Daily Archives: March 6, 2014

The view from the front porch


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Panama Interlude

NB: We’re posting via satellite phone and SSB radio, so we aren’t receiving any email or getting on the web. We figure once we get to the canal we might find wifi, but if you’ve sent us messages and we haven’t responded, that’s why.

This place is amazingly beautiful. We’re so torn; we’d love to stay a while and just appreciate the Kuna world and the picture postcard beauty, on the other hand we need to get to Colon so we can get the process started for canal transit. In a way, this is what it’s like cruising on a sailboat. Some places you have all the time in the world and others you have to race through because of weather or other considerations. It’s funny that more than once we’ve had people tell us “You’re going too fast!” but those are invariably much younger people who think they have unlimited time on this earth. We’re old enough to know all too well that life is short and we aim to pack as much as we can into whatever time we have left. This voyage isn’t “the trip of a lifetime;” it’s just one of the things we want to do before we leave this earth. I’m still trying to talk Jack into Svalbord but it’s tough going.

My sister got word to us via satphone that my dear aunt died this week. Aunt Evelyn was an early role model for me. She was gentle and kind, but what I loved about her most was how she sought out and embraced new things. She was an artist who learned toll painting (not sure that’s the right word) and was a member of a guild. We have a beautiful little mirror she painted in our guest bedroom and I think of her every time I look at it. When she moved to upstate New York she took up cross country skiing. She learned to make chair seats out of rushes and picked her own rushes. She had a metal detector and went looking for treasures she could do something with. She always made a spice cake for my Uncle Paul and to this day we all make ‘Paul’s Cake.’ I can still hear her quiet laugh and see her twinkling eyes. She’s the last of my mother’s sisters to leave us, and we’re down to one of the ‘original recipe,’ as Jack calls them, my Uncle Ralph, still doing well in his 90s. All six of them lived well into their 90s and if I’m lucky enough to have inherited those genes I’ve got some good years ahead of me.

Here’s to you, Aunt Evelyn! The older I get, the more people I meet, the luckier I feel to have had my mother and her incredible brothers and sisters and their spouses. They taught us the meaning of family, an inclusive and welcoming version that takes in newcomers with the same love as those born into it. As my mom used to say, “If you’re with us, you’re one of us.”

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