We do live most of the year on Kalunamoo in the Eastern Caribbean – the Lesser Antilles – in the West Indies. That sounds exotic to many, and with comments such as “Living the Dream”, in many ways it is. We have gone to where the “weather suits my clothes”, the nights are dark, and the breeze always blows. Maureen and I never forget that we are fortunate to be able to live this way. Not, of course, that it is always idyllic. This blog testifies to that. Life is not a dream and if it were, nightmares do arise.
But for the 60 years that led up to this lifestyle, we lived a more average life of family, friends, and work. That life cannot nor do we want it, “turned off”. That is why the ability to communicate easily and fly for extended visits is important. We may not be able to attend all family and friend’s gatherings, but they are always in our hearts and minds.
And so it was, that early March was a good time to fly north. The snows would be ending, the weather a little warmer, and birthdays and a wedding were to be celebrated. And they were. This end of winter jaunt, we celebrated my dad’s 101st birthday. That was done with a lobster dinner, not the Caribbean clawless lobster, but with an honest to goodness Maine lobster. That was a treat for us also as the Caribbean lobster is fine, but the cold-water northern lobster does have an edge in flavor.
The marriage celebration, a day after my dad’s birthday was for our youngest daughter’s 2nd marriage. We wished Liz and John a long, happy and healthy life after the short outdoor ceremony and a loud music filled reception! Liz’s two children, our grandchildren, enjoyed the celebration and we are sure this Modern Family will prosper and enjoy a long life together.
We celebrated 3 other birthdays including our twin grandson’s 15th birthday, Timothy and Ryan and my own.
I celebrated my 74th birthday. Almost three quarters of a century! Boy that is a long time. I barely remember my first days in kindergarten. Actually, I also have a hard time remembering where I left my eyeglasses ten minutes ago. However, I do remember standing online to get the first polio shots (1954), watching the Andrea Doria sink on B/W TV (1956) and the first man to walk on the moon (1969), the day I married Maureen (1971); seen too many soldiers march off to war (1950, 60, 83, 90, 01, 14) and saw many of the 27,000+ sunsets that have occurred. I hope to see many more.
Into all lives come dark days. My sister’s husband, who was otherwise healthy, came down with a bad “cold” shortly before we flew to New York. The “bad cold” turned out to be Covid and he was hospitalized. Despite the treatments and medical procedures, his condition was on a downward trajectory. The news that he passed was never anticipated only a month before when he entered the hospital. Like a sudden storm the outcome is never certain and, in this case, hope gave way to tears and memories.
I dedicate this blog entry to John Mallon who I was introduced to as a Brooklyn guy that dragged raced cars, rode a motorcycle, wore leather jackets, looked like Al Pacino (in retrospect) but captured my sister’s heart. They lived a life together far from the stereotypical image that I just wrote. John, joined the Army, moved to New Jersey, raised two great kids, watched four grandkids grow, bought boats that he loved repairing, rebuilt their home after hurricane Sandy, played golf, plus many other memories that I could mention and definitely passed too soon. As Maureen always says, we mourn the loss but celebrate the times we shared.
After John’s wake and funeral we will fly back to St. Lucia and rejoin Kalunamoo, continuing to “live the dream” but never forgetting the larger world we are all part of.
One thought on “Three Birthdays, a Wedding, and a Funeral”
Bill, that was some beautiful writing. You experienced so
much in a short time and described it so well. Life.
We also feel fortunate to live out our dreams sailing as we maintain connections to family and community.