Tears and Laughter: The warmth of the Caribbean in the heart of Frisco City 

Like in many small downtown areas, some of the buildings still standing are dilapidated. Little, if any, of what remains is what it was originally. Most of what is left is a faded shadow of what used to be, only a hint of a reminder, for those who can remember. 

After the hardware store on the corner closes for the day, along with the furniture store, and the indoor flea market across the street, the only bright spot glowing in downtown Frisco City is the Tropical Breeze Caribbean Restaurant. 

I had noticed the sign on the outskirts of town. The palm tree caught my eye. The word Caribbean did not. I only noticed it after finding the menu online, and I will admit that I did wonder at the time if there had been an increase in demand for Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisine in Frisco City. I reminded everyone, as we parked out front, that they also served American Classics. 

There were no other cars on the street. Through the windows I could see there were no other customers at any of the tables. For a moment, I questioned if it was open, but the sign on the door said it was…until 9:00 pm. 

My internal GPS turned on. I was five miles from Monroeville. I could be at Wind Creek in 20 minutes. But I could see a child behind the counter, and his mama was working to and fro behind him. I turned off the car. 

Inside there were more palm trees, a Puerto Rican flag, and Bob Marley was singing on a big screen above the door. 

She told me her name twice, in the process of having me try samples of traditional Caribbean dishes, but I did not retain it. She had a bright smile and a warm demeanor, but an unusual name. I would not ask her to repeat it again. 

She told me nobody ever visits the Caribbean and complains about the food. I could have probably said the same about the South, but I didn’t. Writer Eugene Walter always said parts of south Alabama were closer to the Caribbean than Montgomery. But I didn’t tell her that either. 

She mentioned she was from New York, Long Island specifically, and then I asked what made her choose, from all of the places in the world, to move to the lovely town of Frisco City. 

She said it was because of her husband. That to begin with she was not in favor of the move. She told him she wasn’t moving. But they had lost a child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and after that he felt like she needed to be near her mother, and that her mother probably needed to be near her too.  

She credits God’s provision for everything falling in place as it did to allow for the move. 

We talked for a while about our kids, about being mothers, cooking, and the local school systems. Before leaving, I asked her what she thinks of Alabama so far. Without hesitation she said she loves Alabama. And then she laughed a happy laugh and added, “I just can’t handle all this fried food!” 

I laughed too. I don’t know that I had ever heard that about Alabama. But I’ve certainly heard much worse. Next time…I’m going to catch her name.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist