rR 14 1985
ONE-MINUTE SPOT FOR THE STORE (Draft One)
Narrator: The store you are standing in is called a tienda. Two hundred and fifty
years ago there were ten or twelve tiendas in St. Augustine, specializing in imports.
Voice 1: Years ago we got our salt pork, flour and three-cornered hats from places
of Christians where Spanish is spoken. Now we are dependent on our very enemies to
bring us the provisions we require, and in the stores nothing but English goods are
Narrator: In the tienda no fresh foods are for sale, only things that will keep in
storage such as rice, garbanzos, salted codfish, wine, flour and boxes of preserves.
For other things the housewife goes every morning after Mass to the market, where
Indians and free Blacks sit on mats under their bright canvas awnings to sell local
things like medicinal herbs, pumpkins, dried corn and live chickens, along with
handmade pottery, baskets, wooden spoons, saddles, and furs. At other places in
town she can find fresh bread, fish, and now and then beef.
Voice 2: They say the real owner of this tienda is a gentleman, maybe even the
governor, and he is the one who gets the profits while his servant here measures out
the cloth. The city officials come round every month to post new prices and to see
that weights and measures are honest. They have to inspect the boxes and barrels
on board ship, too, and make sure nothing is delivered here already spoiled.
Voice 1: You can bet they don't mind the wine tasting. There are forty taverns in
town and they go around to every one.
Narrator: On a peg in the wall you can see the storekeeper's accounts, hanging by
a red tape passed through one hole. People usually run up a bill and settle it on
payday, or else they get along by barter. There is very little money in circulation.
Coins from anywhere are welcome, and the storekeeper has to have a good head for
figures to keep them all straight.
Voice 2: We don't have any small coins, is the trouble. The soldiers chop up their
silver pesos into eight pieces, or bits, and they don't always get them the same size.
The only way to know how much silver you have is to weigh it.
Narrator: St. Augustine would have more tiendas if it weren't for the royal warehouse,
where the rations for the soldiers and the convicts and the King's slaves are stored,
along with the blankets and shoes and clothes that will be issued to them--
Voice 1: And the soap and candles and writing paper for the Franciscans--
Voice 2: And the iron pots and glass beads for the Indians--
Voice 1: The Indians are our friends only for what they can get out of us. That's
why they've been going over to the English in Carolina, to get rifles and hunting
shirts and rum, and paint for their heathen faces.
Narrator: Even in wartime this store will have English goods on its shelves, for
when the Spanish corsairs go out and capture an English ship, they bring her cargo
into this port. People are wondering when the English are going to decide they're
going to come here and set up shops of their own.