Tuesday, June 8, 2010

As our adventure comes to an end I find myself trying to summarize the lessons I have learned and somehow find a way to bring the changes and growth forward into my everyday life.

I have learned that everyone needs a certain amount of daily silence in their life with no distractions once so ever and I find that we do everything we can to fill every waking moment with errands, motion, chatter, computers, cell phones, blackberries, television, radio whatever back ground noise we can as if we are afraid to listen to our own voice which tends to only visit in silence. I will try my best to find those few minutes every day to listen to my heart.

I know now that one must lose themselves completely to find themselves (which I have done several times on this journey ).

I know after living with very little space and material things that somehow I long for more simplicity in my life and less stuff….

I have learned with my spouse that communication becomes communion and that has taken our relationship to a whole new level.

I want to be at peace with myself and the things I cannot control.

My travels have brought me into contact with people that I may normally not have socialized with because of our differences. I will try to connect with new people and be open to what message they may have to offer.

I believe there are no such things as coincidences and that the people I have met and the lessons I have learned have been sent to me directly.

I definitely have a new found connection to nature and the outdoors; although I think this was always there, but to spend most of our time outside everyday for the last 6 months in all different kinds of weather has really made me appreciate the beauty of our planet that I sometimes take for granted. I read this great story about a 75 year old lady that still body surfs everyday in San Francisco with no wetsuit..now that is crazy…she says the secret to being happy is to get close to the earth and I believe her. I will try to maintain this attachment I have made with nature. I will try to spend a bit of time outdoors every day…even if it is to just gaze at the stars in the evening on our deck and let them fill me .

I will try to lose myself in my every day chores the way I have during this time off. I hope to find myself whistling and singing as I go about my chores and not see them as just another task I have to complete. Also I hope to let go of the nagging sense that stuff must be done right now when I really want to spend that time doing something fun with Bill or a friend.

I noticed during our time off that when people are on vacation they are always smiling and friendly to strangers and greet you with a warm hello… why can’t we maintain this attitude and openness in everyday life.....we can if we try right?

I want to show gratitude daily by speaking it. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well (Voltaire)

Stop multitasking ---as it is a sign of not being present to the moment.

I want to be a friend that knows how to listen completely.

I want to take my challenges and use them as an opportunity to learn and grow...you gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. Do the thing you think you can not do (Eleanor Roosevelt)..I do this every time I get in the water...hehe..

I think back to one night in Hatteras when I was talking with Lucky Luc (our friend from Montreal who has been on the road for 3 years now in his small motor home) and asked him if he really believed Bill and I would have done this trip had we not been surrounded by adventurous friends and he placed his hands on his heart and answered me in his thick French accent “yes…it was always in here…this adventure….it is just the beginning for you my friend…”


Great visit!!
Thanks for the visit Rod, Ali, Rory & Taryn
Thanks for the visit Jane, Nolan, Keenan & Ethan
It was so nice of you all to make the drive!!
I have some great shots of the twins, but unfortunately I can't share them as they are all nudies from their dip in the pool...hehe...
June 3, 2010
We started our journey home today.
I did one last run with Janice and we talked about our adventures together and how much we are going to miss each other. It is never easy to say good-bye to the EVAN’S…but away we go………
We decided to drive through Lake George, Keane (you are right Jon..very cool place) and Lake Placid. We decided to spend the night in Lake Placid and walk around the little village. It was very beautiful and definitely makes our list

June 4, 2010
We arrived in Picton at Auntie G’s around noon. Rod, Ali and the twins were there to meet us.. Rory and Taryn. It was so great to finally meet the twins!! Jane brought over Nolan, Keenan and the new baby Ethan which was so nice!! We had a great dinner together and bonfire. It felt really good to be with family, but it also made me even more anxious to see my parents….

June 5, 2010
We got up and had coffee with everyone and headed out. We stopped in Stirling to visit with Dean and the kids ….. Just long enough for Nolan to show Bill his moves on the Wii..
We headed to Toronto to see Bill’s dad who is the Toronto General Hospital. We had a nice surprise as Andrea and the boys were at Kevin’s. Adam has become a real teenager with a very deep voice….and Alex is sporting a new cool hair cut. We had a nice evening together and dinner downtown Toronto. It was great to all be together and to see that Bill’s dad is on the mend.

