Saturday, October 13, 2018

The power of grief

July 1st 2017 - before we knew he had ALS

Anyone who has spent any time around Lawrie and I, has heard the stories about our years as volunteer ambulance attendants and firefighters in a small Canadian community similar to Isla Mujeres.

Over time we developed a very black sense of humour about death. 

It was our protection, our coping mechanism. 

When you frequently take friends on their last ride, you need a way to deal with the grief.

“It happens to everyone,” I would say with a shrug.

Lawrie’s favourite was, “no one gets out of life alive.”

It’s what you do when you are a firefighter, an ambulance attendant, a nurse, a doctor, a caregiver, a hospice worker, a police officer, a mortician, an undertaker, a medical examiner, or anyone working with the dead or dying. You cope or you turn to drugs, alcohol, and physical abuse of family members.

Belatedly, after Lawrie’s recent death, I learned how deep the pain can be when you lose your lover, your spouse, your adventure partner and your best friend.

I was very familiar with grief. My dad died when I was seventeen, but our family didn’t talk about it. It was always the undiscussed elephant in the room. My mom died when I was thirty-six. She had been completely miserable since my dad’s death, so in a small way it was a blessing that she didn’t have to suffer any longer.

And now I understand her grief, her anger, her pain.

Every single day I miss Lawrie’s killer-gorgeous smile, his touch, his voice.

I miss his laughter and good humour. He never saw the negative, only the positive. I miss the smell of him. I kept his bottle of d'Issey just so that I can remember.

I miss him cruising around the Soggy Peso bar on Isla Mujeres, at least once a week, regaling the newcomers with his stories of living in paradise. I admit, I had heard the stories a few hundred times and eventually tuned him out. Now, I desperately wish I had a video of the Social Butterfly doing his meet and greet and making newbies feel welcome.

I miss his never-ending need for adventure, and another damn British car. I can’t tell you how many times I cursed the 1991 DBS V8 Aston Martin, nicknamed Ashley, for just stopping with no warning. The engine was so huge the gas would boil out and she would stop. Eventually after she had cooled down, she would consent to continue our journey.

I miss him asking me, “Where are you and Sparky going this morning?” He always wanted to know in case I had a mechanical problem with the golf cart. Sometimes I would respond, “For heaven’s sake, sweetie, it's a five mile long island. I can't get lost.” But he had to know, every single day where I was headed. I really miss someone caring that much about me.

I miss bringing his morning coffee to him in bed for most of those thirty-eight years, and recently being reminded, daily, that he like more caramel syrup drizzled on his coffee than I did.

I miss him noticing that the container of sugar was getting low, and invariably he would ask me, “Do we have more sugar?” He wouldn’t drink his coffee without three teaspoons of sugar.

I miss his company at mealtime, and I even miss his quirky dislike of most vegetables especially broccoli, asparagus and Brussel sprouts.

I miss that he refused to eat foods that started with ‘y’ – because his dad didn’t like them. Think about that one: yoghurt, and yams. That’s all there was in our Canadian food world at that time that started with ‘y’.

I miss listening to his frequent chatty telephone conversations to his son, his grandsons, his sister, his brother, old friends and new friends. He also had weekly conversations with a feisty woman, Edie Parker, whom he has always referred to as his ex-almost-mother-in-law. She is the second wife of his ex-father-in-law. She is healthy, alert, lives in her own home and still drives. She will be ninety-seven on her next birthday. Edie is a little pissed off that Lawrie is gone, and she’s still here.

I miss him teasing his then-teenage-son, John, and later his two grandsons about anything that would make teenage boys squirm and blush.

I miss his company for evening cocktails. I loved it when he could still pour me my evening glass of wine. I miss being able to reach across the bed and hug him. I even miss his snoring!

I miss his daily proposal to me, “Will you marry me?” He asked me every single day for thirty-eight years. But most of all I miss dancing with him. That’s how we fell in love, dancing.

To our many friends who have lost their loved ones, I apologize.

I had no idea how difficult it would be.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mañana doesn't mean tomorrow ..... it's just means not today! Updated Oct 2018

2014 Oct 7th, buoy headed our way
At sunrise, on October 7th 2014, I noticed a small green light blinking on the ocean just south of our house, flashing on and off at regular intervals.  

