The late afternoon Caribbean sun hung warm and low in the azure sky as I was driving from sleepy Coral Bay over the Centerline Road, down into town to pick up my sister at the boat. Across Pillsbury Sound, peek-a-boo glimpses of St. Thomas island in the distance could be seen as I was simultaneously lost in an island reverie while trying to pay attention to the steeply winding, narrow road. I was nearly into Cruz Bay when breaking through my peripheral vision appeared a large mottled pig sitting comfortably on the ground while sucking on the tits of a rather contented red and white cow.
"Say wha’?" I’d not hit any rum, Red Stripe or herb, so what the hell was this?
I turned my car around and drove back. Sure enough – not a hallucination. Pulling off the road, I dug into my pack and found my camera. The following vignette unfolded in the span of less than two minutes as I tried to capture my amazement on film .
Perhaps sensing my interest - or more likely having already drained that particular udder - the unsated pig, who had been partially hidden by Miss Bossy’s rump, stood up and moved around to the other side and reattached itself to the cow – in full profile. I was astounded because I was less than 100 feet away and both cow and sow remained nonplussed by my curiosity as I snapped away. The animals apparently had more important matters to address. As if on cue, a second portly pig emerged from the brush and was approaching the “dairy bar” for its share.
However, before the second porcine patron could place its order, across the clearing upon the horizon appeared . . . the Caribbean Cowboy! Exploding onto the scene, saddled up inside his shiny, black truck (a Bronco, perhaps?) with dual horns blaring, lights flashing and gravel flying, the Caribbean Cowboy was clearly intent upon turning off the taps and shutting down this errant dairy bar operation PDQ. Or, maybe he simply intended bring home the bacon?
Not seeming to notice or care in the least about the rampaging truck bee-lining directly towards them, Miss Bossy continued to placidly chew her cud, lost in her own bucolic, bovine ruminations while Porky continued to suckle greedily. The second pig quickly appeared to be reconsidering its dining options and halted in its tracks, staring at the approaching mechanized mayhem.
The rattling black truck skidded to a stop in a cloud of red dust about 35 feet from the animals. The Caribbean Cowboy burst from the cab hurling small rocks - he must have had a ready supply of them on the seat - while racing barefoot towards the animals, roaring colorful West Indian epithets with each quickening step. There it all was, the great Western epic, unfolding before my incredulous eyes: The Good, The Bad, The Porcine.
“Uh-oh! Fun’s over!”, I thought as I quickly put my camera down and hoped I wouldn’t be the target for one of those incoming projectiles. I imagined a cartoon Porky hastily beating a retreat, stammering "Buh-duh-buh-duh-buh-duh-Tha-tha-tha-that's all, folks!" The Caribbean Cowboy sure had everyone's attention now!
Porky and Petunia ran squealing off into the bush leaving their “Dairy D-Lite” behind. Miss Bossy slowly turned her head, looked at the cowboy with mild annoyance for disturbing her daydreams and nonchalantly ambled off, safely out of rock-range. The Caribbean Cowboy stared disgustedly at me as if to say, “Dis show be over, mon!” I smiled, waved and got back into my car. I was glad I had the photos, because most folks just wouldn’t believe this one. Unless, of course, they've spent any time on de island!
Ah, well, so it goes. Just another day in the life of a Caribbean Island Cowboy. Or is that “Sowboy”?