I returned to the USA on February 1, 1999 with a visit Charleston, S.C. to my son's family, Greg, his wife, Karen and our granddaughter, Rebecca. While Greg and I cycled, I noticed that I was more tired than usual and had also told Lee in Nevis that I was having a harder time walking up the steep mountains. I suspected some small change in with my cardiac system and would check with my cardiologist when I returned to California. Within a week of my return to Los Angeles, on February 8, 1999, I had a very minor heart attack, resulting in testing and the recommendation for another coronary by-pass to correct the overly large stretched out--not closed down--veins that had replaced the previously clogged arteries ten years earlier. Initially, the doctors wanted to monitor me every six months and then perform surgery in a few years. I sat in the chair in the surgeon's office with Lee by my side, tears streaming down my face and said, "You don't understand, we are building a home in the Caribbean on a tiny, remote island called Nevis. If I can't return, I might as well die right here, right now." And so the decision was made--with my daughter's approaching wedding four months away and our move to Paradise eight months away--that I would again face surgery and pray for complete recovery to return with Lee to our Nevisian Paradise. Following surgery, I had several minor complications. One night on the answering machine, I heard my Nevisian friend Veronica's deep, melodic voice cheering my spirits, "The moon is lovely tonight. You would have loved to see it." In calls, our Nevisian friends never asked "why," "what happened," or "how come" but always lifted my spirits with their soft melodious voices saying "Have faith, believe. God is working for you." After my surgery and several minor complications, I began to believe that I would not return to Nevis nor make it to our daughter Gayle and Nick's wedding in July. My friend Lee's home is framed by Mt. Nevis as though it is right in her backyard. When in Nevis, we always spent time looking and feeling the mountain's incredible spiritual energy. On a particular phone call, I shared with Lee that I feared that I may not make it to my daughter's wedding or back to Nevis. From her home in Nevis she said, "I am looking at the mountain right now and sending you energy for your return." I felt that energy rush through my veins as a healing elixir and from that moment, I recovered. Besides our close friends, there were people in six churches around the island praying for my safe and healthy return.
Lee returned in May for five days and was astounded by the beautiful craftsmanship that he found. Following Gayle's and Nick's wedding in July, we both returned to Nevis to celebrate Lee's 62nd birthday, the 25th Culturama-the annual 10-day celebration of emancipation filled with Nevisian culture, of music, dance, cuisine, home-coming, street-jammin' and the most amazing, peaceful, joyous gathering of people that Lee and I had ever experienced anywhere in the world. We also chose our paint colors, laid out tiles, chalked on concrete walls our future kitchen cabinets and continually counted our blessings. We were honored to share Kenneth's and Veronica's 20th anniversary dinner with their children and Mothers in their lovely garden under the stars and one of my favorite views of Mt. Nevis at which Veronica's Mother shared these words of wisdom with Lee and me, "If you respect, honor us and don't try to change our ways, we will respect and protect you." And, they have!!!
Below are photos of some of the very special people in our lives. Enjoy!
My friend, Lee and I at Paradise Beach. Veronica and I limin' in the hammock
after we have moved in.
Sunshine, Lee and Orville at Sunshine's Bar on the Sunshine, Lee and I on Lee's 62nd birthday.
beach, celebrating Lee's 62nd birthday.
Veronica and Kenneth under their favorite tree on Lee and I on Paradise Beach on our last day.
their 20th anniversary.
Love and later,