Sometimes, the work of a journalist involves making oneself uncomfortable, which is how a Beaconite felt when he set off to knock on the doors of strangers in the hopes that they would talk about their enduring struggles from one of the biggest catastrophes in the history of the Virgin Islands. If the Beaconite were in their shoes, he’s not sure how politely he’d respond to a stranger knocking on their door and probing such raw memories. But several of those who suffered most from the storm graciously welcomed the reporter into their homes to conduct his interview. They were forthcoming and generous, standing up from chairs so that the Beaconite could sit, prodding their shy children to say hi. Towards the end of Monday morning, with temperatures rising, the Beaconite said goodbye to a man who has had to rely on bottle or rain-caught water for the past three years after the storm crushed his cistern. While walking to his car, the Beaconite heard the interviewee call his name and turned around. He asked if the Beaconite wanted a glass of water.
Dog days of summer
A Beaconite gained a four-legged shadow this weekend after taking home her first foster dog. Though she’s grown up taking care of dogs, this was her first shot at officially fostering. It’s taken a lot of work to help the young dog. But after getting some good meals, a few baths and plenty of praise, Peaches really perked up. Seeing her personality come out, especially when she started prancing around and wanting to play during her afternoon walk on the beach, warmed the Beaconite’s heart. It’s hard not to dwell on everything she’s lost because of the pandemic, but this reporter found a silver lining. Because she’s working from home, she has the ability to take care of a dog that needs a little extra love before flying to her forever home. A little kindness goes a long way during tough times and comes back tenfold. Peaches’ constantly wagging tail is evidence of that.
Three years later
As she does every year around this time, a Beaconite reflected this week on her arrival to the Virgin Islands a mere two weeks before Hurricane Irma swept away life as most residents knew it — and life as it was before she ever got a chance to know it. Three years after the storm, she still hears names like Bomba Shack, the Bitter End Yacht Club, the Last Resort and Saba Rock — all places that were inextricable parts of life in the VI for many years, but still remain just names to her. Some of them will always remain so. A plaque now stands in front of the Central Administration Building commemorating what is now history. Those who moved to the territory the same year she did now consider themselves “old-timers.” Even newer friends and colleagues have arrived, made their own marks and memories here, and gone. And now another crisis, this time a worldwide one, is engulfing the VI, sweeping away the “old normal,” which was once itself “the new normal.” The Beaconite likes to think there is a reason for everything. But as the great jazz musician Miles Davis once said, “I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.”