St. Thomas, Virgin Islands Trip
My friend, Alice, has a story that must be told. Many, many moons ago, she was living in Dallas, working at a fancy ad agency as a copy writer, making good dough, driving a nifty, red sports car, engaged to be married…Then, one day, she walks into her boss’s office and says,
“I want to be a sailor.”
They threw her a good bye party, she sold her car, she broke up with her fiance, and then she moved to the Virgin Islands. She worked down on the docks, where she became tan and lean and enjoyed the ocean. After much hard work, she became a Captain, and her main line of work, today, is sailing the Lady Lindsey for the Ritz Carlton.
Isn’t that a cool story? If anything inspires someone to follow their dream, I’d say this story should!
How did I meet Alice? I met her in college, at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas, back in the fall of 1981. I was very shy then (stop laughing), but I would take my guitar into the empty women’s restroom of our dorm. It was a cavernous, tiled room, and I would pretend I was singing a sold out show in some gorgeous hall. I also enjoyed singing in there because a little black cricket lived in a drain in the middle of the floor, and he would pop his head out, wiggle his antannae and listen to me sing. He got a lot of free concerts. I got to pretend that I was Snow White singing to crickets in Carnagie Hall.
So, one day, I’m in the bathroom, singing my happy heart out, when Alice pops her head around the open door and says, “That you?” I think I nodded my head, “Yes.” She said, “Well, why don’t you come up and sing to me while I’m in my studio?” And that is how we became friends, all those years ago.
And let me say this: Alice is the dearest kind of friend you could wish for.
Loyal and true. We’ve been pals for almost 25 years! Isn’t that something? To have a friend that long? I am stunned by the consistency of our comittment
to be in each other’s lives, and I am stunned that we have been in each other’s lives for more than half of them. Thank you, Alice. (And to all my other “old” friends: Leah Tuffly; my other dear Alice (Loper) and Mike Schulz, all from junior high!!!)
I tell you about Alice because we just got back from a trip to St. Thomas, where Alice lives on a mountaintop, overlooking the sea. A good fellow, Doug Lewis, plays my music on his radio show there on the island, and one day, I had an idea after he kindly sent me his playlist.
I emailed Mr. Lewis and asked him if he knew of a charity in St. Thomas that would benefit from a benefit? He was very excited. KIDSCOPE! He worked closely with them because he is a lawyer who works on behalf of abused/neglected children on the islands. The path was set.
Last week, we arrived in St. Thomas and had the benefit on Saturday night.
It was a grand event. Even Senator Christianson, a lovely woman with a warm smile, attended the show. There was food by the hilariously friendly Chef Mouton (he called every woman “mammy”…love that!) , and I met a nice man named George who volunteered to hold the cue cards for the performance of “iolana”. He even wiggled during the instrumental section. Dilsa, the woman who founded KIDSCOPE, was an angelic presence. I met her when we did FACE TO FACE, a tv show with Addie Ottley, a classy man with a deep voice in a nice suit.
All in all, KIDSCOPE had a successful event, with more financial pledges of allegiance for the next five years from some major sponsors. And they have already asked if I would return next year to perform again! You know it!
Around the performance, we filled every day with delights. We went sailing with Alice on the Lady Lindsey, which included snorkeling: I saw stingrays and a trunkfish and my first wild moray eel, brown with white, sliding out of coral and meandering across the ocean floor; visited St. John, Caneel Bay (where I paddled my first paddle boat with my youngest…ay yi yi…my tender calves!),
visited Coral World, played at Hull Bay and Skinny Beach (thanks to our new friends, the Fosters, absolutely cool folks!); I went KAYAKING!!!, found sea shells, made giant sand castles complete with fan coral flags…ate waaaaay too much good food.
We also had an outdoor shower while staying with Alice in her lovely home.
Let me just say that a week of showering outdoors made me want to rip the walls out of my bathroom when we got home yesterday. Who needs walls when you have the sun shining through leaves overhead, the wind caressing your body as rain occassionally also falls, mixing in with the warm water of the showerhead?! Life as nature intended!
Lastly…iolana went fishing for the first time! She caught a puffer fish, thanks to the help of Howard, and then she pulled in a BARRACUDA!!! A little one and a half foot fish, but, boy oh boy, were his teeth SHARP! Don’t worry…we threw them back into the sea, so they could swim…happy and free.