Well that was a whirlwind holiday season! We spent much of November and December back on the Gulf Coast. Starting at Peter Anderson Festival then jumping back and forth from Hilton Head to decorate for Mom,to Gautier to join the holiday party that happens on land.
While back at home it was weeks of doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs. Well maybe no Indian chiefs. But It seemed like every day we were on land we had something to handle that included some form of legal or governmental connection. There were health care decisions to make. Wills to update. Shopping , cooking, and decorating to do. Friends to bury and friends to marry. It was a busy busy two months! Don’t get me wrong, it was rich with family and friends. Lots of great memories were made those days on land! I’m very glad we went. But it’s good to be back on board.
Hilton Head has evolved into its winter self. As of this week the snow birds are here. Our neighbor on the dock says “tourist season is over and now it’s two-fer season”. It pretty quiet. Some places are closed. Others are coaxing the Canadians in with deals. Many of our boat buddies have gone south. Warmer weather beckons.
January is a reflective month. Looking back at the old year and planning for the new finds one evaluating their life looking at their goals. 2018 was an amazing year of great adventure for us. We took a dream and made it a reality. Our desire to cruise and live aboard this boat has unfolded in an amazing way. Are there decisions that now need to be made? Not yet. We agreed this adventure was happening in a “year of no decisions”. So now it’s 2019. Still a year of no decisions. When we come to the end of this journey, whenever that is, there will be time to decide about downsizing and all that that involves. For now our decisions are small ones. What path to walk today? What new meal to cook? What book to read next? What boat project to tackle?…….
It’s 6:45 am on January 9th as I am writing this. Mike’s phone just rang and I am slightly aware that it’s a call from home. I pause to listen and realize something very tragic has happened that he is now processing. He hangs up and tells me that dear friends have had a horrid tragedy. A fire in their hunt camp trailer has claimed my girlfriend Teresa’s life and her husband Johnny is clinging to life with little hope. We wondered why God steered us to driving our car back to Hilton Head for the winter. So glad He did. We take the next hour to close up the boat and pack the car. We need to go back to Mississippi to be with their daughters and our community of friends. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we need to help. Johnny dies midday as we are driving across Georgia. We are numb with grief as we arrive at the house and begin the process of helping friends and family sort through the raw emotions that the entire community is feeling. We plan to stay a month. There is a memorial celebration planned in mid February. We will certainly be there.
Hearts are heavy. Hugs are tighter. Misty eyes look into misty eyes everywhere we go around town. Calls come in from people we haven’t spoken with in a long time. The healing begins. Losing young friends in such a tragic way reopens wounds from the past and makes us look at our futures. As for Mike and I this reaffirms our decision of last year to lock the door and leave home to seize the adventure on the water. Life is short. Do it now.
When we do return to the water and get off the dock I know thoughts of Johnny and Teresa will fill our heads and our hearts as we gaze at our wake or watch another sunset. Many many hours we spent with these two souls on the water. From the beaches in Destin to the barrier islands of the Mississippi Sound countless memories were made. Farewell sweet friends, until we meet again.