Everyone had come into their hut when they heard the yelling.
“I’ll sit up with him,” Cathy offered. “You look tired.”
But Stephanie refused. “No,” she said. “I’m all right.”
When they all left, Stephanie again went to sit by the side of the crib. The baby was breathing fine now and the puffiness was gone from around his eyes. He wasn’t even coughing. He was just lying there playing with his toes.
Darrel took him outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. For a fourteen month old baby, James had a great suntan from crawling around with no clothes on all the time. He looked like a native. Darrel put James on the ground where he immediately began to eat the sand.
“Hey,” Darrel said. “Don’t eat the sand.”
“Papa,” James said. “Papa, papa, papa.” The only words he knew were mama, papa and the names of everyone else on the island plus a couple of other short words.
“That’s right,” Darrel said. “I’m Papa.”
“Canny,” James said.
“No, not Candy. Papa.”
Darrel picked the baby up and swung him around.
“I’m so glad you’re not sick anymore,” Darrel said.
James pointed to the hut. “Mama,” he said.
“Darrel,” Stephanie called. “Bring him inside.”
Darrel ran up the beach with James on his back.
“Hi James,” Cari called.
“Hi Cawi,” James said.
“You should have some clothes on him,” Stephanie said, as she took the baby. “How you doin’, Tiger?” she asked.
“Hi mama,” he said.
Stephanie put him in his crib and a new pair of diapers on him, then she put him in his playpen outside.
“He seems to be fine,” Darrel told her.
“I guess it was just the twenty-four hour flu,” she agreed.
Steve was coming to Darrel’s hut. He saw James outside in his playpen. “How are you feeling, Champ?” Steve asked, as he picked James up and threw him into the air.
“Hi Stebe,” James said.
Steve put James down and knocked on the door.
“C’mon in,” Darrel called.
“Wanna go fishing?” Steve asked.
“I guess so,” Darrel said. “You don’t mind, do you, honey?” Darrel asked Stephanie.
“No,” she said. “Go ahead. I’ll help the girls make lunch.”
Steve and Darrel walked out the door. When Stephanie left, she took James and headed for Cathy’s.
“Hi,” James said, when they walked in the door.
“Well, howdy sport,” Cathy said. “Are you feeling better?”
James nodded his head.
“Caffy,” James whispered.
“What?” Cathy asked him.
James pointed to the sugarcane in her her hand.
“Can he have some?” Cathy asked Stephanie.
“Yes, I guess so,” Stephanie told her.
Cathy peeled the skin off the sugarcane and handed it to James.
“Fank you,” he said.
Cathy, Stephanie and James went outside to wait for the other girls. Candy came, then Kris and Cari. They all sat down and talked for a while before they made lunch.
Cathy had to go down to the edge of the water to see if there were any small clam shells to make spoons out of.
“Do you want to go with me, James?” she asked him.
James nodded his head. “Yeth,” he answered.
“If he wants to play in the water, take his diaper off,” Stephanie said.
“Okay,” Candy said, as she took James to the water.
“He is so cute,” Kris said.
The girls started working on lunch. It always took a long time to make lunch because the food had to be caught or picked or peeled. The girls were trying something different today. Bananas cooked in pineapple juice, with shredded coconut on top. They tried to come up with a new recipe almost every day. Because when you live on a diet of sugarcane, pineapples, coconuts, bananas, fish, an occasional boar, lobster or some clams, you can get sick of eating pretty quickly. The new drink for the day was coconut and pineapple juice boiled with water. How they all longed for a soda, some beer, or a cup of coffee.
“We’re back,” Lance called to the girls as they dragged the boat in.
“What’s for lunch?” Kevin asked. “I’m starved.”
“Bananas cooked in pineapple juice with shredded coconut on top, and hot pineapple coconut tea,” Kris told him.
“I think I’ll eat raw fish,” Brent said.
“It isn’t that bad,” Cari laughed.
“Yeah,” Candy agreed. “In fact, it’s pretty good.”
“Maybe I’ll try some,” Darrel said.
They all sat down to lunch and started eating.
“Yuck,” James said. “Bad food.”
“I agree with James,” Steve said. “Bad food.”
“See what you’ve started, James,” Cathy said to him. “It doesn’t taste that bad.”
“Sand,” James laughed.
“He’s right,” Kevin agreed. “It does taste like sand.”
“Now what will we eat,” Cari asked.
“We could just eat plain pineapples, coconuts or bananas,” Stephanie said.
So, for lunch they ate bananas and drank water, and everyone thought it tasted better better than bananas cooked in pineapple juice.
To be continued …