Johnno’s

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Photo by David Lansing.

The Band needed a break. We’d been practicing since…well, actually, we hadn’t started practicing yet. Which is why we decided we needed a break.

The Band’s official driver, Mr. Glennis Connor, the Anguillan Patron Saint of Lost Luggage, evidently needed a break as well since instead of giving us a musical tour of Anguilla, as he’d promised, he asked Lloyd to do it. Lloyd is good. Nothing against Lloyd at all. It’s just that he’s not Mr. Glennis Connor.

We told Lloyd our mission was to make a musical pilgrimage around Anguilla. Get inspired. Hear the sounds, dig the beat, feel the love.

“Well then,” said Lloyd as we pulled away from Cap Juluca, “I suppose the first thing you’ll want to see is Elvis’.”

We all perked up at that. Even The Man, who had had a very late night, sat up straight and opened his eyes for the first time all morning. “Is Elvis in the building?” asked The Man.

“That’s hard to say,” said Lloyd. “Sometimes Elvis is in the building and sometimes he’s not, if you know what I mean. But we can go by and see.”

Now it just so happens that Elvis’ is next door to Johnno’s. The thing is, Johnno’s is more of a jazz joint. On a typical Sunday there, you’re likely to catch Mo Melin on sax, Peter Sorton on bass, and Jaiden Fleming on drums (or sometimes Fred). Whereas Elvis, of course, is more old school.

Elvis’ Rum Punch.

We asked Lloyd how Elvis was doing. He said he’s good, that these days he’s thin and lanky, the way he used to be (before Vegas). And that if he was around, we’d probably find him behind the 16-foot-boat-turned-bar pouring his signature drink, Elvis’ Rum Punch (Mount Gay rum, Amaretto, oj, pineapple juice, guava juice, lime juice, bitters and nutmeg).

So we went to Elvis’. The bartender told us he was out at the moment. So we ordered a round of rum punches. And then another. Just, you know, for inspiration while waiting for Elvis.

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Johnno’s at Sandy Ground on Anguilla. Photo by David Lansing.

Glennis drops us off at Johnno’s in Sandy Ground and tells us to wait there until Happiness comes to pick us up.

“When will Happiness be here?” I ask him.

“That’s the thing about Happiness,” says Glennis. “You just never know.”

While Luscious and I are waiting for Happiness, I wander in to Johnno’s. Glennis told me that Johnno’s makes their own hot sauce and it’s excellent. There’s not much going on in Johnno’s shortly before noon on a Thursday. There’s a man in a green shirt drinking a beer by himself and a young woman behind the bar washing glasses.

“I hear your hot sauce is pretty good,” I say to her.

“Our what now?”

“Your hot sauce. Glennis told me you make your own hot sauce. You know Glennis, right?”

“Oh sure. Everyone know Glennis.”

“Do you sell your hot sauce?”

“Do what now?”

“Your hot sauce…do you sell it?”

“Naw. It’s just…” and she reaches down beneath her and brings up a condiment jar of a murkey brown and gray liquid. “We don’t bottle it,” she says. “It’s just in a big pot in the kitchen.”

“Can I taste it?”

“Do what now?”

“The hot sauce…can I taste it?”

“Without no food?”

“Just a taste.”

She pushes the jar over the bar towards me. “I don’t suppose I could disturb you for a spoon?”

She finds a spoon and slides it across the bar. I dip it in to the jar of hot sauce and put the tiniest amount on my tongue.

“Well?” she says.

“It’s alright.”

“Alright? Alright?”

I shrug, shove the spoon back over the bar, and go back outside where Luscious is sitting at a wooden picnic table on the sand waiting for Happiness. She asks me what I’ve been doing.

“Eating hot sauce,” I tell her.

“Was it good?”

“It was awesome. But don’t tell them that.”

Luscious nods towards the dock where a small boat is pulling up. “I think that’s us,” she says, standing up and grabbing her bag.

“Happiness?”

“Happiness.”

Boat to Sandy Island in Anguilla

Happiness is just waiting to take us to Sandy Island. Photo by David Lansing.

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