Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nassau Connections

Nassau, New Providence
January 22-27, 2015

Nassau is always a good stop. Even if it’s only to re-provision at the best-stocked grocery store in all The Bahamas. Besides laundry, that was the only thing on our agenda as we sat out weather systems. Here on New Providence, we were open and available for a few serendipities.

There was one connection that didn’t materialize. We arrived here Thursday evening. Fellow Minnesota hockey parents from Sean’s high school days, Laurie (& Jeff) Saforek and Kathy & Tom Snouffer, spent the day here Friday on a cruise-ship stop. I saw their Facebook post Saturday, after their ship had sailed.

Close but not quite, unfortunately! But several other unexpected connections came together.

1) Dave and Alison on s/v Zingaro were in Nassau Harbour Club Marina when we pulled in. We’d enjoyed their company at St. Marys Boat Services in Georgia last spring, but this fall we left the boatyard before they arrived. It was fun to reconnect and go out with them and another couple for a delicious dinner at East Villa, a Chinese restaurant. Fun!

2) While seated at East Villa, a man came up behind us and said, “Hey, Keith!” It was Steve, a guy we’d met on Great Harbour Cay (whose primary home is in Nassau). What are the chances we’d run into him there? On one of our bike rides at Great Harbour we’d happened by his beautiful waterfront “cottage” while he was on the porch. He was very friendly and offered to show us around his unusual home built entirely from Brazilian hardwoods. The house was gorgeous inside and out. His wife, an interior designer, had added all the right finishing touches to make it a tropical beach haven. From the veranda, the turquoise view went on forever. Beautiful!

3) Allen and Lucie, a couple from Alaska, were assigned the slip behind us with their boat Trixie. We hit it off and chatted a couple times on the dock. (Somehow, we seem to gravitate to people from the northern US and Canada…maybe it’s because most people on boats are escaping cold weather!) They rented a car and asked if we wanted to drive around the island with them. Yes, please! When they found out Keith had lived here and was familiar with the island, that was a bonus…and an occasion for Allen to give him a ribbing for directing us to a few dead ends. We laughed so many times at Allen’s distracted driving. He couldn’t remember to drive on the left, didn’t notice huge potholes and speed bumps, and inadvertently used the windshield wipers to signal turns all day long. One highlight of the tour was Clifton Heritage Park, a place we’d read about on the south side of the island. Two renowned Bahamian sculptors, Antonius Roberts and Tyrone Ferguson, created a public work of art there called Sacred Space. They transformed the trunks of casuarina trees into figures of slave women. Though the faces are featureless, you can sense a powerful mixture of longing, desperation, and hope in the sculptures’ posture as they gaze over the ocean. All that from simple tree trunks. Amazing!
At Clifton Heritage Park with Allen and Lucie
Sacred Space
4) This one starts with Lindsey, a classmate of Keith when he attended St. Andrew’s School in Nassau. Keith, Sean, and I, along with Keith’s parents, went to Lindsey’s wedding in Toronto in the late 80s. She is one of the most remarkable people I know. Through the heartbreak of caring for a daughter with MLD, a degenerative neurological disease, she has beautifully articulated on Caring Bridge her deep faith and God’s loving care in the pain and struggle. Lindsey is also great at remembering birthdays and keeping in touch with old friends. I communicated with her on Facebook that we were thinking about her in her old stomping grounds, and soon she had put us in touch with another classmate, Penny. Penny had come back to Nassau after college and married Drew, who was a year ahead at St. Andrews. They and their son Ben took us out for dinner at East Villa. It was a trip highlight for Keith to be reunited with an old high school friend. We had a thoroughly delightful time and wonderful conversation with them. After dinner, they took us by their home to meet their eight-week-old puppy Dakota, an adorable mastiff like our Kia. On top of all that, we figured out that Steve, who had greeted us at the restaurant on our previous visit, is Penny’s brother-in-law! Her sister is the interior designer. Serendipity!
Ben, Drew, Penny, Keith, Joanie
Out here, far from home, those connections with special people nourish our souls as much as the beauty we see and adventure we experience. All of them are gifts from God that we treasure.

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