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Andrea J.
12-10-2009, 07:09 PM
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CHARLES CROES' snippets I call it "comfort reading".
like a bowl of chicken soup on a cold and rainy day.
enjoy.

Charles is on FACEBOOK.
If you are on Facebook, you could befriend him and read some of his stuff there too.

Andrea

Andrea J.
12-18-2010, 12:00 PM
ahhhh :-)

danadog56
12-18-2010, 09:12 PM
I just imagined myself back on our island paradise and felt warm and comforted.
Thank you Charles.

DANNYO
12-18-2010, 10:14 PM
:):):):)

Eagle Beach Boy
12-19-2010, 09:51 AM
When we first started going to Aruba around 1990 we used to enjoy going shopping in town and walking up the side streets and passing many of the homes amongst the shops. :cool:

I think most if not all of the shops are closed and the sidewalks are in disrepair. :(

Valerie617
12-19-2010, 05:09 PM
That was beautiful Charles, especially the "wordless conversation" and "mental ballet". Your choice of words made me feel like I was there.

Andrea J.
12-20-2010, 09:00 AM
from charles..... a beyond lovely story.
(charles cannot log on so i am posting for him)
On Aruba, as with many other areas in the world, when our children go on to a “Higher Education” it is mostly off-island, commonly Holland or the USA. Inasmuch as we are a small island with a micro populace, there is a level of family intimacy that is at once wonderful and can be heartbreaking – yet, it is our reality. I share this with you in hopes that it will give you further insight to Aruba, the people and how it is we are so very much like you, whoever you are.

ARUBA LESSONS FROM THE “SMALL SAILS IN FRONT OF THE GOVERNORS HOUSE”
Charles August Croes II
Aruba



Today is particularly difficult.*

Today our son goes off to school in a faraway place and country and we sit silently in the living room spending our last moments at home together before driving to the airport for our farewell. For some reason, he wants to go in the truck and not the car and looks at his mother to see if she would mind. Before she answers, he turns to me and asks if, on the way to the airport, we could park the truck at the small piece of beach in front of the governor's house. He has done it again. We are trapped. She smiles, looks at me, and we nod to each other and then to him. He has already started for the door to move the luggage from the car to the back of the pickup. Some moments later, the three of us are at his favorite place. Silently, we sit in the pickup with our fingers touching and hands gently holding. Each of us is lost in private thoughts.

I find myself thinking about my youth and the many lessons that came with that most glorious time of my life. As I think back on the years of my childhood, I now know that that those lessons served me well and brought me smiles as well as tears. It continues to amaze me how the most unlikely events, in my adult life, take me back to the simplicity and beauty of my youth on Aruba. It saddens me somewhat to realize that the beauty and purity of youth is at its’ peak as one lives those times.*So be it.

As the three of us continue with our own thoughts, I drift back to a particular Saturday night when I was about ten or eleven years old. It was like so many of my pre-teen sleepless nights. I remember lying in bed on a particular night wondering if everything would be ready for the next day. I looked out my window at the swaying trees and I remember wondering if the ever so steady Aruba wind would be perfect or whether it would drop off or, more disastrously, change direction. I kept thinking that it would be my first time to participate. I thought of how unfair it was that things were slipping away from me. All alone in my room, that night, I lost control of my thoughts and panic set in. Everything would depend on the wind, the water and a carved and painted piece of wood with a tiny sail cloth and lead keel weights attached. I could not then nor could I now control those simple elements - wood, cloth, wind and water. It seemed unfair at the time and was very alarming.*

There was a degree of comfort in knowing that Mom and Dad would be at my side when the time came, however, from the start of the project they insisted I do it on my own. Dad, and to a lesser degree, Mom looked for opportunities to make me independent. This would be one of those opportunities. In retrospect, I can only guess that since they felt they had given me their best guidance that they approached the Sunday event with the comfort that I should and would be ready. So, during my youth, on that lonely Saturday night, many years ago, I lay in my bed with my eyes wide open and listened to the wind. Outside my window, the palm and Divi trees swayed back and forth and I followed their shadows as they swayed in tandem across my closet door. The night, the hypnotic shadows and the soft sound of the Aruba wind – all of it - claimed my unrest and me. I finally drifted off to sleep.

