We have gremlins in our midst. They are little creatures that like to cause trouble; tinkering with water pipes and chewing on power lines. From the corner of my eye, I have seen them burrow into the garden with mischievous and dirty hands. We do our best to keep them out of sight of our guests and, with a bit of superstition, crossed fingers and prayers, I think we have reached an informal accord, but, from time to time, the rules do get broken.
While we might not be able to prove that gremlins exist, the challenges to life in the Caribbean, and living on a remote island, are very apparent. We do our best but sometimes things fall down. Thus, I get anxious when anticipating a hotel full of guests. For the months, weeks and days leading up to December, the start of our busiest season, we work hard to present the hotel at its best. We polish and paint, mend and stitch, hoping to present a seamless operation.
We recently had a wedding at Hermitage, a New Year’s wedding, and the night before the ceremony I was walking through the garden in the moonlight and noticed the delicate smell that flowers make after it has rained. A gentle, tropical, nighttime rain can be intoxicating, perfectly romantic, but this evening it had not rained. So, with concern, I followed the wet grass and found rivulets running down the path from a tiny little gremlin sized geyser erupting in the bushes.
When the sun came up and spread its golden fingers we started to dig, frantically, hoping our wedding guests would not notice. We discovered a two-inch water main had ruptured. Totally beyond my control, and certainly beyond my expectation, the water pressure from our government supply was bursting all our pipes. Just hours before the wedding we had not a drop of running water. I stayed ostensibly calm, convivially entertaining our guests, and when their backs were turned I waved silent but desperate signals to the staff in the background who were urging the plumber on.
The water was restored in time for the bride to wash her hair before it was braided with flowers. I waited in the garden with the groom as he watched his beloved walk down from her balcony room, wearing a white lace dress and holding a bouquet of yellow.
It was a simple ceremony, and a beautiful wedding, with clear skies in a serene setting. Suddenly, a rainbow appeared above the couple as they said their vows. It was the serendipity of love; a promise for a life full of marvel together and a magnificent moment that could not be planned.
But, I knew the truth; the water main had erupted behind them casting a mist for the sun to shine through. The gremlins had done it on purpose, teasing anxiety and bending the rules to a new accord.
And thus, the new year began with some color.