June 6, 2010(later in the day)
We made it home………………yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was late afternoon when we pulled in and we were greeted by Sonya and her mom Patti who held up a banner saying “welcome home Bill & Deb” and all the kids on the Street had signed it…..How sweet is that!!! We hung out on the Street for a couple hours getting caught up with all the kids…looking at x-rays from broken elbows, reading report cards, hearing about hockey and track meets. It felt good to be home.
I finally got my moms cell phone to ring in Temagami and she was quite surprised we were already home. She had been trying to call us, but our cell phone stopped working when we crossed the border into Canada. She told me she would be home in the morning and that we could have lunch together….but being an only child I said to Bill…..”they will be home within the next hour and a half” and sure enough the phone rang and they were home. We ran over there and it was so GREAT to see them!!! I think Bill and I chatted non-stop for 2 hours…kept them up passed their bedtime that is for sure…

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Show me how Uncle Billy.....
Thanks Auntie Janice for the slip & slide!!
Ok….I knew it was going to happen sooner or later….I am homesick..

It came without warning and hit me like a ton of bricks with this physical pain and pressure in my chest that just won’t lift. I am very torn as I miss my family and friends terribly, but at the same time I am having so much fun with my friends here and I am surrounded by such beauty that part of me wants to stay. Janice said at dinner last night “I am so glad you are still here Deb it is like having a sister here!”
We have done so much together. We have enjoyed boat rides and beach time. We have visited with other friends and enjoyed meals together. We have walked together, ran together, had some shopping therapy together (I have my best shops with Janice and always feel completely giddy when we are done)…we have cleaned out closets (and I thought I had a lot of shoes…OMG) , we have watched girl movies, shared secrets and watched our guys with amazement as they buzz about and bring this energy into the house that sometimes is too much for us…
Bill and I just can’t imagine our lives without the Evans in it!!!
I have tried to keep myself busy this week with lots of walks and runs, but I am beginning to realize it is not something I can outrun. It is time to go home. …
Bill and I can’t believe the time is coming to an end, but we both agree that we are ready to make our way home and we will both be happy to return to our jobs. We are so lucky to be surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and bosses who understand our passion and wished us nothing but the best on this adventure.

We did not choose these friends that fill our life….life chose them for us….what a gift!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

I have now read the book Gifts from the Sea for the 3rd time on this trip...

Not only was Anne Morrow Lindbergh the first woman in America to earn a first-class glider pilot’s license in 1930, and the first woman ever to win the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal, in 1934, for her aviation and exploration adventures….she knew a thing or two about love….even if her book Gifts from the Sea was written over 50 years ago….I just can’t believe I can read this book over and over and always come away with a different message depending on where I am in my life at the time... .
***When the heart is flooded with love there is no room in it for fear, for doubt, for hesitation and it is this lack of fear that makes for the dance. When each partner loves so completely that he has forgotten to ask himself whether or not he is loved in return. When he only knows that he loves and is moving to its music….then and only then are 2 people able to dance perfectly in tune to the same rhythm. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh).

I remember one of the great Florida girl trips with my Auntie’s….sitting around discussing love and marriage …Auntie Ger told me you can fall in love over and over with the same person… I didn’t understand what she was trying to explain to me, but I totally get it now….
PS Hope that is not too much sharing Auntie B……I just can’t help it…

Deb & Amy enjoying a boat ride.

Deb & Amy

Oscar driving the MoJo..

Oscar on the MoJo!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dinner with Jim and Karen
Fish tacos were Awesome!!!

Back with my little friend Nimbus!

Jimbo took Bill out on the fishing boat and put him to work...
Bill didn't know there was a 4:00am.....

Jimbo on the fishing boat!

We had the entire outdoor area to ourselves at the Chatham Bars Inn (which made the top 1000 places to see before you die...book)

Janice at the Chatham Bars Inn spa!!

(dreaming about Edward).....

Finally found a stylist who could fit me in....went to Provincetown ....Great place...

Had my hair done by a young metrosexual who was definately prettier than me....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More one page back also...

