As followers of my blog might already know, I used to fish commercially on St. John in the early 1970s along with my good friend, John Gibney. The following story is about what we had for dinner one night:
We left early in the morning to pull our traps and returned to the Cruz Bay dock around noon or so to sell our fish.
The morning’s haul was particularly nice, an assortment of good sized pot fish, grouper, snappers, ol’ wifes, and even a couple of lobsters that we brought into the while they were hanging on to the outside of the fish trap.
As usual, people were gathered on the dock awaiting our arrival. Sales were brisk. we sold out in no time. Put the money in our pockets. Put the boat away and cooled out for the rest of the day.
In the late afternoon we thought about dinner.
“Let’s check out Miss Lilly’s,” I say and off we go to the little market where La Tapa Restaurant is now. St. John markets at that time were not a great place to find fresh vegetables, meats or fish or anything else for that matter. It was hit or miss. Mary, a lady from Tortola, brought over fresh produce once a week and occasionally a boat from Puerto Rico brought a nice selection of stuff from that island. Otherwise, you grew it or you caught it or some neighbor turned you on to it,
So here we are at Miss Lilly’s, shopping for what we can get with the money we earned that day, and we end up buying a couple of cans of tuna, some onions, some bread and make sandwiches. Not until we sit down to eat do we realize then the utter absurdity of our situation hit us. We had sold all our nice fresh fish and here we are eating tuna sandwiches on white bread.