Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mrs. Timber

I’ve been looking forward to the day when I could finally dedicate an entire blog post to our landlady. Here’s the little blip I wrote about her after our first meeting, back in September of 2009:

“I need to mention our sweet landlady Mrs. Timber, the oldest woman on the island (and I’m not convinced she’s not the oldest in the world). Within the first hour of our visit, she may or may not have told us that her late husband was an impotent alcoholic and that she had to find another man to bless her womb. I could be wrong, though; she requires three interpreters and even then you’ll only understand a quarter of what she’s saying. Such a thick Caribbean accent, plus, she’s old. A devout Seventh Day Adventist, she tried over and over to convert us, or, rather, she frequently gestured toward her Bible while speaking with conviction. Whatever she’d just taken a bite of before we showed up stayed in her mouth for the duration of our conversation, except for the pieces that ended up on us. Such a dear, though. I love her and we’re going to be friends.”

It turned out that was overly optimistic of me – as our association continued, some not-entirely-pleasant feelings arose. She dragged her feet on every issue, which was an annoyance when the TV died and an absolute crisis when our water compressor went the same way. And even when things DID get taken care of, it was obvious that she was asking the handyman to make things operate at the absolute minimum, presumably because she wouldn’t live long enough to see the benefits of good workmanship and quality materials. Then I realized, could I really blame her for that? She’s NINETY-THREE for crying out loud. She’s pretty much dead.

Once we figured out that we could just bypass her completely by either contacting the handyman directly or making Jon do the work, landlady-tenant relations improved drastically. We didn’t bother her with too many problems, and she only bothered us once, when she dropped by to sit on our couch. Actually, she came by twice to sit on our couch, but only because she forgot that she had already done it the week before. Like I said, very nearly dead.

It’s obvious she adores Jon (case in point – bequeathing him her blue bead collection), so on our very last rent-day I asked her if I could take a photo of the two of them together. Motioning to her nearly-bald head, she responded that she first needed to put on her hat. While she was inside readying herself for the picture, she apparently had an epiphany and withheld the potential photo until we promised to go to church with her the following Saturday morning. She was standing there in her awesome “hat” looking so pleased with her brilliant idea…what else could we do but agree?

(After I snapped it, she asked to review the results to make sure it was a good one. Also, can you believe her wrinkle-free skin? Her neck is smoother than MINE)

And that’s how Jon and I were roped into three and a half hours of Seventh Day Adventist church on the morning of Saturday, April 9th. On the way there he wondered if we would be welcomed with the Primary “Hello” song, only the word “Hello” being replaced by “Okay” – a common greeting here on the island. He sang the whole thing like that. I laughed like an idiot.

But we weren’t. Instead, Mrs. Timber welcomed us by squeezing our hands and giving me a kiss on the cheek. It was sweet, and I tried not to notice that her squeezing hand was holding a used handkerchief. The service, aside from being too long and me stressing over time (we had a pool party at 1 that I never dreamed would conflict with 9:00 church), was great. Visiting other churches always reminds me of how much LDS church services would benefit from an extra heaping tablespoon of joyfulness. Despite the length, I was glad we went, if only to make an old lady beside herself with jubilation.

So that’s Mrs. Timber. And OH YEAH! You should have seen the excitement on my face when I found out what her last name was! You can guarantee that Jon and I typically refer to her as “Shiver me Timbers”. My landlady in the Caribbean was named Mrs. Timber! In the Caribbean! Shiver me Timbers! In the Caribbean!

Okay so maybe I’m the only one that thinks it’s awesome.


  1. I just laughed really hard at that little old lady. . . now I feel bad. . . ha.