"Randy" 9 inches by 12 inches; ink on paper, $125
"Laurie" 9 inches by 12 inches; ink on paper, $125
I have told this story a few times. Since we are on St. John I am going to tell it again. My wonderful bride, Laurie and I were on our honeymoon, and this is where Laurie and I had our first possible divorce moment. We stayed over on St. Thomas and we caught the ferry at Red Hook where it let us off at Cruz Bay, St. John. From Cruz Bay we caught a taxi up to the top of Center Line Road and we hiked the Reef Bay Trail down to the beach. Now this trail drops 2.1 miles and it drops over 900 feet down to the bottom of the beach. We had never been on it and it is one of the most exquisite trails in the world.
When we started at the top of the trail, Laurie, my gorgeous bride, was dressed in a sun dress with this little hat with a wide brim that was very thin like gossamer. We started down the trail and left with two bottles of water and two cans of pop. This is all we had to drink. All we had to do was start at the top of the trail and go down to the bottom and catch the boat back to town. Really simple.
We started down the trail and we learned two things that day from our hike. One, Laurie learned that any signs about any vegetation, bugs, animals along the trail I will stop to read the whole thing. I want to learn about all the details of where I have gone. So, that took time.
We continued on our way down drinking the water and the pop. We stopped at the hieroglyphics at the waterfalls and did what people do on their honey moon. That took a bit of time, but this was our honeymoon, after all. We worked our way down the trail and Laurie was keeping her eye on the watch. She was the time keeper and she still is.
When we reached the bottom of the trail at five minutes after one, we walked out onto the beach only to see the boat we were supposed to take back to Cruz Bay go putt, putt, putt around the corner of the bay. We missed the boat. This is where I learned the second thing. My new bride could swear like a trucker. “What the F*** are we going to do now?” What the F*** is going on?” “What the hell are we supposed to do now?” she said.
We stood there a little bit, looking at one another, dehydration starting to set in. We had already drunk everything we had to drink. What were we going to do? Smart ass me says, “Well, I think we have three choices. We could hike the trail we just came down and catch a taxi at the top. Two, we could stay on the beach till tomorrow and catch the boat then. That would be romantic, just live on the beach for a day, just by ourselves.” My bride replies, “NO! There is NO F********* way I am staying on this beach!”
The third option was to hike over to Lameshur Bay. We had a tourist map to guide us and it looked just around the corner. We decided to go to Lameshur Bay, we could see new things, new territory. We started to hike up to Lameshur Bay, UP being the key word. Halfway up, the gossamer hat is off, Laurie wasn’t trying to be elegant any longer, she was Hiking Up The Trail. It was hot, very hot with no water. We are hiking and hiking up the trail and she was still swearing at me as we go up.
At one point, she said, “Where are we going?” and I said, “See that highpoint up there?” “Yeah.” “See that other high point over there?” “Yeah.” “See that low point right between the two of them? I think that is the saddle we are going to go over to get to the next beach.” And we did.
There was a point on the trail where to our left was a cliff that dropped right to the ocean and to our right was thick vegetation, no place to move off the trail. This is when the donkeys rushed us. There was a herd of donkeys coming down the trail right at us. We had a choice, either jump off the cliff to our deaths or dive into the bushes. So, we dove into the bushes and watched all the donkeys run by.
By now, Laurie was really sweating and really angry so I started pulling palm frond forward and releasing them back at her which only aggravated her more. Anyway, I was the most relieved groom in the world and Laurie was the most relieved bride when we walked out onto the beach at Lameshur Bay and there were four cars parked there.
I remember sitting on the post at the parking lot as we waited for the first couple to go to their car so we could beg a ride. A couple walked up who were more than happy to give us a ride but said we might have to push the car up over the rock blocking the parking lot from the road. So, before you know it Laurie, me and the guy, his wife was driving, were pushing the car up over that rock.
We got onto the road and made it back to Cruz Bay where we drank beer for the afternoon. We eventually made it back to our hotel room, made it home, had three wonderful babies and our marriage has gone on fairly successfully for the last thirty-two years this March.
Me: “What has kept you together thirty-two years through all the divorce moments?”
I believe the key is communication. We decided after six or seven years of being married that we needed to have a date night. So, we instituted a night where once a week we went out, to dinner or the movies, we did something fun, just the two of us. The very first date night, we made a rule that we couldn’t talk about the store we own and run, we couldn’t talk about the kids. So, we went to dinner and we sat there and looked at each other and looked at the ceiling and looked at the walls and at the floor…. it took a little bit of time before we got to talking about topics. Now we talk about movies and news events. Learning how to do that was key to our staying together along with keeping our sense of humors.
Debra Wuliger, figurative artist working with color, texture and pattern to celebrate life.
Image silhouetted with story. Ready for hanging.