On the Water Again
02 January 2008 | Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay
Happy New Year!
We had an emotion-filled and rewarding trip back home to Nova Scotia. The Maritime tradition of having visiting hours along with a memorial service allows for valuable time to share stories and memories with friends and family - many of whom we rarely see. Dozens of people came to visit and it felt like we were able to truly remember and celebrate my mother's life along with mourning her passing.
We moved quickly from that intense time into Christmas and were grateful to be able to share it with the family at Mum and Dad's home. Alex and Liam flew down from Ottawa for the funeral; Liam returned there to celebrate Christmas with Amy and Olivia, and came back to us for a few days afterward. Alex stayed through the whole ten days, and Mary Beth, who lives in the area, was with us most of the time as well. Aunt Ursula (Mum's sister) and my sister and her husband were also able to be with us. We think it helped my dad to have us around, although we suspect he will value the quiet time now that he has his house back to himself!
Among the many rewarding things we discovered in this time was the compassion of both the boys' employers. Linda and Murray of Capital City Luggage and Roberto of Allegro Restaurant gave immediate permission to Liam and Alex to take whatever time they needed to be with family during this time and we are all grateful to them for that. The staff at Campbell's Funeral Home and First Baptist Church were exceptionally kind and professional, and the many friends who gave messages and cards, food and flowers, memorial donations and their time to be with us fill us all with warmth, appreciation, and even joy in the midst of our grief.
Jim and I flew back to Treasure Cay on Dec 30 and caught the ferry to Green Turtle Cay. It felt like coming home to "our own place" again, and I must say, it was delightful to leave the cold and snow for sun and sand.
We found Madcap safe and sound, and enjoyed a quiet first evening back as we sat on the deck under the stars. On Monday, it was grocery-shopping time, and we really noticed that food costs more here. We had to restock our refrigerator with the usual eggs and milk and butter and cheese along with some fresh produce. I was pleased to find lettuce and peppers, celery and broccoli, apples and oranges. The price was higher - yes, but the important thing was they were available! We bought more of that most wonderful coconut bread to make a perfect feast melding north and south on New Year's morning - French Toast made with coconut bread and maple syrup.
The cruisers enjoyed a potluck hors d'oeuvres gathering at Brendal's Dive centre over in White Sound and we were just delighted to reconnect with several friends we haven't seen for a while, as well as to meet new ones. Steve and Sandy (Princess), Patty and Colin (Island Song) both arrived in that very day, and we met Richard and Carol (Kalissa), and Mark and Nicki (First Edition?) and many others whose names I'll have to hear again! For the first time in many years, Jim and I were tucked in bed at midnight - thinking about getting up to go ashore for music and celebration but too tired to do it. The big Junkanoo celebration came on Tuesday anyway, and we took it all in.
New Plymouth was just full of people - cruisers, house renters, and boatloads of folks arriving from other islands boosted the local population. Restaurants and church groups had stands set up all along the street and were selling ribs and chicken and fish and desserts. We feasted on plates of conch fritters, conch salad, ribs, macaroni, and peas 'n rice, brownies and more than one glass of rum punch. I sipped my first goombay smash from Miss Emily's Blue Bee Bar - deeelicious. The Junkanoo Parade wound its way down the hill and around the town and we loved the colour and sound and intimacy of it. The streets are narrow and people lined all sides and corners. The drummers and dancers in their bright sequined and feathered costumes moved among us, folks dropped into line behind them as they moved down Parliament Street, along the waterfront and back to the basketball court where Kevin kept the music going.
The sun shone, the music played. People - local residents and visitors, black and white, young and old, loud and subdued, all mingled in the streets for the whole day. We went back to the boat for a nap around 6 and then headed off in the dinghy to Pineapples for the fireworks display at 8. As we stood on the beach among friends, watching the display that went on for close to an hour and listening to the waves lapping on the shore, we felt once again that we are on a journey that feels remarkably right to us.
In one discussion during the day I found myself trying to explain my conviction that we must maintain a belief or a faith in all that is right. Just as our journey feels right to us, a day like this is one of those right things, and even if it is just one day in one little place, it is good and it is enough to hold onto as we look forward to the year ahead. It may well be a challenging year in big and small ways, in personal and global ways; it may well have destruction and mistrust and betrayal and mourning. It will also have honesty and love and respect and hope; it will have creativity and brilliance and compassion and celebration. I'm sure of it.