Thank you for the Great weekend guys!!!

Can anyone guess what movie was filmed here in 1975?? Does it look familiar? (thriller)....

How come I am carrying the big pack??

We had to stop at John Belushi's grave..

Janice and I on the ferry ride over to the Vineyard..
May 21-23
Yeah!!!! We finally made it to Martha's Vineyard and you would not believe the magical place we stayed at. Jerry's BF from High School Chris & Elaine's place...who just happen to be the superintendent of the Long Point Wildlife Refuge which means we had 600 acres to ourselves with an incredible view with total privacy....(our own paradise).

We caught the ferry over Friday morning and headed right for Elaine's incredible downtown store called The Green Room. She is an incredible buyer and her clothes and shoes were just to die for...which I plan on returning to when I have an income...hehe...We just hung out the first night and enjoyed their place...

Janice and Jerry were great tour guides...They drove us all around the Island on Saturday afternoon. We got to see Vineyard Haven, Menemsha, Oak Bluffs, Gay Head and Edgartown....Can't believe we fit that all in...Then we had a great dinner and evening together.

Made it back to Chatham shortly after noon on Sunday.

Hope everyone had a great long weekend!! Next weekend is the US holiday. Our friends Jon, Maria, the Big O and Willa are coming from Vermont...yeah.....


Just a little yacht...in Newport...

One of the mansions in Newport...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

See next page for May 15-18

Ran into Cindi Lauper in Central Park. We got a few shots fired before her assistant asked us to stop...

Statue of Liberty from the Ferry

It was very pretty from the Ferry

Wall Alley...

Doesn't this look like a relaxing Sunday afternoon?
Imagine if this was your only green space!

I love New York!
May 18, 2010
We got up this morningand did the cliff walk in Newport and had a look at the mansions along the water...wow!! Now I know the difference between old money and new money...I think I like the old money better...
We also asked if we could walk around the Shipyard and watch them work on the boats..yachts. The boats were so beautiful and we even saw a guy scuba diving with two sponges scrubbing the bottom of the boats. The boats in this yard were immaculate. I have never seen anything like it. The crew members were all dressed the same and working hard.
We made it out to the Cape early afternoon.
It is great to be back with the Evan's again...Bill and Jerry did their thing and Janice and I watched New Moon together. I have decided Janice can have Edward if I can have Jacob.

May 17, 2010
We decided to try the ferry this morning as it picks up right outside our door. It was a good choice as you got to see more than on the subway. We both really enjoyed the short ride and the views were pretty incredible. We visited the World Trade Centre site which was bustling with construction. There was a big fence around the site, but you could peek in at a few spots. You can really feel the emptiness. There was a constant buzz of work going on in this entire area.
We made our way down Wall Street which we have decided should be called Wall Alley as that is what it looks like. People were rushing around looking completely stressed out. I saw a ton of young men pacing outside the financial buildings chain smoking...looks like fun...Is this what success is supposed to look like?? Scary thought...
We got back to the trailer around 12:30 and decided we were going to head on our of the city while the traffic seemed ok. We made our way over the George Washington Bridge..enjoyed the views and headed through the Bronx with no wrong turns. Whew...We drove until early evening and made it to Newport Rhode Island.

May 16, 2010
Headed for Jersey City for the RV park. We arrived shortly after noon with no mishaps. The RV park was bascially a parking lot which was fine with us. You could see the back of the Statue of Liberty which was very cool. You could also see the huge buildings across the river. We made our way downtown and we saw the Empire State Building, Madison Square Gardens, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Center, the Fashion District and we walked thru a large part of Central Park. Shortly after entering Central Park we ran into Cindy Lauper...Bill snapped a few shots of her and then took out the mondo lens at which point she put up her hand and one of her assistants asked that everyone stop taking photos for awhile.
We sure did manage to see a lot in one afternoon. It made me think of our Godson Nolan who asked us before we left for this adventure if we were going on the amazing race...some days it sure does feel like it.
We ate dinner at a little outdoor cafe in Jersey City.

