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Posts Tagged ‘Memoirs’


Hubby and I were a thing in college. (Yes, that would put us at 15 years of knowing each other, for those who are wondering). One evening, Hubby took me for a drive up to the Flatirons weaving a story on the way. He told me all about the spotted Snowy Owl and how, to the Native Americans, it represented freedom from bad dreams. He went on to tell me that the previous morning he had seen a Snowy Owl in the Flatirons while he was training (he was and still is a pretty serious martial artist, and used to wake before dawn to go up to the foothills and do forms). He wanted me to see it. Since owls are nocturnal, we were heading up there at night to see if we could see it again.

He pulled over to the side of road, we climbed out and started over boulders and through the trees until we reached the spot where Hubby had seen the owl. We were very quiet while he got out his flashlight and screened through the trees. I spotted something in a tree branch and whispered, “Stop! Go Back.” Sure enough, there was a beautiful Snowy Owl perched in a tree branch.

“Go on,” Hubby said, nudging me, “Get closer and see how near she will let you get.” (Are Snowy Owls dangerous? Didn’t even question it as I approached the tree.) I stepped closer, and closer and, surprisingly, the owl let me get quite close to her. So close, indeed, that I finally realized, inches from her and in the dark, that she was a stuffed Snowy Owl. Sitting on a nest of real red licorice ropes (my favorite treat in the world and where, oh where, can one find them these days?). I turn back to Hubby, shining the light directly in his face and see a sweet grin (sweet, meaning: I can’t believe you thought you were approaching a real Snowy Owl). After I collected my owl and licorice, I found him sitting on a big boulder with a bottle of champagne (that he had hidden in the bushes earlier). “Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said.

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I am afraid that some day when my memory starts fading, I will lose some of the memories that fuel me in dark times. Since I’m blogging now plenty about my children, I’m not concerned with these memories (though those keepsake memory books are only collecting dust– somewhere). I am concerned with the memories of those days pre-marriage and certainly pre-children. Remember? When life was so free that you could pack up your back pack and get on a bus to wherever whenever and not really care? So here is my first memory post, probably one of many as I get older and my memory fails me more and more.

I lived in Saint John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, for three summers. The summer between my junior and senior year in high school was my first and I was only there because my parents had just divorced and my mom was a lunatic looking for escape. “WHERE are we going? What about my volleyball camp?” I remeber complaining. Ahh, but did my tune change over the following two months. ANYWAY, this particular memory in not about my first trip with Mom, but with my second trip with my college friends during the summer of ’90. (Remember 1990? I don’t- remind me.)

One of my good friends, Robby, lived on his boat, a catamaran, and one evening a bunch of us decided to take the boat to Tortola (British V.I.) for the Full Moon Party at the Bamba Shack. (This is all for real, I promise.) The ride over was breathtaking, with the sun setting on one side of us and the moon rising on the other side, the sails tight, and rum punch in our hands. When we got close to Tortola, we didn’t want to deal with taking the boat through customs (e.i. paying folks off), so we anchored out about 100 yards, stripped off our only clothes we had with us, put them on top of our heads, and swam in with one arm.

The moon was up and full and glorious by now. We were wet, rumed up and ready to party. And party we did, feet in the sand and music all around. (There is nothing but the Bamba Shack on this island, that I could see, though the people must live somewhere.) At midnight, the famous mushroom tea was served. I had never taken mushrooms, and was scared and excited. But one sip of cow-dung raised mushrooms steeped in water was enough for me. After making a dramatic display of disgust, several friends came to the rescue and finished off my tea for me. Not wanting me to miss the fun, however, one friend brought me a shot of Bamba’s homemade rum (shot=12 oz. plastic cup). Well, being the sport I was, I downed the rum, and felt chunks of something slide down my throat. Hmmm….

About 45 minutes later, I was laughing so hard I was crying, while drawing designs in the sand. The thing about mushrooms is that it takes a while to kick in, then you laugh until you throw up, and then the real craziness sets in. It must have been about 3 in the morning when we realized we had to get back to our boat. Out there. We were all tripping on shrooms and not one of us could help the other in any meaningful way. We all stood at on the sand, with the waves lapping over our feet watching the boat and thinking about what that meant to us, when some random fellow, also tripping out of his mid, saw us all staring at the boat. “Watch out for the eels,” is what his guy said. “They are attracted to the lights, so they are in close now,” he continued. “They lay on top on the water, so just swim around them.”

Okay, so swim around eels that you can’t see, but are sure to FEEL. I don’t think I need to go into details of that long swim out to the boat with everyone yelling at each other “it’s got me!” “oh my god, what was THAT?” “Hurry the fuck up!” “Where’s the fucking boat? I can’t see anything. What was THAT?”

When we finally reached the boat, our bodies still full on toxins, our minds were just completely overtaxed. We all passed out under the stars and woke up with the sun, looking suspiciously for the eels that we managed to successfully swim around without being attacked.

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