Every day something appears in the news, on Facebook, or on Twitter that makes at least one person say, “I hate people.”
I feel sorry for that person. Sure, certain persons can go to H.E. Double Hockey Sticks but it has been my experience that people are wonderful. Now, you could attribute this belief to EW’s and my outlook on life: We like people, therefore they are wonderful. You may be right.
Over the years cruisers have often asked about the cruising community or the folks in a particular port and we have usually found them to be delightful as a whole, with one or two “interesting” characters who should be avoided. In fact, we ascribe to that old tale of two families moving to a new village back when the term “gated community” meant something completely different than it does now. Both families met an old man at the gate and both asked him, with some trepidation, what the people were like in this town. He asked both families what the people had been like in the town they had left. The first family replied, “Awful. Mean, not sociable, gossipy, and petty.” The second family said, “Oh, they were the best neighbors. Lovely people, generous, and kind. We were sorry to leave them.”
To both families, the old man replied, “You will probably find the people here to be just like the ones you left.”
We have lived together in two homes in two neighboring cities, on one boat in a marina for years, and for various lengths of time in a hundred or more different ports and I can tell you that we’ve had the best neighbors. We have enjoyed lovely generous and kind people and we were sorry to say farewell when we parted for different shores. Since we’ve moved to St. Augustine, I’ve had my issues with bureaucracy, hiring practices, and one particular physician—yet both EW and I have often mentioned that we’ve not met an unfriendly person in this town.
We thank all of you, those friends and loved ones from home who continue to send hugs, prayers, support, love, funny memes, and puppy pictures. Every one of those helps more than we can say. We thank our sailing and cruising buddies and are amazed at how many have reached out to us with advice, hugs, love, and commiseration, not condemnation. Folks have reached out via email, Facebook, phone, and the blog. Every message has been a welcome reminder of the many wonderful people we’ve met and hope to anchor near again.
And to those who have been able to offer immediate assistance, we are speechless with gratitude and humbled by your selfless acts.
Before the storm, I received a call from a man I’ve never met. He and his wife moved here from St. Thomas, where his wife worked with Barbara Hart the First. She works in a shop near us here in St. Augustine and I’ve stopped in to chat a few times. That’s it. Still, they called us before the storm to make sure we had a safe place to stay.
Also before the storm, I texted Kristen and Rocky about their bike. EW has been using her in their absence and we weren’t sure what to do with her before the storm. Both responded quickly and succinctly, something along the lines of, “Forget the DAMN BIKE!” The “damn bike” did fine. Here she is.
Musicians whom EW met only months ago have offered rooms, storage space, local insight, and more.
Kirk and Nancy showed up at the boat when EW optimistically decided to get a shovel and try to move La Luna a bit, and yet Kirk had met EW exactly once at a music meet up. They ended up taking me to Home Depot, and then to the marina while I changed clothes, and back to La Luna so I could help EW.
Matt and Lisa just moved to St. Augustine for their retirement, just in time for Hurricane Matthew. Matt is a long-time reader of this blog and dropped by to see me in the pirate store a couple of weeks ago. They were biking the area two days after the storm to check out the damage when they ran across us taking a walk to decompress and search (unsuccessfully) for coffee. They invited us home for strong, hot coffee.
We had warned Matt and Lisa that we’d have to dash when Mike called. Mike’s brother’s boat is on the hard next to ours and Mike offered to help us get the outboard off our boat and onto our dinghy at the marina. Mike called just as EW finished his coffee, so Matt drove us to La Luna to meet Mike, and then stayed and helped as we removed outboards from two vessels and a dinghy from Phosphorescence and load them into Mike’s truck.
Our dear friend, Cathy, messaged me on Monday that she would like to come down that afternoon to see us and the boat and to bring a “couple of meals”. Knowing that a hug from her was just what I needed and just what she needed to do, I accepted. She arrived at three with a huge dish of baked chicken goodness, a meatloaf, water, home-made chocolate chip cookies, and some healthy snacks. She had cooked all morning. I cried on her shoulder.
Friends we met in Panama have offered their boat for the two weeks they will be gone. Another friend from Panama, now back home on the West Coast started a string on a sailing net to come up with ideas for moving the boat. Really smart boating folk, including the owner of a Maine boatyard, and an engineer from Freeport have contacted us with valid ideas and concerns and with questions so that they can provide even better ideas.
And through it all, we get the Facebook comments, phone calls, and emails sending us love, encouragement, fun family news (my newest great nephew is just as cute as his cousins with a lot more hair), and photos of puppies, foliage, and family.
And I haven’t even mentioned our hosts. First Deb and Joe during the storm. It was never any question that if we had to leave the boat we could and would go to their home. We’re always very comfortable with them and they are gracious and welcoming, even when we learned the marina launches wouldn’t operate on Thursday and we had to invade their home a day early. We enjoyed our hurricane visit and were grateful for their tact and kindness when we discovered La Luna hard aground. We could have stayed with them this week, but EW and I needed to be closer to the action (as much as we enjoy “Camp Elkton”).
One post on Facebook we had offers of housing, including Laura and Malcolm whom we last saw in Panama. Jae-p and Tim were also very quick to offer and since they are on the dock at the City Marina, they “won”. I’m not sure we are a prize, but Jae-p has been incredibly gracious to two people she knows only socially. (She’s a very social person, though.) We have gotten along very well—at least I hope she thinks so. EW and I have enjoyed getting to know her and I’m having fun living on a catamaran. (But not that much fun, Jaime Pomeroy.)
Finally, the St. Augustine Cruiser’s Net has been an invaluable source of comfort, information, hugs and love, and assistance. Lisa Wilson Tarlecky and Michelle Bennett (neither of whom are currently living in St. Augustine) continue to provide information about what is happening in St. Augustine on a real time basis, helped us find resources, and allowed us to connect with others whose boats went walkabout. This is a well-run and useful Facebook User’s Group, and we would have been lost without it.
We would have been lost without all of you --- none of whom even once said “I told you so.” or “What the hell were you doing?” Thank you.
People are wonderful.
The lovely couple above in blue, are Joe and Deb, partners in crime and owners of "Camp Elkton".
That's Matt, under Phospheressence's dinghy, doing much more than he signed up for when he offered us coffee.
Below, one of two photos of me. Clearly, post-hurricane is not my best look.
To the right is Cathy, documenting our “adventure”.