May 15, 2010
We began our adventure to New York City. We blew thru North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Several campers had told us to check out Killen's Pond State Park in Delaware. We stopped there to spend the night and found out if was nascar weekend. The park ranger told us to justkeep driving at least another hour or so to get out of the traffic and that it ws going to be a loud party, beer drinking weekend. I probably have a few Uncle's and Cousins that would have loved it in Dover.
We are beginning to wonder...National jeep week in Moab, Land Rover convention in Hatteras and Nascar weekend in Delaware..Hmm....
We spent the night in New Jersey at a Flying J's truck stop...the lady working the front counter gave us a free movie for the night....Sherlock Holmes...We both really enjoyed it...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 14, 2010
Our last day in Hatteras.
We arrived on the island April 6 and this has been the best Hatteras weather we have ever experienced in all our years of coming here. We had a few thunderstorms during the night, only had 1 day of rain and a few cloudy days. The temperatures have been in the high 60s to the mid 80s. The wind gods have been good to Bill. He has been in the water 37 out of 38 days....(the missing day when I dragged him to Ocracoke)....I think this quote I read somewhere on my travels rings true to our days on the island....

One perfect day can give clues to a more perfect life....

This is so true. You know when you have those days that are just so perfect you don't want them to end....Everything just feels right. The weather is sunny and warms your heart. The beaches are virtually empty with the exception of a few fishermen. There are miles of golden sandy beaches to be walked and plenty of shells to pick. The wind is blowing out of the Southwest (good direction for Bill) and the sounds is full of colorful sails and kites swirling in the air. The people you come in contact with all smile and invite conversation. Our last sunset is pleasing, the evening sky is clear and the stars are magical.
I give thanks for our lengthy stay on the island and look out to the stars to make wishes for both family and friends (maybe 1 for myself too).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hatteras weather is so spectacular...

A little different experience in a house than in our tent days...

The lighthouse

wild pony..notice the dip in the back...they have less vertebrae
May 11, 2010
We went to Ockracoke today with Agnes and Gerry. I have only been coming to Hatteras for 20 years?? Don’t know why we have never taken the time to do this before. We caught the 9:00am ferry and toured the little island for most of the afternoon.
We stopped and checked out the wild ponies which there are many theories about how they arrived on the island. I agree with the whole ship wreck idea. They have very distinct characteristics. They have a unique shape & posture. We also did a short hike (Bill saw the snake this time). We checked out a few of the shops and art galleries. We visited the 2nd oldest lighthouse in the nation (1823) and it is still in operation and its beam can be seen 14 miles out to see. I enjoy reading about blackbeard the pirate who was captured near Ocracoke in 1718.
We visited the British Cemetery and had an interesting experience there. On May 11, 1942….40 miles south of Ocracoke a German submarine torpedoed and sank the British vessel HMS Bedforshire. The 170 foot ship was one of 24 antisubmarine ships loaned to the United States by Winston Churchill. The entire crew of four officers and 33 crewmen drowned. US Coast Guard officers found four of the bodies washed ashore three days later. The soliders were buried here and the Coast Guard still maintains the grave sites and flies a British flag over the graves . Agnes and I thought it was special that we visited the gravesite on the Anniversary..