Well, that needs to be investigated. My camera has a decent lens so I zoomed in for a better look; it was a huge marker buoy drifting free, and bobbing its way north towards our beach. 

2014 Oct 7th, buoy down and rolling across coral
Fifteen minutes later it ran aground, tipped over, and ponderously rolled in the waves until it was stuck about twenty feet from shore. We emailed a friend who knew how to contact the naval base to advise them of the problem.  

A group of marinas (sailors) arrived, a non-commissioned officer and his crew, to check out the buoy.  

Then the sleek navy cutter arrived cruising back and forth in the deep water on the other side of the reef, unable to hook a line on the buoy due to the increased size of the waves, and the shallow water inside the reef. 

2014 waiting for a decision   
The weather turned foul so we invited the guys to take shelter on our patio, offering them coffee and snacks while they waited for a decision from higher-up. 

The navy bosses were in communication with the harbour master and two employees arrived mid-afternoon to check the situation.  

2014 Oct 7th, removing the valuable beacon

One lucky guy was designated to retrieve the valuable GPS beacon.  The ocean is very warm in October, but dressed in protective gear it was a bit of a struggle for him to wade into the thigh deep water and remove the heavy beacon, still transmitting its location at 21 14.5 N and 86 44.1 W.  

It is good thing the beacon was removed, or we could have had ships trying to take a position reading off of our house.  We envisioned an unscheduled cruise ship visit, similar to the Costa Concordia that ran aground in Italy in 2012.

2014 October 7th, Marinas and Lynda
By noon we were serving ham or chicken sandwiches to the on-shore crew complete with a choice of coffee or pop and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. It was a pretty good gig, hanging out with us while the jejes decide what to do with the marker buoy.  Around three in the afternoon the officer in charge flashed us a big friendly smile and said that the weather had become too rough and the cutter was not going to be able to pull the marker buoy back out to sea. 

2014 Oct 7th, Sparky on left Tommy on right 
“We’ll come back mañana, or when the weather calms down,” he assured us. 

“Si, claro. Okay, no problem.”
Smiles and handshakes all around, and everyone departed: October 7th 2014.  

Yep, four years ago last week, and we still have a huge piece of rusting scrap iron rolling around in our neighbourhood. 

2015 October 11th, still waiting for removal
Back in 2014, I started taking annual photos of the life and times of the navigational buoy.

For the first few weeks the air stank of rotting sea creatures, until our neighbours helpfully hired a young friend to scrape the dying barnacles and mussels from the exposed bottom.  

So how big is this thing?  It has a six foot diameter, and without wading into the water with a tape measure to get the exact measurements, we think it is about fifteen to eighteen feet tall.  It’s big and it’s heavy.

2016 October, pointed straight at our casa. 
We had considered decorating it up for various holiday celebrations:  Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Independence Day. 

We have had friends offer to paint it with cool designs. One graffiti 'artist' did add his tag, but thankfully the weather removed the mess within a few weeks.

No one was allowed to remove, or move it, or even consider cutting it up.  It is federal property, but the feds don’t want it, the navy doesn’t want it and the harbour master doesn’t want it.  

2017 rolling in big waves from Hurricane Irma 
The first week or two that the buoy was here it moved around a bit, a little to the north, a little to the south, ever closer to shore until it is now half out of the water and stuck between two rocky outcroppings.  Our biggest concern is not esthetics, but of safety.  A big storm could turn this thing into a missile and shoot it straight at our house, knocking out walls and ripping down support columns. Or, conversely it could be swept out to sea during a hurricane becoming a dangerous navigational hazard, unlit, unmarked, and big enough to punch a hole in a large ship.

2017 September waves Hurricane Irma in Florida
We know it is not the fault of the folks that work for the navy or the harbour master. 

We have the greatest respect for them. They are willing, and helpful. 

The decision came from higher up the pay-scale ladder.It was just not in the budget.  

2017 October TS Nate now at Punta Piedra
In September 2017, when Hurricane Irma turned away from us, towards Florida, we had several days of big waves. 

