George didn’t eat any of the meat he had spent two days preparing and cooking. “Me no eat she-goat” he’d said, “eat ram-goat” making a fist and gesturing with his arm. I supposed that was to mean that eating a male goat imparted some sort of virility. I wonder what he would have thought of our castrating the little fellows, allowing for solid weight gain and gentler dispositions before we brought them to the table.
George did prepare the goat extremely well, marinating and rubbing in special spices before roasting it on an open fire for Dick’s birthday bash; attending to the head of the goat, something we generally did not cook or eat, declaring the cheeks a delicacy. George was hard to understand with his rapid Patois that came across like a foreign language and kept to himself at the fire for most of the party.
Judy had brought him back from Jamaica that winter. Being the community that we were, we welcomed George and even relished the opportunity to have an islander in our midst, to open up to a new culture, to exchange ideas, make connections out in the larger world. But some were dubious from the get-go and it didn’t take long to realize, all was not as it should be.
The first time George appeared out of nowhere at the farm, was a bit startling. I cannot recall now, where I was when he rode up that long, difficult driveway on a standard bicycle, but because we had no telephone unexpected visitors were not unusual. What was startling was the stealth of someone appearing on a bike. Typically we had a bit of warning, hearing, then seeing a car on the top of the hill, giving us a few precious moments to sort ourselves, get some clothes on or whatever. I was fond of gardening in the nude, but found that drew too much attention from my landlord, and so always had a big shirt or loose dress handy. I suppose that just fueled Lurk’s imagination (I nicknamed my landlord Lurk after catching him peeking in the living room window one day) although one thing I must say about Lurk, while he was over-attentive and extremely boring, he never was aggressive or inappropriate. But who knows what went on in that little brain of his as he stood talking to me about the price of soybeans, knowing I had just slipped on my little sundress moments before. But I digress.
It didn’t take long for George to become a bit of a problem in the community. He had gotten the old bike from Erika and took to traveling miles around the backcountry roads, making visits, always, oddly enough, to the women in the community. Sometimes he would hitch a ride into town but his strategy was always the same. He’d drop in, accept the cup of tea or coffee or glass of water that was offered, engage in some small talk, be shown around the yard or garden in typical Killaloe hospitality, all the while talking in the difficult to understand Patois. I remember that first visit, smiling broadly, nodding my head and wondering, ‘did I just hear the word “pussy”? Did he just say “lick”?
It took a few of us sharing the story of George’s visits to figure out what he was up to. We weren’t quite sure why he had just dropped in but within the difficult to understand conversation all thought we’d heard those words, “pussy”, “clean”, “lick”, “lovin”, “white woman”. He must have been frustrated at our smiling and nodding yet never giving him either the heave-ho or falling into his arms in grateful relief.
Probably life in Canada wasn’t quite as he had envisioned it and perhaps he felt that Judy’s free-spirited lifestyle meant there was nothing wrong with him looking for a little something on the side. Who knows, she might have encouraged it, just to get him out of her hair for a while. To my knowledge the man made no scores while he was in our community.