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I sit out on the deck and feel the warmth of the late day sun and escape into the writings of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book and relate to her description of the channeled whelk (shell) and the choice between simplicity and complication of life and agree with her that for the most part people choose complication. But if one accidently finds simplicity as I feel we have with our time in the small confines of the trailer, one finds serenity and a sense of peace of which I have never known… with all the distractions at home….always searching for the perfect balance between work, family, time for myself, exercise, errands.
She mentions that one collects material possessions not only for security, comfort or vanity, but for beauty as well. (in my case…shoes and handbags…hehe). After reading this chapter I have decided I need to find the perfect beach reminder to keep my life simplified.
She describes in this chapter the art of shedding. How little one can get along with, not how much. I think Bill and I can attest to this. As we didn’t bring much in the way of clothing or material possessions and I find myself clinging to little things the way the Street people I saw in California hung on to their shopping cart full of their life’s possessions. Probably the most precious things I look at every day are the photos of the children in our life that I have hanging all over the trailer (Nico, Payton, Mariah, Cole, Connor, Gabrielle), keepsakes that friends gave me before I left on this journey and my books/journal . We have the sporting equipment which is really our only form of entertainment as we have no television or electronics (most of the time) other than this brief stay in the beach house at which time my husband has become obsessed with wii and x box games that him and the other grown men play every night.
Someone asked Bill the other day what he had in the big van and he answered “everything I need to be happy and live my life are in this van” (hopefully I was inside at the time).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our Recent Up-grade…
We decided to go and check up on our friends from North Bay who rented a Beach House in Salvo. We pulled up in our trailer beside the massive wood shingled house and headed up the 3 flights of stairs to knock on the door. They invited us in and Bill sailed with them all afternoon. That evening while we were deciding which campground we should go to and where we should stay, they invited us into their house and their lives….
What a beautiful house. It is like a mini vacation for us. We have our own bedroom, bathroom, TV, games room, elevator (to carry all the groceries up), pool, hot tub and an incredibly beautiful top floor that overlooks the water where we can enjoy dinners at the large table and watch the sunset, or hang out in our bedroom with the patio doors open and feel the breeze come in. We also have a wrap around covered deck and a nice swing outside our bedroom. There are plenty of places to tuck yourself away and read or enjoy some quiet time, but my favorite spot is the….
Internet CafĂ© Corner…
This is where the girls meet after dinner for our discussions and nurturing time and a little nail painting too. Some of the girls putter at their crafts while they share. We talk about family, children, our losses, things that make us happy, things that make us cry, things we need to work on. There is laugher, tears & joy…
We walk together each morning and collect shells and explore everything else that washes up on shore with interest. We talk about our dreams. We do little day trips together and drive with the windows down and let our hair fly in the wind. We shop together, help each other pick out treasures and giggle like school girls. We explore new little quaint towns…stop for lunch and little cafes along the way and take our time knowing the guys are back windsurfing and happy. Each day is ended with “that was fun…what a great day!”
***Nuture (verb) 1.care for and encourage the growth or development of.2.cherish(a hope, belief, or ambition). (noun)1. The process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something. Definition By Mary Anne Radmacher.

