Published On: Sun, Dec 17th, 2017

It is going to be a busy Holiday Season for me

Cdr. Bud Slabbaert on Caribbean female leadershipLadies and Gentlemen,

This week no column from me. I doubt that anyone would be interested in reading the serious issues that I bring up, during a festive season.  I could have waited another 3-4 days with this, but then everybody get stacks of holiday season wishes that need responses. Therefore, mine are here and now. I wish you the best of holiday cheer and a great time celebrating with friends and relatives.

Since I’m alone anyway, I will pack a light suitcase and make a trip to my favorite Caribbean island, St. Tosia. My friend Capt. Nick Boulder will pick me up here on St.Maarten and fly me to St. Tosia with his seaplane the “Hop-Skip-Jump-Sally”, a “retired” Grumman Albatross search and rescue seaplane that was fixed up and now provides charter services between St. Tosia the surrounding islands and to private yachts resort if desired.

I’m invited to stay at the estate of my friend Ms Prissy Britches. She is the sole heiress of the rum emporium of Walter “Wally” Britches, a successful American rum runner in the prohibition era, who set up his own still and bottling plant on St.Tosia to fulfill the soaring demand during the Roaring Twenties and to be able to get a strong grip on the pricing. He became a rum tycoon by making a fortune in a prosperous time in American history when breaking the law was glamorous, and bootleggers became millionaires.  From the mining towns in Kansas to the Nightclubs in Chicago, St. Tosia Rum was considered a “saloon smasher”.  Numerous under-cover US federal agents visited the island as tourists shadowing the smugglers, traders and producers. They often participated in the parties at Wally Britches’ Estate which were known at the FBI as “St. Tosia Smuggle Bashes”.

It’s going to be a visit with several meetings. I will have a special meeting with the island’s marketing guru Nandan Mahasundaram and discuss some ideas about making the Caribbean Aviation Meetup more significant. Duncan La Mar the painter/artist and I will spend one day creating a painting together.

On Christmas Eve / the holy night, I’m invited by Prior Petrus of the Catharsis Monastery on Kalinago Hill, to attend the holy mess. In an email he informed me that the group of singing monks, “the Barefoot Friars”, will release a new “Oh, Christmas Tree” version in their Gregorian Reggae style. I look forward to that evening since they will be serving devout drinks produced at other saintly monasteries, like the fine French liquors Chartreuse and DOM Benedictine and Trappist Beer of the Westmalle Abbey in Belgium.

On Christmas Day, I’m invited to join the Christmas Dinner at the Restaurant of the Port Olvidar Imperial Yacht Club. It has five-star gastronomy that is inspired by its French haute cuisine Chef Bernard Chalot Lazare who turns French dining into a belle époque UNESCO Cultural Heritage Item.  I received the personal invitation from the President of the yacht club Commodore Horatio Dawson, a distinguished Flag Officer and a grizzled sailor. He is known to always have a briar pipe in the corner of his mouth. He indeed possesses the dignity of a typical Navy Chief and is the living proof that great looking over-grown bushy eyebrow hair never goes out of style. In fact, his eyebrows are so bushy that one must assume that he has to shampoo, deep condition, blow dry and brush them each morning or else he would have a distinct Sasquatch look.

Not to forget some meetings with government officials like the honorable Sir Charles P. Dribcloss Sr., nicknamed “Laundromat Charly” the Finance Minister, as well as the honorable Eleazar Garcia Chuchena, nicknamed “The Baron” the Ministry of Trade.

It is going to be a busy Holiday Season for me.

And so, below is the card that I designed especially for you all. “Happy Holidays to you all”.

Cdr. Bud Slabbaert Happy Holidays 2017 Wish