OK, let’s talk about Judith’s Folly. Well, it wasn’t a ‘folly’, really—at the time it seemed like an intelligent although impetuous decision. What I did was purchase some land in the Bahamas: I became a co-owner, along with my friend Lynn, of a fisherman’s cottage/artist studio on the Bahamian out-island of Eleuthera, in the village of Tarpum Bay.
Of course, the building needs a lot of work—the previous owner died before he could complete the conversion project, leaving the structure roofless and without a second story. However, last summer we found a builder and got the plans approved—we are ready to start. (Actually, we are long passed ‘ready to start’, but that’s another story…) So, this spring was the time to corral our builder and chain him to the rebar and get started. We were on a roll!
Let’s face it, Gertie, Eleuthera is not happening for you this spring! You might as well cancel your plane tickets and tell Lynn that she’ll have to take on Daniel the Builder all by herself, because you are not going to get on an airplane on February 10, or any time for months thereafter.
I haven’t really written about this subject before because it is such a huge disappointment in my life—all of the planning and delighted daydreams of sunshine and blue water and the sleepy village, and the miles and miles of deserted sand beaches. These dreams were where I went when the Blue People were hovering over me in the operating room, and the Yellow People were snapping on their gloves before entering my isolation ward.
I pretended that the swish of the Night People in the hallway was really the sound of waves against the pink sand, and that the occasional thump of a door slamming was really a falling coconut. As I placed my order for dinner from the hospital menu, I thought about the 3 PM visits to the Tarpum Bay fishing dock where we selected the fresh-caught fish we would have for dinner, followed by Miss Mary’s coconut cake.
I didn’t want to talk about all of this—the thoughts bring only sadness and disappointment, and sharing my feelings seemed to make them all too real. But a couple of days ago, someone here at OC asked about the beautiful pictures on my laptop screen saver, and I began to share a little of my Eleuthera dreams. “Not this year,” I said. “But soon.”
Today I took my usual morning jaunt to the physical therapy room, and begin my slow and sometimes painful workouts. I was squeezing the rubber ball between my knees when Kristen the Therapist came in the room and said, “Wow! I love your palm tree!” I had no clue what she was talking about, so I nodded politely and resumed squeezing. It wasn’t until she wheeled me back to my bedroom that I saw it: a six-foot palm tree tacked on my door! I open the door and ye gods and little fishes: There are tropical fish and parrots hanging from the ceiling, and lanterns, pineapples, and banners everywhere. Even my bedside table has a grass skirt and there is a huge and garish parrot hanging over the toilet.
Well, who can be sad and feel sorry for herself in this gala environment? Not I! Eleuthera will still be there next year—and in the meantime, the OC staff has given me the greatest hug I could ever wish for.