Hope everyone had a splendid holiday ~ It’s always great to see the family and at the same time, it’s always nice when it’s over. I’m sitting here this morning enjoying Blue Mountain coffee with a shot of Rum Cream pondering my first day of unemployment (or job elimination). Although I have something lined up, I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up. We started off a group of 14 including my husband’s boys (20 & 22), their girlfriends and a buddy, a few newbies and a couple of regulars. At the 7th day mark the kids went home and we were down to 8, after 10 days we were down to 6 and by the 11th day there were just 4 of us. The staff at the Whistling Bird, while they were more than cordial and always respectful, I’m sure they welcomed the break.
Obviously, as here’s a picture of our tab from just one week! One important part of our trip I have yet to mention was our Hurricane Ivan Relief efforts. The day the hurricane hit we watched afar via the Internet. Wanting to help, my girlfriend Krissi started a fundraiser and by the time we left, she raised over $2700US. In the meantime, I was collecting household goods, clothing, luggage, school supplies and fun stuff for the kids. On Thanksgiving Day we made arrangements to visit a man by the name of Terry. Terry is 27 yrs old and was paralyzed in a football accident. I gathered items for him and his neighbors, Carol & Monique. Along with the luggage full of goods we also had a wad of J’s to give them. I love being able to give, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be this time.
Gail, who knows Terry, came to pick us up. We drove past Whitehall School and down the street to this little rust colored house with a big tree outside the window. The tree was full of nuts, candy, food, and wine. Terry sells these things from his window in his bed. Gail went right in the house; I was reluctant, but followed anyway. As I approached, there was an unfamiliar smell and I noticed a pot full of dead fish on the stove. Poor Terry just lay there smiling as he greeted us. I tried to maintain composure, but the smell and his condition was tugging at my heartstrings in an awful way. I started to sweat and get a little nauseous. Unable to maintain, I stuffed the J’s in his hand and headed outdoors for some air. Gail followed shortly thereafter and I could not control my emotions. I cried on the way to her van and felt sick thinking of my actions. My husband and I honestly wanted to help in any way we could, but the last thing we want is to hurt someone’s pride in doing so. I certainly hope we did not hurt Terry in any way. Next time, and there will be a next time, we will visit Terry, spend some time with him at his window and buy a bottle of wine for $5000 J’s. Redemption for both of us.
On the way back from Terry’s we went to Whitehall School, met with one of the teachers and gave toys to all the children in class. I’m so glad we made the stop there ~ I felt a whole lot better about the mission! My friend’s daughter, Anna, had been saving unopened Happy Meal toys for less fortunate children as long as I can remember. She gladly donated them all to our Ivan relief campaign. When we arrived at the school, the children were expecting us. Miss Barnes hushed the class and we proceeded to give out the toys. It was very sweet to hear the little voices chattering away as they ripped open their gifts and began to play. I didn’t notice at first, but the room was split in half by a chalkboard. 27 kids on one side and 16 on the other. When the kids on the other side got wind of what was going on, they stacked up on top of each other (all 16 of em’) where we could see them. My heart fluttered as I scrambled for something left to give. Luckily we had a bag full of candy. Just enough to be exact. As we were leaving, we turned around for another glance and saw Miss Barnes leading the class in prayer. It was a prayer of thanks to new friends.
After quite an eventful trip chock full of adventure and laughter, red stripes and fancy drinks, great food and people, our time on the island is drawing nearer and dearer. Every sunset is watched with holding of the breath until you absolutely must breathe. Time to take it all in. Absorb as much of the Bird as possible before it all fades into a 4×6 print.
My favorite time of the day… morning and breakfast! Chef Turner, Chef Snow and Damian whip up one fantastic breakfast…
As we’re waiting for the ill-fated moment and Errol to arrive, the staff is stopping by to chat on the beach and emotions are not cooperating. The vendors on the beach aren’t stopping and it’s time for one last Ting, One last walk through the grounds. I can’t help but notice the Bird goes on without us. The bus arrives. My newbie girlfriend is in full-blown tears right along with me. They make us get on the bus.
We get one last stop for one last Stripe. We might be leaving but WE ARE COMING BACK!