I realized when I left you that I never explained the word zeb of the title. It is patois for grass. Bonty used to hold up a blade of grass in front of me and tell me that if I boiled it or sauteed it in coconut oil or put it under the bed, it would cure something. New guava leaves boiled into a tea would cure the flu for real, I wish I had written down all the homeopathic information.
When I walked my land before it was cleared I saw fallen trees with bright orange mushroms growing all over. Purple lichens attached to stones and velvet green parasites on perfectly healthy plants. I knew that the answer for everything resided in the rain forest. Soon after I was told that a rasta man was giving the sap from a tree on the mountain to his friends who were HIV positive and that they were in remission. The WHO came down to do a study and decided that instead of doing a scientific double blind, they would do a longitudinal one. Then there is Bois Bonde, the bark from the bonde tree when soaked in gin or vodka and then drunk is a natural stimulant. We all have heard about mister who had to go to Princess Margaret Hospital to be packed in ice because his toli, his coco, his penis had been blazingly erect for seven hours. There are many survivors of all kinds on the island. Ma Pampo lived to be 126 but is not in the record books because the parish house burned down after 1880 with her birth paper and her mother, a former slave on a sugar plantation, could only remember the season.
Bonty knows at what moon to cut the bamboo so it won’t rot. At what point to pick the caco. He once produced a banana tree with four stalks. I sent a picture in to the agriculture department. They probably thought it was photo shopped! He kept the bush neat so there was enough sun in the yard for our pumpkins to wind their way from one house to another. We had crystofen hanging from vines (shaped like a pear, the fruit like a cuke but can be cooked) and babadeen, a delicacy for rats for they get to it before you do. It is an oblong melon the color and texture of a honeydew but even sweeter.
Oh, we did buy pomerack trees. Bonty warned me that I wouldn’t get any fruit but I wanted them. I had seen one at a mill house turned into an inn on the north of the island. It was 20 feet tall and looked like an apple tree but when you looked closer the fruit was pear shaped. The skin is bright red and the fruit inside is white as alabaster and tastes like you would imagine a rose would taste if you could eat it. Of course I rarely get to taste mine because Bonty was right, the birds are truly on the lookout and notify all their friends when the first red flower arrives. Seeing the flowers is enough, open airy globes the size of peaches with red filligree of many designs floating to the ground as the fruit swells. To be continued. . .