My Dad was a simple man, and he would have fit right in, to this place. Some of the meals he cooked are no different than the ones I am learning to cook now, meals I never liked as a kid, but love now as an adult, so many of his ways are so similar to the ways of many of my neighbors and friends here. There are many times I wish I could show him how so many of the things he prepared us for are things that make me appreciate so much my life in this place. Years ago when he was diagnosed with a heavy illness, I was considering not taking my annual trip to Jamaica, his words to me were "Go, I will still be here when you come back child".
I will never forget that time, it was the early days of coming to Negril, Most times when I went on vacation I felt the need to wake up early and roam the country, from one end one day, to another direction next day. But this time we stayed at Sea Grapes Villas on the cliffs and Fun Holiday, I had booked both spots for the week in case I did not like one I had the other as a back up, well after checking into FH, we drove up to the cliffs to Sea Grape, it was during a time when the charters from STL came in late in the evening, after getting to that beautiful yard, and meeting the caretaker Juicy, and having the words" I am here for you, if you have need of anything, just ask" it was like a homecoming to a place that my parents would have both loved. My barometer for loving a place is if I can sleep there the first night without fear, it was just myself and my daughter on this trip, and I thought being on the cliffs at night might be a likke scary, but not after meeting Juicy and our security guy, Bentley, it was my first full night sleep after getting the news about my Dad. The time on the cliffs was one of meditating, praying, begging and pleading, crying and rest, acceptance and healing. It was also the time that I realised, you can come to Jamaica and just be. No Muss. I realised the healing effect this place had on me. It was also a turning point, to knowing where I wanted to spend the rest of my life in. We went back home and helped Daddy through his treatments all of us taking our times with him, for me the stories he told. the talks we had, sustain me sometimes even now. He encouraged me in most of my actions, always took my side in most things, was my best guy and my friend, he and my mother would have loved the decision I made. They taught and encouraged us to go for our dreams. I wear their names on my shoulder. And carry them in my Heart. Minnie Marie & James
BTW even after paying for Fun Holiday, we spent only one night there. When we finally went by to spend one night, as we walked in the young ladies in reception looked at us as though they were seeing ghosts, they told me the manager needed to speak with me, he came out and as though he were my father asked me where in heavens name had we been, he said they were about to phone the police, they feared that something had happened, it never occurred to me that my actions had worried them, I guess they felt responsible, which is also a reason, that for a few years I would stay a few days with them, and a few days on the cliffs. A random act of kindness and concern. The next morning after breakfast we decided to hang on the beach at FH, one of the boat guys asked if we would like to go out to the reef, my daughter was up for it, so we did, not sure why, but we all connected, a 45 minute boat ride turned into 2 hours, just reasoning, vibing, and watching the beauty of the day unfold. We had agreed on a price initially, but with the added time I knew I owed more, the captain looked at us both and said "no Mummy, it was our pleasure" I still gave him all the J's I had left in my pocket, another random act of kindness.
This trip was a time of sadness, that later turned into one of joy and healing, it was the first time I cried when it was time to leave. When our driver came to pick us up, the three new friends at SEa grapes all came out to tell us goodbye, I cried so profusely that Christine took me into her arms and let me weep, she said she understood what I was feeling and things would be alright, her prophecy turned out to be correct, my Dad healed and got a clean bill of health for a time.
I don't see this place as paradise through blind eyes, I see it as a Paradise, that has helped me to heal, and grow as a person.
I am Grateful, I am Blessed.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain