It has been a year now since we have posted on our blog; we never would have expected to still be on AfterMath, and we never would have thought that life would change as much as it has. Over and over, we talked about getting ready to sell. John had long lists of projects he was working on so that when it was listed, any future owner would have a truly turn key boat. Just as he was finally nearing the end of the list, COVID appeared. From that point on, we lost the urgency that we once felt to move back on land. At least on AfterMath, we could see and talk to our friends and our neighbors while remaining what is now so well known as “socially distant”. We went a long time without seeing family, but finally discovered that there were places outdoors where we could meet on occasion, and truthfully, maybe we just didn’t quite lose the wanderlust feeling as much as we thought we had. We know that we are very lucky that no one in our immediate family has caught the Coronavirus as of this moment, and we do not take it lightly that none of us was affected negatively financially or otherwise. So, now, a full year later since our last post, it is time to catch up on the happenings we have enjoyed and talk about our plans for the near future. With this brief summary of our last year and with probably way too many pictures shared here, it is time to continue Life on AfterMath.
Thanksgiving of 2019 had been very up in the air as far as plans were concerned. At almost the last minute we decided to drive to Annapolis to Jeff and Sarah’s house and then, along with their family, to continue north to Connecticut for a traditional gathering of the Daigles. Kindly, Jeff’s high school track coach, Yvonne Grimes and her husband, offered us the use of their farm house in Sandy Hook, not far from Jim and Julie’s home in Southbury. It was wonderful to have so much of the family together, although we all missed those who could not attend.
December brought Christmas time fun with Kelly’s family. We loved spending Christmas Eve at their home, preparing for Santa’s arrival, and then being there to see the joy of the morning when presents were piled under the tree.
Soon it was 2020. Still at Brunswick Landing Marina, in what is called the Golden Isles, where we have pretty much been since hurricane season started last summer, it seemed to be a normal year! Kelly and I met almost every week to have lunch somewhere, sometimes with the children, and sometimes by ourselves when they were in school. Still, through the winter, John and I enjoyed the privilege of being on the end of our dock where we could watch amazing sunsets over the marsh and where the shorebirds frolicked and searched for food at low tide. It was an idyllic view.
We also were able to spend some time with Jason and Lisa in Clearwater and Caladesi Island in February. Such an amazing place to be.
Then came March. Our grandson, Rush, was having a birthday. He was turning six years old and we were happy to be in the states and near enough to take the drive up to attend his birthday party in Annapolis. It was while we were there that the news of COVID became really focused. The day before Rush’s party, Sarah and Jeff decided to cancel the event and it seemed that the world changed almost overnight. Sarah’s parents, Mike and Susie, were there too, and the skating party turned into a cold weather beach outing for us. Rush handled it very well; we all had a wonderful time at the state park near their home, watching the kids dig in the sand and build bridges with driftwood before returning to their home for cake and celebration. We headed back to Georgia a day or two later with heavy hearts knowing that we would not be able to go back for Ford’s birthday the following month. The country was shutting down.
To try to keep busy and to not feel isolated, I began taking long walks throughout town, having felt it necessary to give up my gym membership. Some days John and I took rides to see the views in the area.
Like every parent and grandparent, it was difficult for us to not see our family. Not having seen Kelly and family for three months despite being only an hour away, we were very excited when, after getting a new golden retriever puppy named Finn a few weeks earlier, they made the trip to Brunswick. Finn and Kirby played in the dog park at the marina, and, although no one could hug or be close, we were thrilled to see everyone in person once again. A couple of weeks later we met at the beach at Jekyll Island for another family event where social distancing was easy. Once again, a new puppy, this time a pug named Frank, joined Kelly and Craig’s family and on their way back from picking him up, they stopped by the marina for introductions.
Summer was upon us, with the big event this year being the viewing of the comet, Neowise. John knew I would want to get out and photograph the happening, so we spent a whole day riding around until we found a spot that would afford us a great view. There was one issue, though. The neighborhood we discovered was gated. Although the gates were open during the day, they would close at night. We went back an hour or so before the comet was visible and John sweet talked the gate attendant into letting us in; I was thrilled to have a prime location to take shots of this once in a lifetime experience.
We continued our quarantining as much as we possibly could, John getting projects done on AfterMath and me walking for miles and taking as many pictures as possible, but finally in October we got in the car and drove back to Maryland, this time to explore Jeff and Sarah’s new house on a farm in West River. We were excited to see their waterfront, historic home where in the 1700’s war ships were built and where, later, tobacco was raised. The house itself was built in the early 1800’s after the original construction was burned to the ground by the British to stop the production of the ships. It is a beautiful and idyllic spot for the children and even has a guest house for those of us who choose to visit!
Later in October we were thrilled to have Jason, Lisa, and Jace make a trip to Jekyll Island to visit with us. We hadn’t seen them since February and, of course, missed them so much. Jason is a regional manager for Freedom Boat Club these days, and he was able to take us boating and fishing around St. Simon’s Island. We caught fish, enjoyed the sun, the scenery, and the beach, and loved being together for a few days.
November took us back up to West River for Walter’s birthday. It was a real farm event with a John Deere tractor theme, hayrides, minnow catching, and pinata breaking.
Only a couple of weeks later it was time for Thanksgiving 2020. COVID might have changed the world, but we figured out how to make the best of the situation. John and I rented two pavilions on Jekyll Island near a beach: one had three twenty-foot tables and the other was screened in for food serving. Jeff and Sarah came and stayed in a home on the island which became Thanksgiving Central – food preparations were accomplished there, except for the many contributions brought by Kelly and Craig, and the house was near the beach for family gathering time as well. All of our food was transported to the pavilions, only about 5 minutes from the home on Thursday morning. We had our plates spaced far apart, but we were together. Aside from missing Jason and Lisa who were not able to attend due to work schedules, we had a wonderful holiday all around.
As always, Christmas snuck up on us quickly. We put up our little tree, John put out lights on the stern, and best of all, we had a visit from Chris, Sam, and their son Christopher. We gathered in the clubhouse at the marina where there was a lot of space, and for a few hours, ate, laughed, and had a wonderful time. No visit to the area is complete right now without checking out the Golden Ray, the huge cargo ship that capsized over a year ago. Christopher was very interested, so first we showed him the bow of the ship, loaded on a barge, right near Brunswick Landing Marina. Before they continued on their way back to Connecticut from Florida, we caravanned to St. Simon’s so they could see the rest of the wreck. It truly is a sight to be seen.
Christmas, once more, found us traveling back up to Maryland. With the guest house on Jeff and Sarah’s property and the isolation that the farm holds, it felt like a safe and wonderful place to spend the holiday. We also had a very special delivery to make. Sarah and Kelly had been discussing barn cats during Thanksgiving, and together they decided that three kittens would be a perfect addition to the farm. Kelly found a four-month-old white and beige kitten that was gorgeous and friendly, and two tiny little eight-week-old kittens that were absolutely adorable. She spayed and neutered them, microchipped them, gave them shots, and sent us with a cage of kittens and a bag of food and goodies to add to the growing animal population at Jeff and Sarah’s house. The children didn’t know the kittens were coming, so I was very excited to be able to be a part of the surprise. We did wonder how it would go with three cats and Kirby in the back seat of our car, but no one made a sound the whole trip and the kids were thrilled!
One more very special event happened during our trip north at Christmas. When John and I were first married we lived in Indiana. There I met Annie who is truly one of the most loving, wonderful people I have ever known. We became the best of friends during our lives there and that friendship has never changed over the past 48 years. When we talk it is as if not a day has passed since our last conversation. John swears he knows who I am talking to when he walks in a room, just by the sound of my voice when I am talking to Annie. I miss her all the time, and we just don’t see each other enough. A few days before leaving for Maryland, we were on the phone and she was telling me about her new home in Delaware. When I got off the phone and told John about it, he told me it was just a couple of hours from Jeff’s house. Well, within about two minutes, plans were made, our time away was extended, and on December 27th, we drove from Jeff’s to Rehoboth, Delaware for a magical visit with Annie and her husband, Keith. It seems 2020 couldn’t spoil my year no matter how hard it tried!
So, now January of 2021 is here. Tomorrow we will see Kelly, Craig, Michaela, Carter, and Madison to finally celebrate Christmas together. John and I are scheduled to get a first dose of the vaccine on January 21st, and then, the plan is to head south on AfterMath the following day. We know we will have to drive back for the second dose, but it is time to go again. We will not leave the states this time, but will go to the Florida Keys, the Marquesas Keys, and the Dry Tortugas. In the spring we will head back up to Georgia, but first we will travel the length of the St. John’s River for the first time. It seems we really do have life left on AfterMath to live, at least for a few more months.