We watched with trepidation as the buoy pounded against the three-foot high ridge of coral and sand protecting our house from the floating hunk of metal. 

At sundown it was pointed like a missile right at our casa. When we checked again at sunrise, it had bounced over the rocks moving north and stopping on the beach in front of Maravilla Caribe. 

2017 Oct - Amy, Punta Piedra having fun with buoy
A short time later Tropical Storm Nate moved the buoy a little further north to Punta Piedra's beach. 

Amy Canto decided to have fun with it, instead of obsessing over the unsightly hunk of metal. She made a 'man' by stuffing a pair of pants and a shirt with sargassum seaweed. His head was a round white fishing float, with a sombrero plopped on top.

Juan sat in an old beach chair inside the buoy with his bottle of tequila and a plastic Halloween pumpkin. He provided lots of chuckles for her guests, until another storm washed him away. I found pieces of Juan all along the beach, pants, hat, and head. Amy reassembled him, but the winter storms just wouldn't leave the poor guy alone. Eventually he disappeared. 

2018 Oct 8th moved again during Hurricane Michael 
Then on October 7th 2018 the weather forecast predicted that Michael, a Category 1 Hurricane, would pass between Isla and Cuba. The worrying and wondering started again. Where would the damn buoy land this time? 

Fortunately for us, Hurricane Michael skidded past Isla Mujeres doing very little damage, but it was a category 5 by the time it battered the Florida panhandle. All we can do is hope everyone is safe, healthy, and only a little wet. 

The remnants of the navigational buoy are a tattered shell of the heavy structure that arrived four years ago, but it is still capable of floating. We currently have a disturbance forming just south of Mexico, and Tropical Storm Nadine in mid-Atlantic. Hurricane season doesn't end until November 1st, and then we can breath a sigh of relief. 

In the meantime, Mañana, doesn’t mean tomorrow, it just means not today.


Isla Mujeres Mystery series

A big thank you to one of my favourite authors, Jinx Schwartz for her review of Tormenta Isla, Book #3 in the Isla Mujeres Mystery series:

Jinx Schwartz author of the
Hetta Coffey series
Author @JinxSchwartz
Reasons I enjoyed this book: Action-packed, Easy-to-read, Entertaining, Page-turner
Tormenta Isla: Murder and mayhem on a tiny island in paradise (Isla Mujeres Mystery Book 3)
Lynda L. Lock
Crime Fiction, Action and Adventure
A mysterious disappearance of a local man and the looming threat of hurricanes headed towards the peaceful Caribbean island of Isla Mujeres create havoc in the lives of Jessica and her rescue mutt, Sparky.
Available as e-books on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks
Available as paperback on Isla Mujeres or via Amazon

Follow me on Bookbub

Sunday, September 30, 2018

It’s a sweet, sweet life living by the salty sea – unless it’s metal!!

Still standing 2010.    

A formerly intricate statue lay in a pile of unrecognizable rust. 

We had first seen the still upright-structure in September 2010, when we visited the sculpture garden located at the southern tip of Isla Mujeres Mexico.
Reading the plaques at the base of each statue we had noted the artists were from various European countries as well as Mexico.  
In 2010 many of the statues had weathered the abuse of salt, water, and wind but two or three had already collapsed. 

Same statue - September 2018

From what I remember, the garden was created a few years earlier with the intention of the showcasing metal sculptures the first year, wooden statues the second year, glass creations the third year. 
But according to my local source the original artists didn’t get paid and the entire project came to an abrupt halt.
A few weeks ago I decided to take Sparky for a walk, and see how the sculptures were holding up. Not well in many cases.

Sparky - September 2018
Neither have the wooden railings that line the pathway leading down to the famous, if somewhat battered sign declaring the location as the most eastern point in Mexico. 
This is the first place in Mexico the rising sun strikes. The location where still-partying New Year’s Eve revelers toast the dawn of the new-year.
I have many photographs of the railings, painted a brilliant turquoise blue, then black, and then a muddy brown. Now the railing are almost non-existent, broken or missing altogether.  

