We passed by the uniformed officer who told us we couldn’t park in the usual parking lot for church.  Having seen a few uniformed policemen gathering on a nearby street and the pounding of practicing drums, I figured there was a parade of some sort planned for that Sunday. And that was the last I thought of it … until I heard the bang.

In the bliss of my family’s first visit to Tobago, we attended church in the tiny LDS  meetinghouse. My mother sat next to the open window, my father next to her, then me, and then my fiancé, Tony. The room only accommodated about eight rows with four seats across.

While we were engrossed in the message of one of the congregation’s members speaking at the pulpit, our hearts stopped and our ears exploded with the sound of detonated dynamite.

Yes … dynamite.

Even better … dynamite blasted a mere 20 feet away. I could have spit and hit the hat of the detonating officer.

The explosion rocked our building and every bottom of every church attendee was in midair for a second. After the initial shock and swiveling heads, we all recovered, our heartbeats returned to normal rhythms, and our attention back to the person at the pulpit.


Yes … again! (And thankfully the last time, though we were all preparing for a third jump.)

So this is my gripe.  The building in which we were sitting was the only building for three blocks that had anyone inside. With windows open and people speaking, it was obvious to anyone walking by that a group was meeting.  The tent with the detonator and the dynamite was in our parking lot (set up after church services began). The men couldn’t take one minute to walk twenty steps to the meetinghouse doors to notify us of, not one, but two impended shocking noises?

I felt a clear disregard on behalf of the soldiers for me and my welfare of those around me. Fortunately, there was no one with heart problems or terrified children in the building. This was a great example of a “What Not to Do.” Good manners and decent behavior would motivate a quick heads-up to those who may be affected.

Cotton tip: If you know something shocking is about to happen (and you can do so) give any affected party a polite heads-up. Simple stuff.