Friday, April 15, 2016


I want to tell you about McDowell.  We have been together for a year and a half and we hope to be together for a long long time.

McDoo, as he is called by the locals, is born and bred in the heart of Portsmouth.  He speaks with a deep Portsmouth accent, knows everyone and everything and every place.  Take a walk through Portsmouth with him and he can tell you the history of every house, who lived there, their family ancestry to the most remote third cousin, what happened there, what happened to the people, where their heirs are now.  He has an amazing store of local knowledge under his cap and the memory of the proverbial elephant.

His name is interesting; He belongs to the Magloire tribe, a huge band of Dominicans. He looks like a Magloire. 'McDowell' is derived from his father's name, McDonald.  His mother called him Xavier.  He calls himself Joseph, "My tourist name," he says.  I call him McDowell, (sometimes Mackie) but there is no way, no matter how much practice, can I say it like the locals.  It's something like, Mac Doo wheel with the emphasis on the last syllable. I feel silly even trying.
He knows his reggae, classic and current, and plays the guitar,sings and dances.  He does not know any other music but often listens to Blues.  I'm sure he hears the origins of reggae in the Blues music.  He has never even heard of what are considered  to be the Blues and Jazz greats, much less the classical composers. Maybe because he is too young!

Here is a true Sagittarian born in 1960, December 5.  Even his Bar/Grill is called Sagittarius.  Although out spoken, straight forward and direct, he keeps his thoughts to himself.  He is generous and kind.  He is independent, optimistic, and honest, easily offended, can be a loner, loves deeply, is jovial and good humoured, philosophical and idealistic. He has no formal education to speak of, but is well informed and thoughtful. McDowell is a religious person, Catholic, but not a church goer anymore.  He has come to understand that the hierarchy, patronage and paternalism of the Church are oppressive and man made. He is a deep believer by nature and is always conscientious of other dimensions, both good and evil. He keeps it to himself.  St. Michael and Jesus keep him safe.  He is also a political person, a natural social democrat.

Now, McDowell owns and operates a Bar/Grill in the heart of Portsmouth across from the Credit Union, next to Bourgh's Square.  He has many stories of his happy boyhood and youth spent on the wharf at Bourgh's Square, now a bustling bus terminal. In his early adult years he was on the sea sailing the Caribbean, especially BVI, USVI, St. Thomas, Ste. Maarten. (His father was lost at sea when he was 14 or so).  Stories of a young man's adventures abound, as you can imagine.

In the early 90's he fell for a local beauty.  They had 2 daughters.  He opened the original Sagittarius Bar on the same site as the present one, and a hamburger stand in 'The Shacks", in Picard, by the new Ross Medical School.  Then life's confusion got in the way.  He lost the Sagittarius Bar and  closed the stand at The Shacks.  He had  another daughter (different mother).  All through this he continued to  looked after Miss Gweny, who by this time was an elderly lady. He had been her helper since he was a child.

Two years ago he opened the present Sagittarius 2 Reggae Bar and Grill. The Bar is doing well in these hard times in Dominica.  Not great, but better than simply staying afloat.  Actually it does stay afloat on a sea of rum and chicken and chips and soup.  The habitués are mostly his school mates and men and  women he has grown up with and yachters off their boats in Prince Rupert Bay at Purple Turtle.

We met a long time ago, when I was with Sono who was trying to buy a guitar from McDowell.  I don't remember, but he does.  After Sono died I would pass McDowell, who was working at Cabral's bar, everyday on my way to CALLS to work.    He would call a cheerful 'Hello', and on my way back I would stop in a have a chat and a beer. We began to look for each other and eventually, easily and naturally..........

He says he is happy, his life is good and his prayers are being answered.  Me too.  McDowell is easy to live with and I love him.

Look on FaceBook for sagittarius 2 reggae bar and grill

Melanie, McDowell, Marian, Melona

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