February 11, 2008
Originally published December 24, 2003
I haven't seen Dennis for at least ten years now, but he is the person my song "Justice Laid Me Low" is based on. (I sang that one at the blog-meet, just in case anyone was sober enough to remember at the time.) He sent me this missive today:
Rob: This is Dennis Sparks. We have not seen each other in several years, but Rick, sent me a link to your Blog site and I read it daily. I wanted to let you know that Negril has changed a lot since your last visit. It has been discovered by the rich college crowd.
At the risk of sounding like a goddam environmentalist, I really wish Sammy's place on the cliffs was just the way I saw it in 1977. No electricity. No phones. Just a cluster of simple rooms with a bed and a kerosene lamp in every one. Sammy had ice delivered to the community cooler about every three days, when the ice truck was running. I learned to drink Red Stripe beer at ambient temperature, because the ice supply was unreliable.
He had a shower in the back yard, which was the only running water I saw there. He had an outhouse for a bathroom. I loved that place. I could wake up in the morning, take about twenty steps and launch myself into the blueberry-popcicle-colored waters of the Carribean from a height of 30 feet. That's a bracing way to awaken in the morning.
Everybody at Sammy's would get together in the evening and ride bicycles up to Rick's, where we drank banana daiquiris and watched the sun go down. We would get fucked-up, then ride back down the mountain trying to hit one of the rock-crabs that run all over the roads. Then, we sat on the cliffs and smoked "spliffs," which are VERY LARGE JOINTS, until we all crawled back to our rooms and nodded out.
I was young, dumb and full of cum back in those days, but I would like to do it again, even though I am an "ugly old geezer" now. I'll still make that 30-foot jump off the cliffs in the morning, and I can still drink Red Stripe at ambient temperature. A spliff will probably ruin me for days, but I'm going to try one anyway. WTF? I don't have to take piss-tests anymore.
I have no idea what Negril is like today. I hope it is not as resortified as Ochos Rios is, but I won't know until I do some exploring. A good taxi driver can show me everything I want to see, and point me toward where I want to go, if I wave some American Greenbacks under his nose. I have the greenbacks.
I'm looking forward to a lot of blog-fodder from this trip.
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