As the old man’s cayuco nudged up alongside AVENTURA, I sensed that there was something different about him this morning, but I couldn’t quite place what it was. He greeted me with a cheerful, “Hola, Capitan Ramon” which made me chuckle as I recalled our first encounter from a few months ago. At that time his severe hearing problems had led to a funny exchange as I struggled to convince him that I was not “Capitan Rainbow” or Capitan Rambo.”
His visits were always a treat because I never knew what he would try to sell or trade me. It could be a fish or a lobster or an octopus or some fresh eggs or the mother of the eggs. Today it was some “jonny cakes” - a sort of dense Indio bread vaguely shaped like a hamburger bun. I bought a few and as he passed them up to me I suddenly recognized what was different about him today. He was wearing a watch! When I playfully teased him about this, he explained that he had just gotten a job as a caretaker or “watchee man” at an expat property. They had bought him the Timex and insisted that he wear it. We both laughed when I asked him what time it was. That’s because instead of looking at the watch, he looked up at the position of the sun in the sky - like a hundred generations of his ancestors had done before him.