for a walk then head back to the boat to find our best clothes and join Roger and Jacquie to attend the St. Mary's Baptist Church Service. Compared to our normal attire of shorts and sandals, we are quite natty in our florid shirts and pants/slacks. I even shave for the occasion. Well, were we surprised when we enter this small church to be greeted by these stately and striking ladies of the church in their diaphanous elaborate white dresses and flamboyant hats which would make Queen Elizabeth's look understated!
We are looked upon with some curiosity but feel very welcome. I cannot adequately describe the richness of this experience. We share a spiritually charged two hours (yeah, it lasted two hours) ceremony with much vocalization, 'praise the lording" and other invocations. At one point we were asked to introduce ourselves and I felt humbled as I told the assemble (perhaps 40 persons) who I was, where I came from and how we happened to be here. The new pastor turned out to be a firebrand and, in ear piercing tenor, she signalled her mission; to bring back the lost souls of the community back to the fold. It was intimidating but exhilarating. I think we were all drained when it finally ended.
What a sensory and emotional overload. As we left, the new pastor hugged everyone including us and thanked us for coming. Can't say we felt at home, because it was anything but like home but we felt completely welcome!
By this time we are hungry and thirsty so we head to the same restaurant/bar which we frequented with Harold an Ann twelve years ago and ordered conch, fish and of course a cold Kalik.
Mid afternoon, Roosevelt provides us and other guests of his marina with conch fritters and we finish off an emotionally charged day. I muse again about how supercilious I am in contrast to these folks who on one hand lead a simple unsophisticated lifestyle but, on the other hand are intelligent, self-sufficient and resilient - and happen to live in a place where the ultra rich and famous escape to and many cruisers like us flock to. We leave the next day with great memories and determined to return again on our passage back up the Exuma Chain.