As I was on the tiny shuttle from the tarmac to the airport I spotted it. A tiny bag with a patch that read Man-O-War Cay, Abaco Bahamas, Norman Albury Sailmakers. I spent a lot of time on a sailboat as a kid and the brightly colored canvas brought back fond memories of lazy days on the bay and long tournaments of Yatzee.
I asked the woman holding the bag where I might find one and she gave me the information of a tiny little shop in Abaco. Luckily, that was exactly where I was headed. I took a ferry from the Abaco Beach Resort where I was staying to one of the other neighboring islands called Man-O-War Cay. And could not wipe the grin off my face as I entered the shop.
From floor to ceiling – literally – the walls and shelves and corners and counter tops were covered with bags made of heavy sail canvas in a plethora of colors and right at the entrance sat two older women at ancient, industrial sewing machines sewing patches like the one I had seen on the shuttle onto the bags.
Needless to say, I bought a bunch. They weren’t cheap. But you won’t find bags like these anywhere. I use them all the time, for everything, and, whenever I do I can hear the gulls call and the water lap and feel the sun on my face. Seriously. It’s like one of those sensory memory things. And I have to tell you — no Gucci has ever done that for me!
Jenny Block is the author of “Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage” (Seal Hardcover, June 2008 and Seal Paperback, March 2009), which has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. She writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News publication Quick called “Sex Talk with Jenny Block” (quickdfw.com). Jenny holds both her BA and her MA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and taught college composition for nearly ten years. She writes for a wide variety of publications and websites, including huffingtonpost.com, yourtango.com, American Way, Veranda, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Voice, edgedallas.com, literarymama.com, Spirit, chow.com, and ellegirl.com.