The following morning, after our customary early Sunday breakfast, the three of us got into Dads’ work truck. It was a Ford. We left the house with me sitting in the cargo bed to care for my precious cargo. As we drove away from the house and down the empty Sunday morning streets, I remember looking at my parents through the rear cabin glass. I remember seeing them doing the many predictable things that my parents did. On this particular Sunday morning, Dad drove and Mom sat by the passenger window on a towel while raising an eyebrow at the mess inside the cabin. It was impossible for her to get into the truck without making comments about the mess. I could see by her actions that her comments had passed the tactical “in my opinion” phase and she was well into the final stages of “when are you going to.” This was confirmed when she started gathering his papers, pencils and other odds and ends from the floor, dashboard and seat. Everything she touched went into the cardboard cigar box on the seat. As if they had rehearsed this scene a million times over (and they probably had), I could see Dad quietly telling Mom not to touch anything. He never missed the opportunity to make disarming statements or say what I thought had to be the dumbest joke of all times. The truck had come to a temporary stop at a corner and as I looked through the cab window, I could hear him and see his lips as he said: “This truck was like this when I bought it." (The fact that he bought the truck brand new out of the showroom with the plastic still on the seats was not the issue.) He started to laugh and, as always, she joined him a few seconds later. To this day, I think that while Dad laughed at his own terrible jokes - Mom laughed at the obvious pleasure they gave him. She put her hand on his knee and while shaking her head, repeated, “bought it like that -- sure." After about three repetitions she started talking about something else. However, her hands and fingers went back into automatic pilot and continued gathering things to put into the cardboard cigar box. Neither the joke nor the ritual ever changed her obsession to neaten that messy pickup truck.

That particular Sunday, we drove off the main road and went on the sand to park the truck and could pick any place we wanted since we were the first to arrive at the small beach. Dad picked a perfect spot right in the middle of the small beach in front of the Governors house and parked with the front of the truck facing the water. No sooner had the engine stopped that I jumped out of the back and went to sit in the front with my parents. Mom was talking about the beauty of the early morning on Aruba, when finally the other trucks started to arrive. It must have been around nine thirty in the morning, since church let out at nine. The other trucks and cars parked on both sides of us. Everyone stayed in their vehicles and looked to the pink morning skies while drinking hot black coffee poured from dented aluminum thermoses into their equally dented aluminum screw tops. Mom and Dad had coffee as well. I drank orange juice in my good luck jam bottle.* The passengers from one truck would say “Bon dia – Con Ta baai?” to each other without leaving their vehicles. I love rituals.

So, on that Sunday while lost in my private thoughts, my family and I sat in the cabin of our truck while others did the same or opted for the open beds of their pick-up trucks. What we all had in common was the manner in which we looked out at the waters of Aruba. We stared out as if looking at someone’s face and trying to figure out his or her inner most thoughts. We looked at the small waves and tried to detect the strength of the current below the surface. We looked for those delicate ripples that would indicate the direction and speed of wind. Each of us came to our own private conclusion and then started formulating individual and private plans on how we would set our small sails and rudders.*

Finally, the moment came and – as if on cue - everyone went to their storage areas in their cars or trucks and took out their small sailboats. All of these tiny crafts were carved from a single handpicked piece of wood. Each one had been lovingly sanded and carefully painted with tiny brushes. Each one came with a custom fitted keel and ballast. None were fancy but each was smooth and, most importantly, each was functional and ready to race. Dad had been watching over me for the past months while I prepared my own small sailboat. He watched me cut the cloth and tune the strings. Dad helped me in weighing the ballast and the measurements of the hull and all the time, making me feel as if it was being done solely by me. Taking my cue from the others, I also went to the truck to get my small sailboat. I held her and turned around to introduce her to the other competitors and, most importantly, the waiting ocean of Aruba. It was the first time she had ever faced the blue-green color of ocean. I wondered if she was scared.

