Early December, 1999
Nevisian Paradise
Garrick's Pasture
Nevis, West Indies

Greetings from Paradise
"Happy Chanukah to Our Friends at B'nai Horim and Everywhere"

Dear Friends,

Hello, just wanted you to have a quick greeting from us before you get together on Sunday. So often as Lee and I sit on our verandahs and watch the mountains and stars or the sea, we think of each of you and send prayers for the wishes that you have expressed.

Our first two days of Chanukah have been filled with presents--not material gifts--but Nevis-kind-of-presents. The house has been chaotic this week. The plumber had to break in the walls to unclog a pipe--no roto-rooter down here-and replace lights. Our hand-carved headboard--an heirloom piece to hopefully remain in the house and be passed down for many generations--had yet not arrived and the metal clips to hold up the adjustable shelves all over the house in every closet, still had not arrived! So the unpacked boxes were just as abundant as last week. Rosa, a young woman, was coming to help sweep and mop for a few hours, so I told Lee, "Let's put on clean sheets on our mattress--which is still resting on the box-spring in its box--shower, get dressed, light our beautiful new Chanukah menorah, say prayers with Eva's specially made-for-Nevis kiddish cup and go out for dinner."

We drove to Caribbean Cove, a miniature amusement park, bumper rides and miniature golf that was developed by an American a few years ago. They serve burgers, (veggie included), fish and chicken. Who do we meet, but Sunshine and Maria. (Sunshine is our longest friend on the island; we met him in '91. When Lee and I saw him at a local restaurant; he was wearing a big Jewish star. Lee asked him, why he was wearing it and he said, "My grandmother was an Ethiopian Jew. She raised me. I loved her, mon." Sunshine is the Louis Armstrong of Nevis, loved by all, and a truly goodwill ambassador for Nevis and humankind. Soon after dinner, our close friend Lee came with her three children who call us "Nana-Ruth" and "Papa-Lee". Deanza got so excited when she saw us. Lee was quickly invited to join her and Spencer for miniature golf while I sat with Lee, Denrieke (2 years old) and Maria, her live-in helper, a beautiful woman from Santa Domingo. We came home to find a wonderful message from our son who had just had one of the most meaningful days of his life, serving as moderator and presenter on a panel for the family law judges of South Carolina and then on the bema at his synagogue for Chanukah in the evening. We spoke with our other children last night and today. The first night of Chanukah our gift came in friendship and family and we listened to Rebbe Soul as we lay in the hammock on our verandah listening to the birds, geckos, crickets and wind.

Our gift for the day arrived early, a beautiful, colorful double rainbow as Lee and I were doing our morning stretch on the verandah over-looking the sea this morning. The sea also had many "sheeps running" local term for white caps. The sun is out this morning so we saw some of the sand that had been washed away from Sunshine's and the Four Seasons being delivered by God back to the "rightful users." Today as I was baking for the first time, I heard a little brown kid (baby goat for you city folk) with black paws that has come to visit three times. It was the first time that the kid allowed me pet it. I called our neighbor Veronica who has goats to see what I could do since it obviously has no mother. She came over and we sat and listened to Alula sing on tape as we watched the sea, mountains and heavens. Those are the gifts of Chanukah that we share with you. As you light your candles, know and feel our prayers and thoughts coming across the "spiritual internet."

Love and later,
Ruth