Friday, May 7, 2010

As Janice left Hatteras she asked me what I was going to do with my blog and I said “well because we are just staying in the same spot, doing the same thing I have run out of things to say” and she said “why don’t you write more about yourself and what you are experiencing?.”
I was really nervous at first to attempt this and then I started thinking back to high school when my English/ Creative Writing teacher Mr.Southcott presented me with a journal one day at the end of class after grading a story I had handed in about my dad. He wrote in the inside of the journal to never stop writing. Unfortunately this journal and story were lost or misplaced in one of our moves, but I never forgot that he took the time to go out and purchase me the journal and from that day forward I was addicted to journaling and always write at the end of the day (sometimes on my cheque book or receipts or anything I can get my hands on if my journal is not handy.)
I was always worried about my spelling and grammer in his class and thought for sure I would fail…but he taught me as long as your stories are coming from the heart nothing else matters.
So after Janice left for home I started thinking about what she said and then my writing voices started …stories started swirling through my head….when I am out walking, when we are driving, or worst of all when I lay down at night…the stories all intertwine and wake me up from a deep sleep to be sure I have not missed a minute of the gifts that have been sent to me on this journey.
People keep asking me “how is your vacation? Or when does your vacation end?
When I refer to this as a vacation to Bill…..he always answers me with “Deb this is not a vacation this is our life”….It is like the world is my classroom right now and I don’t want to miss one lesson!
Please bear with me as I share my lessons and silly stories!!
Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement Janice!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bob & Joan Young
Their story….
One of Joan’s best friends excitedly asked her one day if she wanted to go see a Nat King Cole as she had just been given 4 tickets. Her friend was going out with a marine and asked Joan if she would be interested in going on a blind date with one of his marine friends.
And so beings the story of Bob and Joan. They were married 2 ½ months later. Joan’s father said to her “you feathered your nest now go and sit in it”…and so she has for the past 53 years. 4 children and many grandchildren later they continue to inspire us with their adventure for life (into their mid 70s).
We have shared many evenings by the fire star gazing together over the past decade, we have shared stories and photos of different hikes and vacations we have taken without each other and created this tradition of sharing.
When we finally said goodbye (after much standing around and not wanting to leave them)…we gave hugs and made plans for next year…Bob said to us “you know we only come this time of year to be with the Evans and the Reid’s, so whatever dates you pick we will be here”. Bob says he thinks he will head home tomorrow as there is nobody left to sail with…so for him too it is not just about the sailing, but the chasing each other down and the tales to share at the end of the day…
Bob looks into Bills eyes and says “I think I will come see where you live this Fall and maybe go out on a houseboat….(long pause) as long as it doesn’t interfere with my football refereeing” …we would so love that!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I have been thinking a lot about the friendships I have in my life and how I have many different kinds of friends that offer many different kinds of joy. I have friends at work, friends with similar interests, friends of different ages, friends in the family, travel friends and friends I may have only met once, but that touched my life more than some people I have known for my entire life. Each friend has definitely left some kind of mark on my heart and when I read this story yesterday I knew I wanted to share it with you… ….
Riding the bus can be such a vibrant experience with so much to see. Every street is a different snapshot of events and life.
Once, when I was a few seats back from the bus driver, an elderly gentleman stepped on, paid his fare, and sat in one of the first seats. At first glance I thought he must be hot, wearing a long-sleeved shirt on such a warm day. But as my eyes focused on the images, I realized he actually had a sleeveless shirt on, and his arms and sternum were covered with tattoos.
A youngster sat across the aisle from him and had the audacity—for which I was longing—to ask him, “Mister, what’s that you got all over you?”
He laughed. His answer was kind and rehearsed. Perhaps he had stopped counting the number of times he had been asked this question. “Well, you are pretty young, but I know you got friends.” The youngster readily agreed. “And maybe one of those friends you had moved away or went to a different school or something, and you might have said to them you would never forget them. You’d always remember them. You ever done that?”
Again, participative agreement from that youngster. Me too. “Here’s the thing with me. When I was just a little older than you, I decided when I really wanted to remember a friend of mine, somebody that I was powerfully connected to….I’d just wear ‘em. Right on my skin. Then for sure they’d be with me wherever I went, and no way could I forget them. They’re on my skin.”
Sure enough, I wasn’t the only passenger enthralled by the story. Several heads were leaned forward for a closer look. Lots of different styles. But every tattoo was the name, mostly first names, of someone with whom this man had a connection in his life. Accommodatingly, he held his arm out in front of him so anybody that wanted to could get a better look.
He turned his forearm over and pointed out a name, saying “this ‘n here. My first. I was just a bit older’n you. He ain’t here no more. I mean, not living anymore. But he lives with me as long as I’m walking. At least.”
The bell drew a number of us back to our place in the world. The man with the names tattooed drew up the satchel he had at his feet and said, “gotta go. Thanks for asking. Remember your friends.”
My stop was just a few blocks later. My head was full. As a lettering artist, I found that the many different styles with which that man had decorated himself were writing themselves into my thoughts. Bold. Playful. Stately. Elaborate. I knew without having to ask that the man chose a style that suited the connection he was memorializing.
Not given to tattoo work for myself, yet taken with the intent, I wondered how I might remember this man’s efforts in my own life. With my own connections. So much buzz happens around the importance of networking and creating connections. There are ways we indelibly write our names on others without a literal mark. And they on us.
That day I made connections by not averting my eyes or attention from a youngster and an old man. I do not know their names. I do not know where they live or if they still live. But I am connected to them in an indelible way. (Written by Mary Anne Radmacher)

**I guess what I think about when I read this story is to not miss those tiny moments of sharing by the distraction of our own thoughts and concerns about the next event we are off to or things we have to stroke off our never ending list. …I want to share with you some of the new connections I have formed on this trip due to the fact that I have been given the gift of time and for once in my life I am not rushing on to the next activity, chore or distraction…..

