Friday, February 4, 2011
and it's all about Bob
My bestest vacation would be a secluded cabin surrounded by tall ponderosa pine, snowy mountains in their background, a crystal lake viewed from my rocking chair on the front porch. But the cowboy is footing the bill so we are at an all-inclusive resort and I will live in a bathing suit for a week looking out over turquoise waters reading book after book. Dave will be at the pool bar trading stories with other Midwesterners and touting various rum and fruit juice drinks. The sweet blooming mimosa barely hides the barbed wire on the high fence surrounding this property.
I choose to investigate outside this plastic Jamaica, making my husband nervous. I take to the town and visit grocers and flea markets, buying local paintings and talking to their artists, sweet smell of marijuana everywhere. I note where a policeman is at all times and the fruit sellers and street musicians are friendly. They tell me the stories, the religion, the romance that is Jamaica.
It is difficult, a third world country. There is no comfort zone, only rawness. My guide sees me leaning towards a young mother with her hand out asking for money. She only wants it for drugs, he says and motions me away and I wish I had brought granola bars for the children. I am more communist than capitalist and wonder why I should have so much and they so little.
And then there's Bob. I pooh-poohed reggae music the first couple of trips, dismissing it as repetitive island drivel and missing my state side Clapton and Lennon. And then one night it clicked, those strong reggae rhythms on the second and fourth beats, unlike the northern hemisphere melodies set up like a Sousa march.
In 1999 TIME-LIFE magazine declared Bob Marley's Exodus album to be -not the album of the year, not the album of the decade, but the album of the century. It is poetry, religion, revolution and one love, one heart all in one package. Bob had it figured out, but he died too young. In this photo you can see the cancer already claiming him. He was Rastafarian and his religion disallowed any tissue surgically removed, including malignancy. Pity, the world could have used more of his brilliance.