See the Man With No Legs Dance
See the Man With No Legs Dance
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Growing up in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the sixties, a young boy learns the customs and traditions of the Virgin Islanders on St. Croix. It is here he learned to be an artist, creating colorful artwork which he sold throughout the island and later in New Orleans, LA and Savannah, GA.

It's often been said that "dining out in the Virgin Islands can be a truly unforgettable experience," and that night at the Chick'N Ribs restaurant became a night we never forgot. The outside of the restaurant looked nice enough. Built on a deck overhanging the water, diamond-paned windows glistened beneath a mansard style roof, decorated with flashing red Christmas lights. Inside, round tables draped with barbeque stained tablecloths were topped with individual salt and pepper shakers alongside grimy bottles of that fancy Puerto Rican ketchup that was popular at the time. Billions of red casino chips clung to the walls. We were startled by the intensity of the mismatched decor. A large purple statue of David stood naked in a lily fountain beneath paper Japanese lanterns dandling cheerfully from the ceiling. Dozens of foul smelling turtle shells adorned the walls and a misspelled hand lettered sign stuck to the cash register advertised "TURTLE SOOP" Across the room a makeshift laundry line stretching from a dusty cigarette machine to the bar sprouted freshly scrubbed lingerie and an open bottle of bleach vaporized beside an uncovered basin of wilted salad greens. With a look of horror covering their faces, Pop blurted, "Good gosh," as Mom exclaimed, "Oh, my."

In spite of the fact it was a Sunday night the place was devoid of customers. The cook, who doubled as our waitress yawned as she awakened from her snooze. We weren't in the restaurant two minutes before old Mr. Disappointment came waltzing in. "Barbeque chicken? Sorry we outta dat. Ribs? No, sorry, we outta dat too. Only hamburgers."

Well that wasn't exactly what we had in mind but we were hungry. It was getting late so we took what we could get. Yes it was typical of island dining and we should have known better than to get our hopes up too high.

"French fries? No, sorry, chips." Just as the cook turned to enter the kitchen, our hearts sank as the phone rang and she had a nasty problem to deal with concerning her drunken husband at home so in the meantime we watched an army of fire ants maraud from the turtle shells, down a trail leading to the men's room. Ho-hum.

Out back, a raggedy-assed goat rummaged atop a mound of trash and a thieving frigate bird, perched on a window sill, waited anxiously for our food to be brought to the table. It took an eternity to get our meal and as we ate, that frigate bird stood ready to pounce on our plates. No matter what my father did, he couldn't shoo that ornery predator away, so Penny threw some chips out the open window, encouraging the beggar to take off and leave us alone. A piece of pie might have been nice for dessert, but "no, sorry, yellow cake," so we didn't bother with that. It had been a dining experience we never forgot and in typical island fashion we left the joint in a spirit of gloom. When life gets us down, we pick ourselves up and move on.

Christian Scott (Kit) Cawley was born in Branford, Connecticut on September 12, 1952. He moved with his family to St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1960.

During his formative years, Kit attended Silvermine college of Art in New Canaan, Connecticut, and the New School for Social Research in new York City.

On the island of St. Croix, he created highly detailed acrylic paintings reflecting a Caribbean fantasy inspired by Haitian art.

After Hurricane Hugo devastated the island of St. Croix, Kit moved to New Orleans in 1989, where he lived for 15 years until Hurricane Katrina blew ashore, forcing him to re-locate to Savannah, Georgia.

Kit passed away at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, after a heart attack on September 3, 2007 at the age of 54.


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