By Titus Boer, first published in the Turks and Caicos Weekly News
What do my seven-year-old daughter Elphina, Capt Allen Dickenson (aka ‘Shrine’), the good captain’s son, the owner of the Salt Raker Inn in Grand Turk and a handful of other readers of this column have in common?
They’ve all been nagging – ever so gently, but nagging nonetheless.
When am I going to start writing again? It has been the question put to me more than I care to remember, since I last put pen to paper.
And it’s not like there hasn’t been noteworthy material to comment on. From the fire that ravaged the popular ‘Sand Bar’ watering hole on Grand Turk, Salt Cay Day, the National Heroes Day celebrations to the new Government’s first six months in office – there certainly wasn’t a lack of subject matter.
So why the break from writing? I guess, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was struggling to come to terms with the death of my father.
He’d passed away (in his sleep) in late March, aged 91, and as much as I didn’t think it would affect me, other than the initial sense of loss, I guess it did.
Thank God fo Salt Cay, its people and a way of life that is really quite unique in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
If there is one thing I have learned during the past, somewhat trying, few months, is that once the ‘Salt Cay family’ has taken you in, they really do look after you.
And so it was in the aftermath of my recent loss. For weeks I had regular visitors. Some came for just a chat, some stopped over for tea, others brought food. All of them has a kind word.
Not that Salt Cay people aren’t sociable, to begin with, but this genuine care for a fellow resident going through a rough time, was really very special.
So more than anything else, this ‘come back column’ is also my very personal ‘thank you’ to the people of Salt Cay.
It was during a routine trip aboard the Brittany Leigh (Salt Cay’s trusty and trusted link to the outside world), from Grand Turk back to Salt Cay that I suddenly snapped out of it (whatever one wants to call ‘it).
Here were all the familiar faces, enjoying the commute back to their beloved island. Each on of them lost in his/her thoughts but so obviously content to be going back to the ‘island that time forgot’.
And as the vessel was gently rocked by the waves of the increasingly warm, majestic summer seas, one couldn’t help but notice the genuine happiness of all the fellow passengers.
From the ship’s mates having a cheerful banter with some of the older gents, the local musician all dressed in bright red dancing to his latest composition, to the elderly ladies having an animated chat about this day’s retail experience in the nation’s capital – here was a boatful of unquestionably content people.
The Greek philosopher Democritus once wrote: “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.”
He might as well have been writing about Salt Cay – for here is the key (forgive the pun).
Whereas Providenciales residents, by the sheer, fast paced nature of the busy environment they live in, appear to be chasing the big bucks constantly, the emphasis on Salt Cay is placed more on living life (admittedly a very simple life) to the fullest and to never lose that sense of admiration and awe for one’s natural surroundings.
In Salt Cay, happiness truly dwells in the souls – of its people.