We each cradled our small vessel in our arms and walked out into the water. At about waist depth, we all gently lowered our individual small ships into the waters of the sea and wet the hulls and sails. We did this in the same way that loving mothers wet infants by holding the child in one arm while cupping water over the shoulders with the free hand. We were finally ready and while staring out at the sea, awaited the signal horn to set our sails free. The time came, the horn blew and we each let our small vessel go.*

The winds of Aruba filled my small sail and at that instant became her new master. She slipped away from me. My stomach turned. I fought my emotions and pressed my teeth against each other in a forced smile. After all my efforts, she slipped away and went off to sea on her maiden voyage. She slipped away effortlessly and for an instant, I didn’t know if I should be proud or resentful. My eyes became full. I watched a part of me go off to sea. I wanted to raise my hands and yell. Be the best! Win, you can do it, win! Take advantage of the wind, it will help you. Keep on a straight track! When a gust takes you off course, get back on. I looked around at the others. They were silent and just looked on. I decided to keep still and prayed I would not explode.*

All of the small sails headed out to sea in an unmanned race. Motorized rubber rafts followed behind to catch the strays and untangle the sails when needed. It wasn’t needed. The sun shone and the water was full with small triangles of color. Red and blue competed with yellow and green. In the midst of it all was my white triangular sail. She was perfect, so perfect and very much mine.

On that first Sunday, my small sail didn’t win. She didn’t come in last. She held her own. This was to be the start of many Sundays and many races when I would let my small sail go to sea. Each time she slipped away my emotions became more manageable. Finally they changed into a desire to win. In the years that followed, my small sail started winning but looking back I know that those wins never had the emotional impact and purity of the first Sunday and moment I let her go.

That was many years ago and as I sit here, in my own Ford pick-up truck, with my son and wife at my side, I wonder what it is I miss about those times. Is it the making of the boats? Is it the winning? I realize that what I miss is the emotional purity. I miss that swelling inside and look back at the moments that meant so much to me. I think of them and am happy to have experienced them here on this small spit of land on this wondrous island called Aruba.*

My son looks across the seat of the pick-up and points to his watch. It’s time to go the airport. I start up the truck and drive towards the sound of the planes landing and taking off. After unloading the luggage and parking, the three of us stumble through the process of ticketing, luggage tagging and paying airport taxes. We have done this so many times before when going on vacation, however, this is different. We don’t talk. Eventually, my wife and I walk with him to the departure gate. His papers are in order. We made him pack his clothing and prepare for schooling by himself. We taught him to be independent. He is ready. A final hug and a kiss from his mother indicate his eminent departure. They have such a special love. He and I said what we had to at the house. Then in a sudden unexpected moment, he surprises me. My son turns and comes to me. He starts to shake my hand. I see him biting his bottom lip from the inside. His bags fall to the floor and my boy slams himself into me. He hugs me, pressing his boyish chest against me. I feel his young tears coming through my shirt. He shudders once, and the hug gets almost painfully tight then it slowly loosens. He is slipping away.

My stomach hurts. I fight my emotions by pressing my teeth hard against each other and smile at him as he slips away from my arms and goes off for the first time. He leaves so effortlessly that I didn’t know if I should be proud or resent it. His shoulders are unnaturally stiff and he doesn’t look back. I know why. He melts into the crowd and becomes a passenger. My eyes become full and I open them wide to let the tears dry without running down my face. That boy is a part of me. I want to throw my hands into the air and yell -- be the best! You can do it! Take advantage of the wind, it will help you. Keep on a straight track! When a gust takes you off course, get back on. I look at the parents around me. Mothers holding handkerchiefs to their mouths while wide-eyed Fathers wave a brave goodbye to their departing children. My wife has no handkerchief and cups her hands over her lips. I remain still.

Off to the side, I see the crowds of arrivals looking for their bags and thinking only of the Aruba vacation they will have. Nice.

Every Sunday, when they race, I go to look at the sails at the small beach in front of the governors’ house, and think about my son. When I do, the moments are pure.

charles
12-20-2010, 03:48 PM
OK THE SOLUTION WAS TO CHANGE COMPLETELY. I RECEIVED A MAIL FROM ATA.