Punta Sur railings - 2012
This is Mexico. You are responsible for your own actions. You can’t sue anyone if you get hurt.  I repeatedly remind visiting family members not to lean on railings, any railings, there is no guarantee that they will hold your weight.  The inside of the wooden railings could be hollowed out by termite infestations, but painted to look pretty.
This country’s safety standards are somewhere back in the 1940’s or 50’s as far as most North Americans are concerned. In a weird way I find it refreshing as opposed to the over-protective, litigation-prone society that we left behind. 
September 2018 - statue garden
The southern tip of the island is also famous for two more things – it is the highest area in the exceptionally flat State of Quintana Roo, and it has an authentic Mayan ruin probably used as a lighthouse or watchtower structure. 
The centuries old ruin has survived storms, salt, and water far better than the modern day metal sculptures.

May 2018 - Mayan ruin in background


Isla Mujeres Mystery series

A big thank you to one of my favourite authors, Jinx Schwartz for her review of 
Tormenta Isla, Book #3 in the Isla Mujeres Mystery series:

Jinx Schwartz
Author @JinxSchwartz  Click here to connect to Jinx
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Action-packed Easy-to-read Entertaining Page-turner

Photo credit - Linda Madden
Tormenta Isla:
Murder and mayhem on a tiny island in paradise (Isla Mujeres Mystery Book 3) 
Lynda L. Lock
Crime Fiction, Action And Adventure
A mysterious disappearance of a local man and the looming threat of hurricanes headed towards the peaceful Caribbean island of Isla Mujeres create havoc in the lives of Jessica and her rescue mutt, Sparky.

Available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks and paperback here on the island or via Amazon.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Paradise Lost - Lawrie Lock March 3rd 1942 - September 3rd 2018

Lawrie and I smooching at Sergio's
Lawrie discovered as a teenager that dancing was the best way to make a girl fall in love!
Anne Murray: Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
We danced to this song on our wedding day

I'll always remember, the song they were playing
The first time we danced, and I knew
As we swayed to the music, and held to each other
I fell in love with you

Could I have this dance, for the rest of my life
Could you be my partner, every night
When we're together, it feels so right
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life

I'll always remember, that magic moment
When I held you close, to me
As we moved together, I knew forever
You're all I'll ever need

Could I have this dance, for the rest of my life
Could you be my partner, every night
When we're together, it feels so right
Could I have this dance, for the rest of my life

Lawrie dancing with the carnival troupe
Elmo-Lawrie dancing and waving at local kids

Lawrie and daughter-in-law Maia

Michelle Wright - another favourite

I just realized tonight
You're not like all the others
Till now I never wanted love I only wanted lovers
Now me and you have things to do
And no time to be wrong
'cause life is just a circle and the circle ain't that long

You get one time around
One roll of the dice
One walk through the garden
One quick look at life
The time that you lose
Can never be found
The world keeps turning
You get one time around
You get one time around

Lawrie and his sister Linda Grierson
Brother in law Richard and Lawrie
John (Travolta) Lawrie Lock 

Dance on my love, dance on!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Mi romance de cuarenta años con Lawrie Lock (Spanish version of yesterday's blog post)

Normalmente se considera el paraíso como un lugar.

Para mí, el paraíso es una persona; mi esposo, compañero de aventura, viajero por el  mundo, amante y mi mejor amigo – Lawrie Lock. Nos conocimos en Junio del 1975, y para 1978, estaba completamente enamorada, mucho antes que él si diera cuenta que yo era mujer.

Estoy flotando en nuestra alberca de Isla Mujeres mientras planeo este artículo en mi mente, estoy mirando a Lawrie durmiendo en la recamara recientemente construida en la planta baja. Él está en la etapa final de “Rapid Onset ALS” o “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” una enfermedad horrible que apareció en su cuerpo al final del año 2017.

´El está descansando en su cama estilo hospital que  se ajusta eléctricamente. Este hombre que ha tenido un rango de carreras diversas y negocios, es casi incapaz, solamente tiene el uso extremamente limitado de su brazo derecho. Su habilidad para hablar está disminuyendo rápidamente aunque su mente está activa y agudo todavía. También tiene dificultad para tragar. Su maldito cuerpo no hará caso a su mente.
Sparky, Lawrie y Max disfrutando un abrazo en el patio

 Construimos esta casa con las recamaras arriba nunca considerando que uno de nosotros no podría subir la escalera de caracol de 19 escalones al segundo piso.  Estuvimos muy orgullosos de poder subir y bajar la escalera una docena de veces o mas – haciendo cosas de la casa – sin cansarnos ni quejarnos de las articulaciones.

