I found him sitting on a white bench, beside a Palmetto palm, singing along with Kenny Chesney.
Blues what blues hey I forgot them,
The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom.
“You Mr. Wonderful?” I asked.
“Can you take us to Caneel Bay?” I said.
Then Liz reminded me I needed a collared shirt for dinner at the Equator and I looked scragged like driftwood after five hours in the Caribe.
“Actually, no,” I corrected myself, “can you drive us back into Mongoose Junction? I have to buy a shirt.”
I mused at the irony of asking a cabbie to drive me five miles out of the way to buy a shirt while he sang a song about the needlessness of wearing a shirt.
“I take you back and forth,” said Mr. Wonderful, smiling. “I wait while you shop.”
He drove the three of us all over Saint John’s Island that day. He picked the older kids up at the ferry and brought them to the restaurant. He shuttled all six of us back to the pier to catch the last boat to Saint Thomas.
Every time I tried to pay him he shooed me away.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “You pay me tonight. Not going to be big bill at the end. You on vacation. Relax.”
Want to soak up life for a while
In laid back mode.
Mr. Wonderful grew up in Saint Lucia, another unspoiled paradise. He visits family in Brooklyn and Florida during the hurricane season of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
September is coming.
Everywhere we went folks knew Mr. Wonderful. We met a refined woman from North Carolina on a boat docked off Virgin Gourda of the British Virgin Islands.
“When you go back to Saint John’s,” she advised, “tell Mr. Wonderful that Beverly sends her love. That and a little George Strait might sound good in the back of his rumbling jitney.”
Monday morning I plan to pinch a few grains of that white sand into my black Oxford shoes before driving these Jersey roads to the office.
I could be Mr. Wonderful, the sort of fellow impervious to success or slight. The sort of fellow who holds his hand out to the world, a hand without a bottom.
I guess so could you.
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If you're visiting Saint John's in the Virgin Islands and need a reliable gent to drive you about paradise, I recommend Mr. Wonderful.
(His real name is Leo.)
Mr. Wonderful provides sightseeing tours, beach trips and private service. His cell phone number is (340) 693-7306.
*** The Original Painkiller Recipe ***
As made famous by the Soggy Dollar Bar (so coined because one must jump ship and swim to the beach shack) on the isle of Yost Von Dyke, British Virgin Islands.
- Premium dark rum
- Cream of coconut
- Orange juice
- Grenadian nutmeg
The proportions of said ingredients is your call.