Every now and then, I get super lucky to be invited back as a guest of our dear friends Karen and Mike, to a spectacular oceanfront property they own in Hopetown, in the Bahama’s. Even though it’s my third time there, it’s beauty in the colors of the water, the natural tropical foliage, coral terrain, and the simplistic kindness and joy of its people still takes my breath away. People gather here from all over the world in this little isle of paradise because its beauty seems to draw out the unique beauty in all who live, visit, and work there. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean. The first night we arrived our flight was delayed so we missed the 4:00p.m. ferry boat ride from Marsh Harbor to Hopetown forcing our arrival at the house to be much later than expected. After a complete day of travel everyone was tired, and not up for cooking so we went out to a restaurant called Firefly not too far from where we were staying, and ate dinner there. When it came time to pay and we asked the waiter for seven separate checks, that did not faze him one bit, nor when I mistakenly payed him an extra tip in Chilean pesos thinking it was Bahamian money he said “ thanks, those are really cool I think I’ll keep them”. Everything here is just chill, so if you’re in a hurry this place is not for you.
The next day when we did our walking tour of Hopetown and stopped by the iconic candy striped lighthouse, I had such bad blisters from new shoes that I was breaking so I decided not to make the spiral stair step climb to the top. Instead I pretended to be the lighthouse keeper to two blonde blue-eyed curly haired boys and their father by telling them as they approached that they had to pay the toll of one penny or tell me a funny joke to get in. The younger maybe five or six and much more outgoing of the two brothers stepped closer and with the encouragement of his father says, “Do you know what they call a guy with a rubber toe?” “No” I replied “what do they call him?” His dimpled smiled grew bigger with the satisfaction that he had paid the toll for himself and his brother, and father when he replied “Roberto!” He was right that his sense of confidence, pride, and accomplishment, was worth all the money in the world.
Then there was the lady from Martha’s Vineyard who took our picture in town and was more than happy to share her world travel adventures living on a boat for six months of the year in the Abaco Islands, and the other six months up north. And the folks at Tahiti Beach from an unnamed yacht club also up north who travel together every year on their boats to sun, play, compete, and share a story or two with us or anyone that might ask.
So to me the Abaco Islands are a happy place. And this time I was blessed to share it with six women for the first few days, and then with five other couples later in the week. The contrast of the two experiences in one week couldn’t have been more different and yet in so many ways, they were similar.
To protect the guilty the group of seven women from this point will be known by the name given to them by their peers: Bahama Mamma, Alluring, Banana Pancakes, Rumba, The Analyst, Humble Pie, and the Dream Catcher. From what I observed, the names they chose for each other were an accurate description of dominant elements of their personalities.
All of these special beautiful women are friends and bonded by their very strong Christian faith and children. Between them there are twenty five children! Since I was technically the outsider I tried my hardest to get to know them in three days at a level they had built over twenty plus years. I also tried through an exercise in my book Sno-Cone Diaries get them to learn something they didn’t know about each other or themselves to deepen their relationships. Of course as soon as Bahama Mamma told everyone I was a writer everyone clammed up; but over time, some fun experiences, prayer, and maybe a glass of wine or two, I learned enough to put this blog together. I asked them to give each other a fun name to describe how they saw each other so that’s where the alias names came from. As an outsider looking in it was truly special to witness the beauty and strength of their relationships, the trust they had in each other, and the openness they had to include me not knowing what I might write about them.
I think I have some new friends on Facebook as I enter this week in anticipation of what I might write, but if my followers take a sudden drop after Friday it means I bombed on this blog.
So here’s what I learned about this special group of women I will call “The Saints”
They are all amazing in their uniqueness and personal stories of triumph and tragedy.
They are all very close, truly loved and respected each other to the point of no ego, no gossip, no snarky comments only genuine love and support of each other.
Their faith brought them together and makes them stronger.
They believe that the friends that pray together stay together.
They have their priorities in order God, Country, and family.
They were determined to accomplish several goals in their time together rest, relax, laugh, enjoy, play, give themselves permission to be happy, and complete one goal of putting together a 550 piece puzzle with everyone’s help. Well done ladies, mission accomplished.
They were all welcoming to me the outsider, and I feel blessed to be able to call them my new friends after this experience. They let me in on the secret finger thing they do under their chins, and unfortunately for me I now know what a “dingle berry” really is, and which bathroom to choose between a Doo-Dah and a Fi-Fi. Boy was I naive and shocked!!! Most importantly we all now share one bonding moment in common and that is none of us have a clue as to what the heck the FX show Basket is all about but because it meant so much to me, you watched it with me anyway. Thank you!
Thanks ladies for sharing this experience with me, including me, not judging me, and accepting the DNA evidence of truth that I am not 100% Polish and probably not related to any of my siblings. May God Bless you all!