Wishing you and yours the best for the coming year.
It was a year ago that my husband Jeffrey’s shop burned down. For us, that loss lay a long shadow across the year. We have no complaiants about the cooperation of the insurance company. However the time the claim has taken has been absolutely amazing! Imagine trying to remember, catelogue and price a lifetime collection of tools: Jeffrey had everything — the best for every job. And imagine seeing something that needs fixing, starting for the tool only to realize, yet again, that tool is gone. (See post, April, 2010).
The jeep body (on a boat trailer) after the fire.
Jeffrey is beginning to decide on the form a new structure might take. He is still finishing a guest cabin for a neighbor on the island. When that project is complete, he will probably start on the new shop.
Although it was badly burned, Jeffrey chose to continue to restore his 1944 jeep and the progress on the jeep restoration has been giving him pleasure.
A photo of the jeep several years ago
In March Jeffrey was invited to go on an amazing sailing trip which is chronicled in other sections of this blog (http://sophiagoestonorway.blogspot.com/ for a summary replete with photos). The days on the water cannot be described, nor the easy pleasures of sailing with members of his family. However he waxes eloquent in his discriptions of Panama, crossing the canal, passing Haiti, Cuba and staying briefly in Caicos before coming back for our trip, already planned, for Greece.
After a rough night on the way north to Ireland (that’s Jeffrey on the floor).
There are more tales, after the Greek trip, when he rejoined Sophia in the Azores. On the trip north from there they had their best sailing times, gaining on their schedule. They arrived in time for a friend’s wedding in Ireland; had rough weather past the Isle of Mann, an all too brief trip across the Caledonia Canal through Scotland, threaded their way through the oil fields of the North Sea and the off-islands of the Noreigan coast. They arrived in to Oslo, on August 15. The date we had heard set back in March. It was truly a trip of a lifetime with only the most minor glitches. To continue Karl and Rachel’s year in Norway go to http://www.alifeinnorway.blogspot.com/
Jeffrey and Sophia, The Caledonia Canal; Threading through the Islets of Southern Norway
In the middle of Jeffrey’s trip was the highlight of my year, the trip to Greece with my youngest son, James, wife Kathleen, Caledonia, 8, and Palina, 10. This was truly merry and bright.
I don’t know when I have enjoyed family more, laughed more, just thoroughly enjoyed myself more.
Returning to Greece after ten years away was much better than I had expected. I feared I would have fogotten too much of the language, too much would have changed and I would no longer feel the acceptance that had meant so much.
the girls with my Greek “daughter,” Potheti
Instead, particularly on Amorgos, I was welcomed with a love that was astonishing. One dear man claimed, “Karolina, you are part of our history.” Another, “They still talk of you and of your groups. You hear them boast, ‘I had some of Karolina’s first group stay with me!'” The surprising thing to realize was that while the trips to Greece gave many artist-firends a unique experience, our presence also changed the perception of what tourist-guests could be.
I was only home a day when asked if our grandson Parker could come “for a while.” He was welcome. The while stretched to Jeffrey’s return the end of August and continued with enrollment in Orcas High School as a freshman. Jeffrey and I made a strong committment to give him a home where he felt welcome and could flourish. He seemed to be fitting into the school, the community, making friends, and even getting passing grades after a rough start in the academic area when he made some bad decisions and …. we don’t know how it is going to work out. Our biggest wish for the new year is that his problems are resolved and he is able to continue to work toward reaching his potential.
Jeffrey and I both feel blessed with work we enjoy, friends we enjoy, good health and our marvelous remote-but-near island where life has a rhythm set by the rise and fall of the tides and the direction and strength of the winds. From our little island we wish you peace and joy for the coming year. I would like to think I am counted among your friends.