Nuestra recamara grande del segundo piso con su terraza amplia cubierta con techo de palapa fue nuestro escondite, nuestro nido.

Fue un lugar para disfrutar la belleza del Mar Caribe para platicar acerca de nuestro día , o quizás solo disfrutar una copa de vino y la comodidad familiar de estar cerca uno al otro. Hemos compartido este patio con nuestros gatos y perros; Tommy, Chica, Sparky, Perla, and Max.

 El lado de la familia de Lawrie
John Lawrie Lock nació el 3 de Marzo 1942 en Winnipeg Manitoba. Ha vivido la mayor parte de su vida en Columbia Británica.

Cada persona que conoce a Lawrie, mantiene una parte diferente de este hombre en su corazón - todos con memorias diferentes de cada etapa de su vida.

Sus padres John y Evelyn Lock, hermanos Linda Grierson y Richard Lock y sus familias.

Su hijo amoroso John, nietos Ethan, Evan, Caitlin y nuera Maia.
La familia de mi hermana Val 

Mis hermanas y sus familias en conjunto con las familias mezcladas de sobrinos y sobrinas, sobrinos nietos, sobrinas nietas.

Los viejos amigos, algunos a quienes Lawrie ha conocido desde que tenía 15 años. Los compañeros del trabajo que valoran su amistad y su perspectiva optimista de la vida.

Y los nuevos amigos que hemos descubierto desde  que nos mudamos a Isla Mujeres.

Cada persona piensa en imágenes diferentes de este hombre increíble con una sonrisa gigante.

Él tiene la habilidad para hacerte sentir que eres importante, que tus opiniones importan. Que tu eres su amigo.

Francia, Un tour de Europa en un Aston Martin
 Algunos lo recordarán como un hombre de carros, un hombre obsesionado con los carros clásicos, especialmente los carros temperamentales ingleses como los Aston Martin, Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Bently, y Triumph.

Otros lo recordarán como un voluntario bombero dedicado y asistente de ambulancia sirviendo por diecisiete años en Bowen Island en Columbia Británica.

Jefe de bomberos Lawrie Lock Bowen Island
Él fue Jefe de bomberos por los últimos seis años antes de mudarnos a la ciudad de Vancouver. Él también fue el representante del área para el Distrito Regional de Gran Vancouver a mediados de los años 1970 y el presiente para la cámara de comercio varias veces.

Algunas de sus multiples carreras incluyendo ser gerente  de algunas tiendas de negocios de la familia como Blink Bonnie Cosmetics, y Sight & Sound. Sight and Sound vendía instrumentos musicales, discos (sí 45’s y LPs), cámaras y televisiones. Sus familiares y él conocieron a celebridades como Bob Lummin, Conway Twitty, Ike and Tina Turner Bobby Curtola, Stevie Wonder, Roy Orbison, Lulu, April Stevens and Nino Tempo, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, John Gary, Santiago. (Las estrellas muy famosas a mediados de los 1960. Chécalos en sus celulares inteligentes.)

También Lawrie fue el representante de ventas para Panasonic por la mayor parte de Columbia Británica a principios de 1970. Y trabajó para la compañía que cesó su actividad actualmente la tienda departamental Woodwards.  

En Prince George, él estaba encargado de la construcción y las operaciones de la mueblería Ron Newson.

Se mudó a Bowen Island en 1974 con su primera esposa Pat e hijo joven y era el agente en Chevron Oil y el encargado de la gasolinera en Bowen Island.

Cuando nos juntamos a principios del año 1980, él inmediatamente pensó en varios nuevos negocios para que empecemos.

Bajo del nombre Snug Cove Enterprises, éramos dueños de Rusty Duck Antiques, Howe Sound Freight, y un mini-almacén. Glen Wolfe fue el encargado del servicio de reparaciones de autos en nuestra propiedad rentada cerca del estacion de bomberos.

