Naming T’ings

Naming T’ings

Turpentine TreeSince I can remember I have been told that this sturdy, prevalent island tree was called a Turpentine tree. A search online, however, reveals that this Caribbean trees with reddish bark that peels is actually a Bursera simaruba, a.k.a. gumbo-limbo. Whichever camp you’re in, turpentine or gumbo-limbo, the local nickname is far better: the Tourist Tree.

The naming of t’ings will continue to be one of my favorite parts of living on St. John. West Indians are lovingly literal, like calling a straw a haul-up, a car wreck a mashup, and shouting “inside” repeatedly to kindly announce their presence in a home. The local discount grocery store? Make that check payable to Cost-U-Less.