Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Wow!" at Turtle's Deli

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur, August 6

It’s been unusually chaotic the last couple of days, even by our standards. We moved from the vacation villa to the house with a six-month lease.

It’s a nice house, and well within our price range, Unfurnished, so we’ve had to do a lot of scrambling. Several trips to Kmart (don’t skoff - Kmart is pretty much IT on St. Croix, we’ve got two of them! It’s the place to go for a lot of the stuff you have to have for a home.

Tuesday was the most hectic day. I figured we didn’t want to cook dinner (especially since the guy from the propane company STILL hasn’t delivered our gas, so we can’t cook on the stove yet.) Someone had told me that Turtle’s Deli in nearby Frederiksted was the best place on the island for a sandwich, so off I went to pick up dinner for the family.

Well, the sandwiches were everything we’d been promised. It was a much more complete deli than I’d expected. But even better that the sandwiches were the couple – Bob and Mary – who own the place.

As soon as they heard we were new on island, the stories and advice started pouring out of them. As they sliced meat and cheese, spread mustard and all the rest, they told us how they’d come to be here, how glad they were we’d chosen the west side of the island (I’llo post something about the east/west split soon.) Schools. Shops. Everything.

And they wanted to k now about us. I mentioned that Tori is a teacher with a special ed background looking for work and Mary immediately suggested a school, sort of an alternative school that her children used. It’s a great place, she said, the woman who runs it is fantastic, and they just lost two teachers so Tori should call right away.

I asked Bobif there was a place in Frederiksted that had wireless – an Internet café sort of deal. I’ve been using a spot in Christiansted, but it was sort of inconvenient on the other side of the island.

“Right here,” he said. “I think I’m the only one in town. You have to supply the computer, but my wireless is usually up and usually works.”

Wow. This was turning into one of the best errands I’d ever run.But I had an uneasy feeling. I glanced around the shop and realized I didn’t see any Visa signs. I was planning to pay with my credit card, but there was no sign they accepted it.

“I probably should have asked this before you started making the sandwiches,” I said, “but do you take plastic?”

“No,” he said. Problem. But then he said, “I do take IOUs.”

He said he’s taken checks from all over the world (tourists) and almost never been stiffed. He’s taken IOUs from people off a tour ship he returned home and mailed him cash. People haven’t taken advantage of him, hardly ever, and he just preferred to do business that way. He wrote up the bill, I signed it, and he said, “Come back anytime this week and we’ll be fine.”


Then Mary took the receipt back and scribbled on it –– the name and phone number of the school where Tori should apply.

And when I got home, the sandwiches were excellent. Too big, I’m about to have the second half of mine for lunch today. But excellent.

Tuesday was also the birthday of our son, Jack (yes, he's Jack Baur.) 26. How did that happen. He did NOT make the move with us, he recently finished grad school and is making his own life. He just moved to the Bay Area.

And damn, we miss him! Happy Birthday Jack!!