THEY WORKED WITH ME TO GET THIS DONE. SO FROM NOW CHARLES IS THE CARIBBEAN-TATTLER. I CAN LIVE WITH THAT

be well
charles




[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]

CHARLES CROES' snippets I call it "comfort reading".
like a bowl of chicken soup on a cold and rainy day.
enjoy.

Charles is on FACEBOOK.
If you are on Facebook, you could befriend him and read some of his stuff there too.

Andrea

Andrea J.
12-20-2010, 11:06 PM
read it completely
loved it
brought tears to my eyes
and thought of junior............
he tells me he wants to be a police officer!

charles
12-21-2010, 09:05 AM
Hi Andrea,
First of all, thank you for the invitation to the BB gathering last night. It was fun.

You know, that (while I appreciate your mentioning Junior very much) that when I write about kids, it goes back to my daughter and first son as well as Junior. Somehow they are a package.

About Jr. wanting to be a cop, I hope that this is a passing fancy, however it is what it is.

be well
charles


read it completely
loved it
brought tears to my eyes
and thought of junior............
he tells me he wants to be a police officer!

Andrea J.
12-21-2010, 09:38 AM
charles..........my son wanted to be a magician or a circus boy. it was embarrassing when folks asked him.
finally he "settled" as a nuclear engineer for the dept of defense.

a police officer.........a wonderful and noble profession.

charles
12-25-2010, 12:03 AM
read it completely
loved it
brought tears to my eyes
and thought of junior............
he tells me he wants to be a police officer!



Funny thing Andrea - this is one of those that brought tears to my eyes as I wrote it. yep - he wants to be a cop!

Andrea J.
12-25-2010, 07:29 AM
by charles caribbean-tattler

Aruba Wind Dried His Eyes
Here - on this island

When cars numbered less than fifty
When smelling like sweat and salt was a good thing
When closets never held more than three garments per person
When shoes were bought by the color and not the size
When shaving with yesterdays shaving water made the blade slide better
When “Rocking Chairs” were prized possessions
When saying “hello” was the start of a conversation and not just a greeting
When fish were eaten and not “prized”
When the elderly were considered wise and not old
When (if you got sick) you went to the old lady that lives in the hills
When receiving a letter was cause for a reunion of family and then later, a telling to friends

During those times - Long ago - here on this island - Lived a wise man – he was elderly
His life partner and friends knew him well – They knew his strengths and understood his weaknesses
This man thought of his children - Off far away in a country called Panama
Four days by boat (not 1 hour by plane)
He thought of their misfortune – not being here on Aruba at his side
They lived in cities of at least one thousand other souls – It must be stifling

On soft nights - this man stood and spoke to the night - and it listened
He chanted his children’s names - Almost a moan
You could hear him - He would say
Come back to us - We are alone - You must be lonely for us - I know this
Here, not there - We are your home
The small hills by the ocean miss you
The cacti have no-one to prick and the thorns are bloodless
The birds have no one to sing to and their voices are now weak
Your dog no longer barks at night sounds - he sleeps, his head on his paws
Crystal clear waters miss your splashing
Dirt roads are without the marks of your bare feet
These things my children - these things are bad

On soft nights - this man stood valiantly and leaned into the heavens
He leaned into the winds and dared anything to stop him
His white hair was combed by the wind in a handsome way
He chanted his children’s names - Almost a moan
He wept softly at receiving their letters - They were read to him by others
He read not - His wisdom did not permit it - he was to wise to inflict self pain

This man - this man - this lover of his family moaned at the night
And to maintain his pride – he went to the small hill in back of his home
And there - All alone with his island and its elements
This man removed his shirt and bathe in waterless fountains of loneliness

Friends and family wordlessly looked on – yet pretended not too
They stood with legs tight to each other and hands crossed in front
They honored him with their eyes
And as they did
The wind would dry the old mans eyes

Here on this small island
The loneliness made him perspire
He took pride to know that smelling like sweat and salt was a good thing

And cars numbered less than fifty

be well
charles