May 10, 2006 12:00 AM
On Bonds and Paradise in Jamaica
If you're a reader of the News or a regular to this blog, then you know I took a little time off recently. I always have a few cartoons to run while I'm gone to keep up with my syndicate quota (two cartoons a week go to United Features for distribution nationally). But this time I took a few weeks off to get married to a wonderfully terrific, incredible, special lady named Marcia. Marcia is an amazingly talented writer who loves sports and quite honestly is the perfect person for me to spend the rest of my life with. I'm greatly blessed. Here's a photo of us that was taken on our honeymoon in Negril, Jamaica.
The trip was fantastic. I'd never been out of the country before (Mexico and Canada excluded), so it was a real adventure. During the time away, I kept a sketchbook that I did during our afternoons lounging on the beach there. The sketches don't tell a story. They are just random doodles done to capture a new and different culture and to keep drawing a little bit during a two-week break from work.
The thing, of course, that is striking about the first few hours in Jamaica is the level of poverty. I grew up on the Texas-Mexico border (El Paso, across from Juarez), so I know a little about third-world poverty. Still the contrast from our lives in America and life in Jamaica is huge. It takes about an hour and a half to get from Montego Bay, where we flew into from Miami, to Negril, and the images of the barely standing shacks and rundown shops and eateries was overwhelming and very humbling. Chickens and goats lined the roads along with large groups of children in school uniforms walking home from a day spent at school. Walls crumbled on most bulidings, and it wasn't unusual to see assorted pieces of rusted junk weighing down tin roofs to keep them in place.
Beach life in Jamaica was terrific, with a constant stream of Jamaican salesmen hawking everything from parisailing and jet skiing to things Ricky Williams would have been interested in.
We didn't do anything too adventurous like parasailing, but we did wander down the beach to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, where, unbeknownst to me, the NFL draft was on the TV. Caught it at the 15th pick, so I could see the Broncos had brilliantly selected Jay Cutler and the Texans had lost their ever-loving minds passing on Reggie Bush. The clock is ticking on both Jake Plummer and Gary Kubiak.
I love pirates and ships and the sea. It all reminds me of Sunday afternoon Raiders games in Oakland. Makes me even more excited for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming this summer.
Needless to say, it was hard to leave the beach, but honestly Marcia and I were eager to get back to Denver. After all, I have another quarterback I need to learn to caricature.