Lynda manejando el camión de Rusty Duck Antiques
Me junté con el departamento de bomberos de Bowen Island en 1980 como la primera, y la única bombera  hasta ahora.  ¡Nadie iba a pelear con Lawrie sobre mi participación al departamento porque el era un trabajador por mucho tiempo del departamento!

También obtuvimos contratos del Distrito Regional de Gran Vancouver por la colección municipal de basura en adición al contrato por el mantenimiento y desarrollo de Crippen Regional Park.

¡Sí, es correcto! Él y yo con un empleado mas, incluyendo a su hijo John durante sus vacaciones del verano, levantamos los botes de basura por 8 años en Bowen Island.

Mil paradas cada lunes por ocho años. ¡Con sol, lluvia, granizo o nieve!

Mientras los amigos adolescentes del hijo de Lawrie estaban disfrutando sus vacaciones muy tranquilas, el hijo John aprendió a manejar camiones grandes de basura, tractores cortagama y un barco de carga Sealander.

Lawrie también fue el gerente del proyecto para la nueva primaria de Bowen Island en ese entonces y completó otro proyecto grande de una escuela en Telegraph Creek en el norte congelado de la Columbia Británica en 1980.

En su tiempo “libre” a Lawrie le gustaba restaurar y pintar los carros clásicos como una manera de relajarse. Una vez, nos sentamos con un lapicero y papel intentando de hacer una lista, incluyendo la marca, el modelo y el año de los vehículos que tenía, pero nos rendimos cuando el numero total alcanzó las centenas.

En los años antes de las llaves con alarmas (para indicar donde está el carro) muchas veces saldríamos de un centro comercial perplejos en el estacionamiento preguntándonos que vehículo manejábamos ese día. ¿Un carro? ¿Un camión? ¿Un SUV? ¿Qué color? ¿Qué marca?

John and TR6
John heredó un poco del amor para los carros de su papá, siendo dueño de unos carros interesantes cuando era adolescente, un Chevy de 1955, una Barracuda, un Buick convertible grande y negro y un Triumph deportivo rojo TR6. 

Ahora John prefiere montar las motocicletas de Harely Davidson en vez de los carros. (No estoy segura quien está mas loco, Papá o hijo.)

En Vancouver, mientras yo era la supervisora del Centro de Control SkyTrain, Lawrie y yo decidimos vender nuestras varias compañías  en Bowen Island.

Entonces, él intentó su primera vez para jubilarse.

Su jubilación duró exactamente 26 días antes de que estuviera super aburrido y me estaba volviendo loca.

Luego, él consiguió un trabajo con Air Limo manejando una limusina gigante gris. El vehículo muy largo fue demasiado grande y pesado para los frenos. Lawrie siempre era un conductor muy bueno, anticipando problemas antes de que pasaran pero a veces ese maldito carro fue muy problemático.

Él me ha dicho un montón de historias cómicas que podrían llenar un libro sobre personas regulares celebrando eventos especiales incluyendo las travesuras de varias celebridades, conductores de carreras, estrellas del cine y músicos. Es un libro que no era una prioridad mientras lidiamos su crisis de salud.

Desde Vancouver, nos mudamos al interior de Columbia Britántica, al Valle Okanagan, cuando empezó a ser famoso por el vino, vino verdaderamente extraordinariamente malo.  Actualmente el valle tiene mas de cuatrocientas bodegas, algunas que consistentemente ganan premios internacionales.

15,000 galletas para los huéspedes!
Mientras vivíamos en la región de Okanagan empezamos un boutique premiado Castle Rock Bed and Breakfast, sirviendo desayunos muy grandes de cualquier cosa que querían los huéspedes y regalándoles galletas horneadas cada día. Él era el master chef. Mientras yo era la mesera torpe que olvidaba todo, momentos cómicos.

Cuando su hermana Linda y cuñado Richard Grierson se mudaron al Valle Okanagan en 1994 nosotros 4 empezamos la cervecería Tin Whistle Brewing Company, que actualmente existe todavía, preparando “ales” del estilo de Inglaterra.

