January, 2001
Nevisian Paradise
Garrick's Pasture
Nevis, West Indies

Greetings from Paradise
"Nana, What's a Mortgage?"

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope all is well and the new year off to a new start. It is winter down here, but usually does not get colder until later this month and February. Last year, it got down to 60 at night. No, I am not complaining, just sharing that for the Caribbean, 60 degrees is cold.

Tamar, Robert and Gayle have returned to the States and Rebecca, Greg and Karen--who are expecting our second grandchild in July--are still here. Most of the adults tire early as the sun, humidity and numerous activities is tiring. Rebecca and I often are the last to bed (though not necessarily the first to rise). One of my favorite pastimes with Rebecca late at night is sitting on the back steps which overlook the orchard where we watch the moon, listen to the sounds and have wonderful uninterrupted conversations.

The house is set above the orchard which is lower on the slope and to the side of the house. The stars are usually very bright and if we gaze to the left we see Mt. Nevis rise above us and if we gaze to right we see the sea below us. One of the first things that we always do is look to see where the moon is in the sky and its beams are falling. Often the moonlight is falling on the sea sending its silver shimmer glistening in a path. It seems as if Rebecca has been here during the half moon cycles as we have never experienced the full moon rising over Mt. Nevis. Tonight, we sat down on the back steps and looked up to see the half moon over the orchard heading down toward the sea and eventually going down beyond the horizon. We talked about the seeds that we had just planted and the fruit trees which would soon bear fruit. (We have twenty-five fruit trees: citrus, guavas, mango, soursop, dwarf coconut, golden apple and twelve banana, plantain and pineapple plants.) I told Rebecca that one of these days, hopefully, this would all belong to her, her siblings, her parents, aunts and uncle and cousins. She said, "Nana, that is wonderful, but who will pay for the mortgage?" I asked her if she knew what a mortgage was and she said, "No." So I explained that when people are young and want a house to raise their family, they often cannot afford to pay for the entire house. So a person or couple save up about one finger worth and go to the bank and the bank loans them the other four fingers worth which they pay off usually over twenty-five to thirty years. Rebecca then asked me if Pop and I have a mortgage on this house. I said, "No, older people usually do not want the burden of a mortgage when they are no longer earning as much money as they did when they were younger." She asked, "Well, then how did you pay for the house?" I told her that Pop and I saved our money and had a big pot of money when we started. We could either keep the big pot of money, live in Los Angeles with the noise, pollution, crime, movie theaters, shopping centers, restaurants and many of our wonderful friends and family living far away or we could spend our money on this house and move down here where the air is fresh, there is freedom to walk and play in the whole village, it is peaceful and quiet, we have the beautiful mountain, skies, bright stars, rainbows, beaches and all the wonderful people that we have met live very close to us. She said, "Nana, I think you did the right thing." And, so I gave her a big hug, tucked her in, said our prayers, gave her a kiss and went to bed. It is moments as that which are really the magic of this blessed paradise which we now call home. I then crawled into bed, kissed my sleeping husband goodnight and thanked God for our blessings. It is often during this stillness that I reflect on my family and friends throughout the world as well.

Here are a few of my favorite shots of Rebecca, Lee and me.
 
 

        
Rebecca and I going for a walk and "secret                Rebecca and I sitting by the ghaut sharing and
game" in the rain.                                                        zinneas.
 
 
 

       
Rebecca and Ruth                             Rebecca hugging her Pop!
having a ball dancing!
 
 

With that, I say good night and hope that you are well.

Love and later,
Ruth