January 10, 1999
Tamarind Tor
Jones Bay
Nevis, West Indies

Greetings from Paradise
"Ground-breaking"

Dear Family and Friends,

Last evening, Dad and I gathered with our builder, Meredith Hendrickson, his wife Sylvia, our friends John (Shirley was working), Veronica, Kenneth and Quincy, Jackie and Curtis and the Bowrins: Lee, Dexter, Deanza, Spencer and Denrieke to break ground for our dream and unbelievable adventure which lies ahead. It was a lovely, cool evening with champagne, Caribbean spiced-flavored home-baked cakes and sparkling cider for those who do not drink alcohol. Lee and Meredith toasted, both quoting from the Bible and invoking God's blessings for health, peace and harmony with the same respect and fondness for one another when we move in as we have now for each other. The breeze sent a peacefulness from the mountain behind us as we watched the sunset in front of us, dug our first shovel of dirt a and thanked God for the blessings of each other, our families and friends and the blessings of our new home and Nevisian family. It was an unbelievable moment filled with a sense of overflowing gratitude as toasts were exchanged, children played in the dirt, friends chatted and photos taken to chronicle that we had begun. Lee was leaving a few days later for California and I would remain for three more weeks. We would then take turns coming once a month until completion, slated October 31, 1999 barring no uninvited hurricanes to the island. It was a dream and felt surreal, but the most natural venture that Lee and I had embarked upon in our thirty-six years as husband and wife. On his way to Los Angeles, Lee stopped in Florida to choose doors and windows and said on the phone to me, "Ruthie, some people may think we are crazy for doing this, but you and I know that we are crazy if we don't." And so we began.

With hopes and dreams and thoughts of you too.

                    
    Ruth and Lee                                   Ruth and Lee toasting.                      Lee and Meredith celebrating.
 

                        
Veronica, Ken and Quincy.                   Lee, Dexter, Denrieke,                           Jackie and Curtis Griffith.
                                                                      Spencer and Deanza Bowrin.
 
 
 

                   
     Sunset at ground-breaking.                                           Lee, John and Ruth.
 
 

Love and later, Ruth