Rumor has it that Black Point, Exuma, Bahamas has an elderly woman who bakes the most delectable coconut bread. The next rumor that immediately follows this well-accepted fact is, “it makes the best French toast. I kid you not, it’s the best thing you’ll ever taste,” a sailor told us, swirling his drink around.
Ryan and I lock up the dinghy and climb out next to a small beach where children are splashing and playing. There are no parents around watching them, they are just enjoying the sun’s rays, dodging the local sharks that swim nearby, and laughing. So much laughing.
Their skin shines and their smiles uplift us as they wave when we pass.
“Follow the road,” a Bahamian man with a drill in his hand motions. He is working on what appears will be, in the future, a small restaurant or bar for cruisers like ourselves. We follow the road and find a hand-painted sign pointing us toward the restaurants, one church, one police station and one school.
On our way down the path, we stop when we hear music and see the locals outside dancing. This is where we meeting Officer Right.
“How is your visit? This is your home,” he tells us right away. After removing my book bag for a rest, he opens up to us a little more.
“I’ve lived here my entire life. I was born in that small, teal house right there,” He said pointing a finger. That small house is 400, maybe 500 square feet, and includes a set of bunk beds, a rug, and a kitchen area.
After being born, he went to school on the island until he was 15, then transferred to Nassau for high school.
“Then, it was 39 years in law enforcement,” he said proudly. He pulled from the small house a piece of rectangle drywall on which he had mounted quarter-round trim that he had angled the corners at 45 degrees to make a frame. Within the frame was a picture of himself and his wife, his work photo, and medals from every promotion he had received.
“All the way up to chief,” he said proudly. Now, retired, he says with a laugh, he “gets money to sit here.” But he isn’t really just sitting here. He speaks at the very small local school, “to try to get these little guys to see what they can be one day,” he said. The little boy standing beside me looked at all of his medals with awe.
“Isn’t that really cool?” I ask him. He nods his head and whispers, “Yes.”
A group of children run by in their flip-flops and on bicycles and Officer Right yells, “Hey now! It’s good English I want to hear!”
Officer Right shows us the home is working on building. He is waiting for windows to be shipped from China, he said. He started this home years ago but had to stop all construction to put his children through college in the United States. He will resume construction now that they are graduated and working. The windows should arrive in April, and he plans to have the home completed by June.
Black Point has maybe 400 people living on the island (and many goats, chickens, and roosters).
A quick walk through their cemetery overlooking the Exuma Sound has only 4 headstones, but Officer Right told us that if you own a home in Black Point, you own a home in Nassau, so possibly that applies to cemetery space to?
We continue onward down the street, and two of our sailing friends come popping out of the local restaurant.
“Hey guys!” She said. “We’re in here. And if you’re looking for the bread, it’s right there.”
Now, let me pause here to describe our surroundings. There’s a restaurant, it’s nice but not by any means fancy or elaborate - it lost electricity while we were in the middle of eating our conch salad, and when the small children come in, they help themselves to juices and fruits hiding behind the bar.
Next door lives the mother of the restaurant owner. It’s a small, white home.
“You just walk in,” we’re told.
So, I grab some cash and walk toward the home of the mother of the restaurant owner who makes the most delectable coconut bread.
I feel bad just walking in, so I politely knock.
“Yes?” I hear a voice from inside. I push open the door and poke my head through.
A linoleum walkway leads to a den with a couch and table and a small kitchen. Mrs. B is there with a small girl, peeking at me from behind the counter. I can only see her eyes.
Mrs. B hops off her paint can that she uses to lift her high enough to knead the bread on her countertop and comes over.
“I hear you make the best bread,” I said.
She smiled. “I do.”
“I would love to buy some coconut bread from you!”
“$7.00,” she said, grabbing a loaf still warm from the oven and passing it to me.
I said hello to the little girl, who said, “Hi” back and then hid behind the counter again.
“Thank you so much! I’ve heard wonderful things. Your house is beautiful.”
“Thank you, we love it.” I look around at her small kitchen, and one other room. There is possibly a bedroom somewhere, but I cannot see it. She has frames of photographs, a knitted blanket, and everything looks to be in place.
“Thank you for the bread,” I said. Gathering up my stuff.
“It is the best,” she said, turning her back to me to return to her bread making.
On our way back to Seas Life, we are invited to church.
Mrs. B had asked when we told her we were going to church, "Do you play an instrument? Do you sing?"
“Be prepared to say a little something about yourself,” a local tells us. “And dress nicely and not up.”
We thanked them for their kindness and generosity. Officer Right tells us there is no crime here, so we don’t need to worry.
“39 years in law enforcement, and there was nothing for me to do. There is no crime here. We all know and love each other,” he said.
Looking around, I see the children running and playing with no adult supervision. However, when they cross the path of an adult, the adult will shout out some quality life advice: “Hey, be nice to her!” “Share your bicycle!” “Proper English!” “Be careful!”
We carry our loaf of bread back to the boat with the aim to make French toast with our coffee in the morning. As the sun starts to fade, the children scurry back to their homes, into the arms of their mothers.