Connect by definition (verb) 1.bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established. 2. Join together so as to provide access and communication. 3 associate or relate in some respect 4.think of as being linked or related 5.provide or have a link or relationship with 6.form a relationship or feel an affinity……

My connection with Betty….the cleaning lady……
I have been watching Betty clean and buzz around on the golf cart for many years around Frisco campground…I usually greet her with a smile and good morning as I make my way to the ladies room to brush my teeth and wipe the sleep out of my eyes….this year my encounter with Betty was different….One morning while washing my face I decided to tell her how sorry I was for the loss of Charlie as I knew she worked with him for many years….she said “I sure do miss him…..you know I was the one that found him”….She was a little teary as she recounted the events for me….”he must have been trying to light the tank in his trailer as he still had the matches in his hand…I am not too sure, but I think he might have spent the night outside on the ground”…I could feel her pain and spent a good deal of time with her in the bathroom trying to comfort her….she told me they had a big bonfire that night and told stories about Charlie as a way to ease their pain and celebrate his life….
A few days later I met Betty again and asked her how she came to work here at the campground and she told me she is retired from a good government job, but likes to keep busy….then she looks at me and says “I have had lots of loss in my life and I don’t like to have too much time to think…” She shared with me that she had lost 2 children, 1 grandchild and her husband…I had no idea….She said she thinks about maybe taking some time now for herself and that she thinks she is ready to move on…. Again…we spent several minutes(in the ladies room) sharing stories and tears…

The next morning I meet her again and she asks “when are you leaving?” I tell her in a couple of days…she looks at me and says in her Southern accent…”I am really going to miss seeing your pretty little face”…..and a connection is made….

Ester…..the story-teller…
I have seen Ester and Marty come here for several years. They are part of New Yorker gang (also known as the River Rats). We have greeted each other with hellos and how was your drive down?, or how was your Winter?….small talk….
I was walking through her campsite and she said “why don’t you sit down for a few minutes…” and offered me a chair. I was off to town to fit in a quick workout and pick up some groceries…but I thought…why not just sit for a few minutes….(hearing Bill’s voice echo in my head….you got some where to be….stop that….we have time to just sit…).
I sat down in the chair and looked into Esters blue lively-wise eyes and knew I was going to hear some stories. You can always hear Ester’s laugh through the campground so I knew she had a fantastic sense of humor.
I asked her “so your friends Larry and Freddie left today??? “She answers “Yes”. “Did I ever tell you the story about them? I love their story.” “No” I tell her. “Larry and Freddie had a love affair as young adults, but distance tore their relationship apart. They both married, but Freddie continued to keep in touch with Larry and his wife by sending them a Christmas card in the mail each year”….I am thinking back as she is talking to the very first time we met Larry and he came over to the campsite where our gang was all gathered and laughing and carrying on and he asked us to turn down our Reggae music and we all thought he was not a happy camper ….as she continues her story she tells me Larry lost his 16 year old daughter to cancer and then his wife to the same disease….oh my….I remember hearing about his wife, but had no idea they had lost their only child.
Turns out Freddie also lost her husband to cancer and was living in California when she got the call from Larry telling her he had lost his wife to cancer and so their friendship and love affair began again. Ester says to me….”Freddie is a very brave woman you know…..she left everything…her house, her friends…absolutely everything to go and be with Larry….and look at how happy they are.”
We had all witnessed the change in Larry from that first year we met him and I feel somewhat guilty knowing now what he must have been going through at that time. Being only in my late twenties when we first met I would probably not have understood the depth of his sorrow until now. I am so happy that he has found such a great partner to share his passions and life with. Thank you Freddie!
I ask Ester how long she has been married and she tells me 53 years. She says she met Marty in the 4th grade at a Catholic school wearing their little uniforms. She said her girlfriend ran up to her and said “have you seen the new boy Marty in 4C?” and the rest is history. I ask her about her kids as I knew some of them were runners etc….I was pretty sure she had 3 children after spending some time with her husband Marty last year who shared with me his passion for instructing disabled skiers in the winter. She says well.. actually we had 4 children. We also lost a child…I stumble over my words and am not too sure what to say….”oh I’m sorry… …..she answers…”honey….that was a long time ago”….but I still feel her pain.
She goes on to tell me she worked in school system for many years and was the lady that shock her finger at you if you were late and then gave you a hug and sent you off to class. I could so picture her doing just that. She said she still does some part time work and helps out Rocket Rick (another River Rat) with some kiosks he has at different malls. Her eyes light up when she speaks of Rick…..She says “you know Rocket Rick (50ish) has looked after both his parents right? I have never seen a child so devoted to his parents.” I have a flash back of seeing Rocket Rick many years ago in Bonaire and watching him guide his parents one at a time up to the little beach side restaurant to have lunch. He has since lost his dad, but continues to care for his mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. Ester tells me his mother is in a home just around the coroner from where she lives and that Rick goes to visit her pretty much every day….takes her for drives, reads to her etc….She says she remembers getting a call from Rick one day saying his mother was having a really good day and that Ester should come over quick to see her. She stops at this point and apologizes “sorry I can’t tell this story without crying every time”(never once during her own story telling did she cry for herself, but when she spoke of her friend and his devotion to his mother her tears flowed….connection) by the time Ester got there that day his mother was no longer having a good day and she was agitated and angry as many Alzheimers patients sometimes become and she was striking out with her fists at Rick and she said Rick was holding on to her hands and repeating softly to her over and over “I love you mom” “I love you mom”….and it just broke Esther’s heart. She says “I really hope Rick meets someone special…he deserves to.” “me too I answer.”
I enjoyed my afternoon visit with Esther and now have a better understanding and a glimpse into the lives of her dear friends (connections) who I have been seeing down here for years, but have never really got the chance to know intimately….Running to town no longer seems important and the sun is setting for another day.

