Tuesday April 1, 2014
Now that we no longer have anything keeping us in Florida besides waiting on the next weather window, it was time to orchestrate one last get together with our Fort Lauderdale friends. Since Melody and Chris have a nice little set up where their boat is located, complete with a grill, a pool, and great views, they invited to have us all over tonight to grill up some burgers and dogs and begin the process of our sad good-byes.
It was bittersweet even as we arrived, the excitement of seeing my friends mixed with the last time that we would see them. And happening upon the awesome set up that Chris and Melody truly do have, my thoughts kind of edges toward ‘Do we really have to go to the Bahamas? Can’t we just stay here and hang out with our friends?’. I can see why so many people get down here and stay much longer than they intended. If you get in to the right areas, Ft. Lauderdale is a pretty awesome place.
The grill was fired up just after we got there, and laughing a little, we found out that we’d brought the same exact potato salad and Gordon and Jessica did to share. The fridge was starting to look like the deli aisle at Publix, but if that item is as good as they claim it is, I’m sure it will be cleared out by the rest of the night. I also played a game of rotating drinks with Chris where I promised him one of my huge 24 oz cans of Foster for one of his Yuenglings. I blame the Skelton Crew for getting me hooked on those, but honestly, I think the addiction started in Annapolis.
The burgers that Chris grilled up ended up being to die for, and I’m not just saying that because I was completely starved after spending all afternoon running around town trying to get a cab that would take us to the vet to get Georgie’s rabies titer test for the EU, and then walking half way back to the boat because they would speed by as soon as they saw we had a cat in our arms. Nope, even if I wan’t on the verge of being malnourished, these still would have been some of the best burgers ever. Mix that with steak, awesome cheese, even better friends, and a breathtaking sunset….sigh. I wish this night could last forever.
A surprise later that evening that we weren’t expecting, or maybe Melody knew it was coming, was that Chris had procured a bottle of champagne to celebrate that after two and a half years, Melody had gotten her braces off. Not even bothering to try and find glasses for everyone at the table, we took turns hoisting it in the air and sipping it straight from the bottle as a victory for metal free teeth everywhere.
Before anyone could leave for the night, Jessica announced that she had a treat for us and that she needed five volunteers to gather at the bar for an activity. Was this going to be anything like the time I volunteered for the game of musical chairs back in Guatemala where I was forced to take a shot of rum for each round that I stayed in? Cause I’m not sure if I want to play that again right now. Or…maybe I do? Either way I didn’t have to worry about shots of alcohol being forced on me, and should have taken the hint when ten year old Gia lined up next to me at the bar.
This was something much more family friendly, and actually very sweet and cute and something that could only have been thought up by Jessica. The five of us were given a sheet of very thin tissue paper placed on a card depicting a cherry blossom tree, and made me think for a moment that we might be participating in an origami folding contest. Squashing that impression, we were each then handed a pencil and told to write down a wish on the piece of paper. No one else would see the wish, and you were supposed to make it something you deeply desired. After each wish had been printed, we were instructed to crumble up the sheet of paper while fixating on that wish. Once that was done we smoothed the sheet back out.
Now it was time for the interesting and fun part. Once your wish was smoothed back out, you shaped the paper into a cylinder and stood it upright on your cherry blossom cut out. Then a flame was taken to the piece of paper, and if at the end your piece floated into the air, it meant your wish would come true. A few of us took to holding the bottom parts of the cylinder as the flame crept down, just to keep it from blowing away in the wind, but a good percentage of us watched our wished sail into the night sky, sure that luck would be on our side. For a few other unfortunate people, their wish flopped down and burned to a crisp on top of their cherry blossom. As for Matt, his piece lifted off the ground at the last second and floated right into Jessica’s eye. We’re still trying to figure out what that means for him.
Then, it was time to start our good-byes. In the shortish-longish time that we’ve been here in Fort Lauderdale, this group has wound their way into the fabric that is our lives, and we are so thankful that we had the chance to get to know them, even if it was only momentarily. Bonds like these can’t be broken very easily and I have no doubt that no matter where we all end up in life, we’ll always be able to count on each other for anything from laughs to support, and most likely, boat advice.
Boat friends are always a hard thing to let go, but as we’ve learned, saying goodbye for now doesn’t necessarily mean forever. Just like I had no doubt that we would make to to Ft. Lauderdale to see them in the first place, I have no doubt that our paths will cross once more somewhere in this world.