October 24, 2020

Pirates Week is here without RUBY

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4137342892_fbd2595051Pirates Week 2013 on Grand Cayman started on Friday (8) with Children’s Pirate Competition followed by the Miss Festival Queen competition. Then the event most persons had come to see – the fireworks.

Having seen most of the Friday Pirates Fireworks this one had a very disappointing slow start. It started with a fizzle with seemingly gaps between the next flurry. Whether this was done on purpose to stretch the performance out or there were technical problems I will never be in a position to know.

However, it did finish spectacularly. A huge spray of beautiful colours, stars, and streamers together with some of the loudest firework bangs brought the display to a close to much applause and shrieks of delight.

There were a lot of people in George Town and most people stayed for the street dance that featured the IMG_007 pirinternational Soca band Kes.

I am not sure moving the fireworks time to 8:30pm from the customary 7:30pm was a good idea. Parents with young children were not too happy at the change. Perhaps the new festival director might think again?

Then it was Saturday with the Pirates Landing and the Float Parade. There was big difference this year. No capture of the governor…… shockingly disappointing. There was plenty of colour and action although as with most years no one knew what exactly was happening.

IMG_0007 pirHowever, the most spectacular part of the Pirates Saturday is the landing of the pirates and if that is not done it is, for me, a spectacular let down. I have watched the last few years this most important and colourful active ingredient been watered down and I have to wonder why.

With the governor standing to attention with his redcoats watching the Pirate ship come in, and then a huge wave of 30/40 pirates brandishing swords and screaming rush off the ship and come charging towards IMG_009 pirthem is great entertainment. A show stopper. Then to the delight of everyone the governor runs away to be finally captured is what it is all about. If it doesn’t happen it is a let down.

I was not alone with my disappointment.

The float parade was excellent and the start with the confetti pouring down was fabulous.

Just after the start the parade came to a halt when one of the big lead floats had to stop because of a flat tyre.

IMG_00023 pirOne of the new attractions to the parade was a troupe of acrobats who thrilled the large crowd with their amazing feats.

But what happened to the beautifully renovated 1941 RUBY Ford truck that has pulled the GUV Boat over the last two years? Another disappointment. When I contacted the owner he said he had not been asked this year. Nor had he ever been thanked.

In case you missed the story of RUBY I make no apologies for republishing it.

My Truck My Treasure

Garry Phillips

Garry's RUBY truckAs I travelled to and from work each day 2009 right through 2010 I would pass this very old or I might say ancient truck just sitting like a wreck in someone’s property in a garage (I might add) in the Swamp Area of George Town. It really caught my eye and I began to get interested in what I was seeing. I found out who the owner was and realized I vaguely knew him.

Shortly after spotting the truck, and by a stroke of luck, the owner came in to my father’s Phillips Electrical shop on Shedden Road where I also work. I decided to question him if he was interested in selling the said truck. The owner said “yes,” kind of hesitatingly, but added, “Make me an offer and I’ll think about it”.

Pirates 13So, I made an offer and after about three weeks later the owner contacted me inquiring if I had checked out the truck? I told him “no”. A large watchdog was tied to it! I told him I would soon get around to doing so.

Two weeks later the owner came in to the shop again and asked if I had checked on the truck and whether I wanted to make an offer for purchasing it. Right at that moment I made an offer and it was accepted. After waiting for that scary dog to be untied from my newly acquired vehicle I hitched it up to my own truck, including the watchdog’s chain. This was a bonus I guess! The dog’s name was Brandy, by the way, and he watched me drive off with a very puzzled look. I proceeded to drive real slow and towed my “antique” to my home in Pease Bay. There I parked my purchase under the cool shade of a tree where it would wait before Pirates 26webI would commence to work on it.

The truck sat there for over a year before my friend Billy offered to help me and we decided to take on this humungous job of restoring my truck that turned out to be a 1941 Ford. We spent some time to make sure we had the right tools before starting. It meant taking parts off and replacing them, getting rid of rust and buying a little bit of this and a little bit of that as replacement parts, etc.

After many months of work, including many evenings of scrubbing rust and grease off our bodies we had a great feeling of satisfaction that we were getting somewhere. We were progressing in what I had set out to do – restore this 1941 heap of rusting metal to a brand IMG_002 pirnew, good looking antique truck!

By now I was really getting excited as I could see my antique coming back to life and my dream coming true as well. But now there was a lot of work involved in the restoration of its original engine. I had to replace a lot of parts but I was lucky enough to find them locally. The whole back had to come off and be replaced with plywood (like you see in the old time movies). My friend Billy was my carpenter and he was also quite expert in helping me with the engine parts, etc.

IMG_0001 pirBy November 2010 the truck was passed as being road worthy and it was entered in the Pirates Week Parade with full insurance coverage but not licensed. Perhaps that was why the truck was escorted by the police! Unknown to many, including most of the Pirates Week officials, my truck headed up the parade in front of the Pirate “Guv Boat”. My mother had received many calls Pirates 17webfrom them asking what it was doing out of its assigned spot which was near the rear of the parade. She didn’t even know and she had entered the truck for me!

I gave Billy the honour of driving it and he proudly started it and off it went with Mom and the “Siren” dancers from the Pirates Week landing riding and waving to the large crowd in the back. What a thrill my Mom had. She said it took her back in time. My 1941 truck had been hitched up to the “Guv Boat” towing it complete with the Governor and his assistants – how about that!!

I had had the truck painted a very bright blue with a white trim. This was a professional job done by a gentleman by the name of ‘Baby’ (smile). The paint job was superbly done.

A gentleman named Elvis Green expertly carried out the truck’s upholstery.

Shortly after, I had the truck licensed with ordinary plates but within a few weeks I decided I wanted to have special license plates for this born again “baby.” I went to the Licensing Department and ordered what I thought my blue baby deserved. I named it “RUBY” after a very nice bartender I had met at the “Brick House,” a restaurant in Grand Harbour. She was always so kind to me and nice to every one. She was thrilled when I told her I was going to name my truck after her. So, after forking out CI$300, I got my new license plates. My new antique Ford truck travels around with plates that read  “1941 RUBY”. I added the year as an afterthought.

I must say, it was a task but, it was worth it.  She’s a real gem and worth every dollar I spent on her. I love working with engines, I love getting my hands greasy and I appreciate the guys for helping my dream come true.  Billy and I are really proud of the effort and time we put into restoring Miss 1941 RUBY.

Garry Phillips

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Carol-Ann Rudy says

    A delightful story about RUBY the truck, and I’m happy to hear the fireworks had a finale fit for the occasion, but sad that a grand old tradition of the capture of the governor by a pirate band has not been included. It was indeed the focal point of the celebration; will it be back next year? Let’s hope so.

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