St. Maarten/St. Martin’s Royal Gem

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Cha Jones, January 2014

Destiny has its way of directing me where I need to be. On my recent trip to St. Maarten I came across a Destination magazine and began flipping through pages where I was introduced to one Ruby Bute. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I knew I had to find her, and find her, I did.

My friends and I arrived in Friar’s Bay, St. Martin on the French side of the island where street signs directed us to the world renowned artist, poet and storyteller Lady Ruby Bute. When saying her name to the taxi driver Mr. Ash, he immediately begins speaking of her with such delight. You get the sense that she is a gem to know and Caribbean royalty.

Lady Ruby is welcoming. The moment we walk into the gallery I felt like I was a home. The gallery is filled with beautiful paintings full of color that dance with imaginary. She is finishing a class with some students from Semester at Sea who found her while exploring the island on their cultural excursion.  While offering her closing remarks she steps outside on the porch and all the students and faculty surround the steps as if they are going to be listening to a dignitary. With the joy of a child she begins to spout wisdom and express her gratitude for them having class with her on this beautiful sunny day. I later find out that the class wasn't at all scheduled, but you get the sense that Lady Ruby is a free spirit and goes with the flow. As they prepare to depart, she gives them some final words and then teaching them a few words in her native Aruba dialect.

She is an Aruba born creative artist and humble as pie. At first glance she reminds me of what we African American’s call our grandmothers, Big Momma, which in many cases, are larger than life wise women who pillow you with love and guide you with ancient wisdom.  Her Caribbean accent is thick but sings with a soulfulness that makes me feel like I too should be from an island.  You can tell that age and wisdom sit with her, but when speaking with this wise elder I know that she still has the youthfulness of a child that wakes her with excitement. She is in love with life and I feel it as her words greet me.

This is an impromptu visit prompted by a magazine find that I couldn't be denied, and within a few moments I’m asking permission to interview her for my blog. Without hesitation she agrees and it is like sitting with an old friend catching up on old times.

Interview Next Post

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