I saw him perform at a beach party in Jamaica when I was 19 and had no idea who he was. I’m not proud of the fact that I wasn’t familiar with his legendary music, but I really was just a naïve kid back then. What upsets me more is that I didn’t realize what I was witnessing, so I didn’t really appreciate it.
My visit to Jamaica happened right after a political uprising and most other travelers canceled their plans due to safety concerns. After deciding to take our chances and visit anyway, my friend and I arrived in Montego Bay only to discover we were one of four couples saying at the resort. Did we make the right decision, we wondered?
Our fears quickly diminished when we realized that a Jamaica free of too many tourists was quite enjoyable. Aside from soldiers patrolling the beach with machine guns – something you don’t see at the Jersey Shore – the people were wonderful and the resort manager treated the eight of us like we were his private guests.
On our last night, the manager invited us to a pig roast on the beach that was hosted by some locals, and lo and behold, Mr. Marley provided the entertainment. We drank too much that night and danced around the beach bonfire to this magical music they called reggae, and I became an instant fan. Sadly, about a year later, I heard that Bob Marley had died.
Thank you, Mr. Marley for teaching this naïve kid who you were and how you attempted to change the world with your wonderful music.