Junto con Lawrie, contratamos a su hijo John y al sobrino Jim Stansfield para ser nuestros representantes de ventas para nuestros productos. Richard, Linda, Lawrie y yo hicimos todo que teníamos que hacer: la contabilidad, preparando la cerveza, embotellando, la venta de la tienda, publicidad, limpieza, pedidos, festivales de cerveza, pruebas de tiendas de licor, y, y, y… Hasta que sus padres de ochenta años estaban pegando las etiquetas en las botellas.

Ales mas Kiler Bee en adición a Durazno y Crema
Para promocionar nuestra cervecería asistimos al Festival de Cerveza en Victoria en 1995. Lawrie estaba tan emocionado sobre el evento que le sugirió a nuestra buena amiga Donna Briggs que Penticton necesitaba un festival de cerveza. 

Donna y Lawrie combinaron sus energías y realizaron la idea. Lawrie estaba en la junta directiva por varios años.

La junta directiva que es muy capaz permite que siga el festival año tras año. El Festival de Ale Okanagan está celebrando su festival numero veintidós o veintitrés.

Lawrie limpiando los drenajes en la cervecería
Eventualmente, nos dimos cuenta de que ser dueños de una cervecería fue una experiencia de aprendizaje muy intensa, con muchísimo trabajo físico. Físicamente, movimos, cargamos, y cambiamos de lugar muchas  toneladas de grano y botellas y barriles. Nosotros, los 4 socios Lawrie, Richard, Linda y yo, teníamos entre los finales de los cuarentas hasta a mediados de los cincuentas. ¿Qué diablos estábamos pensando? Por fin, nos pusimos inteligentes y vendimos la compañía en 1998 a su dueño actual.

Todavía Lawrie no pudo aceptar la jubilación, así que su próxima carrera era ser gerente de restaurantes en el área de Penticton. Primero fue Villa Rosa, luego lo contrataron para ser gerente de Magnum’s on the Lake, y finalmente lo contrataron para ser el gerente general de Hillside Estate Winery y The Bistro en el distrito de vino actualmente famoso de Narmata Bench.

Mientras él estaba ocupado con los restaurantes, regresé a la industria de hospitalidad, siendo gerente en los hoteles.

El ultimo trabajo de Lawrie fue en 2008. Era el Director de Operaciones para una urbanización de condos y hotel, el Skaha Beac Club que fue propuesto para la parte del sur de Penticton. Entonces, la crisis económica llegó a los Estados Unidos y los fondos para los proyectos desaparecieron por todo el mundo.

Estuvimos en México en ese entonces disfrutando 3 meses sabáticos de nuestros trabajos en Canadá, experimentando la vida en nuestra nueva casa de la playa.

Septiembre 2007- Patricio Yam, las llaves de nuestra casa

Él recibió una llamada de su jefe que era un buen amigo también.

“No tengas prisa para regresar a Canadá.” El hombre dijo, “Mi proyecto está muerto. Diviértete y regresa cuando estés  listo.”

Nos encogimos de hombros, no estábamos preocupados. Él tenía 67, yo tenía 58. No teníamos deudas.

Regresamos a Canadá el 10 de Marzo, saliendo de un país soleado y caloroso, llegando a nieve hasta las rodillas.

Lawrie me miró y dijo, “Por qué estamos haciendo esto?”

“¡No lo sé!” repliqué con una sonrisa grande.

Agosto 2018-Lawrie y John compartiendo un buen single malte
Y aquí estamos. Durante los últimos cuarenta años hemos viajado entre treinta y cuatro y treinta y cinco países – dependiendo de quien está contando.

Tenemos familias fuertes y amorosas y amistadas profundas de apoyo que me sostendrán a pesar del hueco grande y negro que me dejará en mi universo por su fallecimiento eventual.

Amaré a este hombre hasta mi ultimo respiro.

Paris con el hombre a quien amo

“La vida no es un viaje a la tumba con la intención de llegar a salvo en un cuerpo bonito y bien conservado, sino más bien patinar al costado, completamente agotado, totalmente desgastado, y proclamar en voz alta: ¡WOW-- ¡Qué paseo! "