So rock me momma like a wagon wheel
Rock me momma any way you feel
Hey, momma rock me
Rock me momma like the wind and the rain
Rock me momma like a south bound train
Hey, momma rock me
July 1, the date which the Looping Adventure was to resume has come and gone, and we are not on the water. Life continues to happen.
We left Red Pearl at Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, and celebrated as Steph and Luke married in Boston on May 18 with a small gathering of their community there, and then again with their British community in Ireland on June 1. The couple shared affirmations barefoot and “connected with the earth.” Steve and I are directly behind Stephanie in this photo; her siblings, right of Steph; their kilted Scottish Quaker celebrant to the left of Luke, and Luke’s lovely British mum in the hat—a beautiful cloud of pink was she—and his dad, also in an Irish kilt and cap. Skies were gray….oh yes, the heavens opened and poured their wet blessings during our procession! And Midgies! Ireland’s version of our “no see ums” were thick, and the smokey repellent in the air resulted in the entire congregation smelling like campfire.
Steve and I returned to Goshen on June 11 and were promptly confronted with a health emergency with my dad, the result being a diagnosis of metastatic colon cancer. With my being his last and closest family, we delayed our travel plans to settle him back in his retirement community which has been home for 13 years, and initiated Hospice services. A few weeks later, with Dad seeming surprisingly stable, we decided to slip away for 10 days to move the boat up to the Chesapeake, clearing the hurricane belt and positioning her for intermittent and brief cruises during the next months as Dad’s condition might allow. The day before we left, a nurse called to tell me that Dad was having chest pain. The pain quickly abated with nitroglycerin, so Steve and I decided to continue our plan; but as we drove to pick up the rental car the next morning, my phone call located Dad at the nurse’s station—again with chest pain. Dispirited and concerned, we turned around and drove home, and a profound anticlimax clouded the day. In light of these complications, we have decided that cruising is imprudent at this time. Our seasons and our plans feel mixed up with the uncertainties of timing that lie ahead. We read our looping friends’ blogs as they cruise the northern waters with envy and anticipation of the right timing for us.
TRULY, our desire is to enjoy these days with Dad and to be available when he needs us. What a privilege and life lesson it is to share the journey with this courageous and determined man! As I write, he is filling in for the chaplain of the retirement community while she is away for an entire week, is preparing to lead a book discussion group which he has led for more than a decade, continues to play pool with the guys and weekly bid Euchre with friends, and joins the cloud of witnesses every Sunday at the church in which he experiences Life itself. On September 7 we celebrated Dad’s 93rd birthday with friends from his community.
And so Red Pearl sits in South Carolina, precisely inside the hurricane belt. The advent of Hurricane Dorian was most unwelcome news. In no way do I diminish what the people of Bahamas have experienced, folks who are stranded there, whose entire way of life is there, who have been separated from their loved ones, who even watched loved ones drown before their eyes. But our personal property in harm’s way is a boat, and we drove down to prepare her for riding out the hurricane when we saw the storm’s trajectory. On Labor Day, to the dulcet strains from the patio of the marina’s restaurant below us, Rock me momma like the wind and the rain, our minds were on hurricane destruction. We removed the isinglass (the plastic windows) and our brand new upholstery, we made a flip-of-a-coin decision to follow the lead of the locals and leave the Bimini (the canvas roof) in place. (I personally found this to be the best decision for our marriage, as I doubted we would ever get it up again.) Everything else taped and battened down or stowed in the cabin, we left the Myrtle Beach area with mandatory evacuation sirens blaring.
It was dusk….and we hit an opossum….and then 20 minutes later—Oh dear Lord—a dog, both just standing dazed in the middle of the road. And now having just had the car in the body shop for small details on her back end, she goes back to the shop for repairs of her front end.
The end of this saga is that, as Dorian battered its way up the eastern seaboard, South Carolina was spared the worst. Red Pearl is still on top of the water. We feel lucky, indeed.