I read in Mary Anne’s book that in Uganda when a friend stands in front of friend they have a saying which means I am the mirror of your heart…..I will try and reflect the best qualities my friends have shared with me and remind each of them of their greatness…
(I promise no tattoos mom…deb)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

We miss you already!!!!!!!!!!

Some of the gang..

John 77
Still windsurfing and a ski instructor!
Oscar with Amy!

Memorial for Charlie..
April 25, 2010
Happy Birthday Shannon!!!
Nance and I went for a walk towards the ocean and got caught in a rain storm. Bill came to our rescue. We did a little shopping today and I took Nancy to a pow-wow. We got invited into the circle and took part in a friendship dance…. it was cool. I love the drum music …we could hear it from our campsite.
Bill and I took Nancy out for a seafood diner for her last evening here. We got back early in time to see the sunset and have one last campfire together.
April 26, 2010
Drove Nancy back to the airport this morning. We left around 8:00 and I got back around 3:30. The GPS quit on me right after I dropped her off. I knew I was heading the wrong way, so I pulled off and restarted it and got back on track. I had to do that a couple of times on the way back…so frustrating.
I think Nancy really enjoyed her time here. Not exactly a 5 star resort, but she met some 5 star friends!
We all had a nice dinner together and everyone was happy after a great day of sailing.
We have missed you Kyle & Catrina!! I keep looking over at your spot expecting you to be there. I kept telling Bill on the way here that Kyle and I were going to celebrate our 40th together here as we missed Kyle’s party in Maine…..
April 27, 2010
Another great day of sailing!! A perfect last day for Janice & Jerry and Jon & Maria.
Sure is going to be quiet here tomorrow….Hard to watch everyone leave, but we will see Janice and Jerry in Cape Cod next month and I think Jon & Maria are going to be there for the long weekend in May. That will make us 3 for 3 Jon…March, April & May..
Great campfire…incredible moonlight….Oscar made everyone smores…He is just too cute!
April 28, 2010
Big storm last night….not much sleep…big wind, big thunder & lightening!!
Waved good bye to J&J from bed…brrr….helped Jon & Maria with Oscar and Willa, so they could pack up. Bill did pretty good with Willa…I was impressed…
Very windy again today and looks like it might stay that way for another week. The North Bay gang is coming to Rodanthe this weekend so we might spend another week here.
We went to the ocean tonight with Bob and Joan to watch the full moon rise. It was very magical…the waves were crashing on shore and the lighthouse was lighting up the water. The firey red light came right up from the ocean and then ducked behind a cloud and lite up the whole sky , then it turned orange then yellow as it climbed into the sky….it only took me 40 years to watch that happen from start to finish!!!
Please drop us a line and let us know how everyone is….