November, 2000
Nevisian Paradise
Garrick's Pasture
Nevis, West Indies

Greetings from Paradise
"Home Again Among the Stars"

Dear Friends and Family,

We are home again. I can't possible tell you what it feels like to see Mt. Nevis and know that we are home again, thank God! We found all of our friends and the children in the village well and as happy to see us as we were to see them.

In my few phone calls from the States to Veronica, I often asked her how our new planted flowers growing. She kept responding, "They are growing, they need to be cut." It is amazing that twelve inch high twigs planted in late July before we left had grown into young trees taller than me in four months. Ah, yes the flowers had grown and grown and it would take some good pruning to get things down to size. And, oh yes, the weeds grow too! (I remember when we first started weeding, I weeded a flower bed and went to bed. During the night, it rained. The next morning there were twenty weeds at least one inch high.)

Two weeks after arriving, we had a nice thanksgiving with our friends Jackie and Curtis who seem to be in England for the winter holidays every year so miss out on our parties. Curtis, a Nevisian, had met Jackie, a Brit in their youth. When he asked her to marry him more than thirty years ago, he had warned her that when he retired, he was returning home. And, so the time came to return to Nevis. It had been an adjustment for Jackie when they first returned, but now this is home for Jackie too. (By the way, their home is a lovely bed and breakfast down the hill from us and close to the beach. It is decorated in the usual British style with a beautiful hand-painted vine and pots, screened verandah where Jackie and Curtis graciously entertain and serve scrumptious home-cooked meals which linger for hours. They are truly par excellence host and hostess.)

We were surprised later in the month with third and fourth cousins whom I had never met, Tom, Cheryl and their precocious and pleasant son, Jeff. Through a mutual cousin, Tom had learned that we lived in Nevis and as he was staying at the Four Seasons with his family, he had alerted me that he wanted to get together. It was a delightful time as we spent time with them in an island tour, dinner out and a visit to our home. They, too, were smitten with Nevis and looked forward to a return trip and perhaps even moving down here. And so life is never dull here, very rich with always something to do, watch the stars, swim, share life over the fences, water the plants, cook or cultivate the orchard. Lee has taken that project upon himself and spends at least five hours a week in the orchard. Fruit is growing. We are learning how to trash, chop, cultivate and use a machete. I do the more "feminine tasks" such as pull weeds, powder red ants nests--bites sting--pick flowers and harvest fruit. We have soursop, a local delicacy, tastes like a pear/pineapple sauce to which I add brown sugar. The locals make a drink using that, milk, water and sugar, but I like my pudding better. Guavas are picked daily and shared with the children in the village. Citrus trees are growing, but no fruit yet. A pomegranate given to us as a twig of a housewarming present six months ago already has had five blossoms. Seeds of Dominica oranges--sweet-as-candy when mature--were spit out from our front verandah a year ago are already over two feet tall are developing into trees. There is a golden apple, a small fruit that is grainy but delicious and our banana trees are all tall and should bear fruit this season. We have a pineapple walk around the "adult sitting rock." It seem each member of our family favor a particular fruits so with us and the children in the village, nothing will go to waste. (Lee is waiting for the banana trees; I am awaiting the soursop and pineapple.) When plants spring new shoots, which they do like rabbits, they are given and shared within the village. Cuttings here, cuttings there, nothing goes to waste, not even seeds. We are clearing for a pumpkin/watermelon/cantaloupe patch and next week I will begin to plant my herb garden. I have learned from Lloyd, the gardener, that you do not plant two days before or two days after the new or full moon. In the new moon, things die from weakness and in the full moon, they burst from too much liquid. The interconnectedness with God, the cosmos and your fellow humanity are hard to miss down here as you live that truth second-by-second. And so we feel blessed by what we have been given and what we can give back to the community.

I will offer to speak next year. When I do, I always learn far more than I give about the true meaning of life. It is gratitude, blessings of family, friends, people and God and not necessarily in that order. The heavens with its constantly changing venue of stars, clouds, rainbows, sunrise and sunsets and sky continue to be my deepest and most profound spiritual experience. With that I share my favorite cloud taken recently from our front verandah. I look forward to hearing from you and what you are doing in your life.

Lee and I look forward to the holidays and our children and granddaughter, coming for my 60th birthday celebration. Hope that you had a good thanksgiving, found much to be thankful and can feel the blessings in your life.

Portal to heaven.

Love and later,