Searching for Cannons
At the pediatrician’s office back home in Denver, the boys’ doctor, who had recently been to Harbour Island, said it would be fun for the kids to go on a scavenger hunt for the cannons.
Their grandmother sent us to the southern tip of the island, where she supported the rumors that such cannons exist. She said we would pass a guard house. “Just tell them you are going to see the cannons.” And there was a small park.
Their father nodded in agreement. He remembered them.
As we drove our golf cart south, we picked up a trail of pale yellow signs that picture a cannon pointing in their supposed direction. The road crossed through private property, marked by an unconvincing sign. Though a strict follower of the rules, the island’s relaxed way of life led me to ignore that sign, despite worried eyes and a few “we should go backs” from my equally rule-conscious sons.
Then, the road transitioned from a paved one to dirt and at a particularly rocky spot, I yelled for everyone to lean toward me, as the golf cart was tipping. No more tourists smiling at us from their golf cart. No more locals either. No guard house or park. Through the dense foliage – mostly palm fronds and huge round leaves with bright red veins – we could hear the crashing of waves on the rocky southern shore.
Clearly, Harbour Island’s wild side!
But no cannons.
We discovered a path above the coral reef-like beach, and I convinced the boys to explore.
We turned back when we reached its destination, the middle of nowhere.
Two trips to the elusive cannons later, the boys and I have still not discovered their location. We even tried assuming that the signs had been moved as part of some island prank and took alternate paths to no avail.
Having returned to the place the signs point to more than once, I realized while standing on this lonely, strange tip of the island, listening to the waves crashing on the reef-like shore, that one could assume the cannons you are searching for are not military weaponry at all. They are instead, I began to believe, the sound the waves make when they break here. Isolated and echoing.
We have asked two locals and an island regular who fishes off the southern shore every year. Two could not remember ever seeing the cannons, though they had noticed the signs. One claimed she saw them long ago, but even then, they were eroded and not worth the trip. She guessed they were now covered by vegetation.
Tomorrow is our last day on Harbour Island. Do we go in search of the cannons again? Or do we return home content that our search brought us unanticipated treasures – shells, a gorgeous piece of coral, a cool rock, waves that sound like cannons and an adventure together that sent us searching for cannons from a small island’s colonial history?
I know what the boys will choose – only if Dad comes! He’ll find them!