It was our 43rd anniversary yesterday…it would be a very special day.
The alarm went off at 0600 hrs. I wished Joan a cheery "Happy anniversary!". Yes, she was definitely pleased that I had remembered. “So, what have you got planned?”, she asked.
I couldn’t wait to tell her.
"Well", I said, "I thought we would spend the day on the water." The weather, after all, was quite hospitable for early December on Vancouver Island - some rain, and a mild six degrees. Perfect for an important outdoor celebration.
"After we have a cup of your excellent coffee", I assured her, "We'll get the kit packed up and head out."
“And, you have lunch already prepared?”, my partner asked, broadly smiling. (Was that an almost imperceptible roll of the eyes? Hmmm.)
“Absolutely.”, I said with confidence and without a moment's hesitation, “Don't I always?" :)
After quickly packing up, loading the kayaks on the Kayak Transport Vehicle, launching, and paddling for just over an hour...we arrived at the "secret beach", on Salt Spring Island. Securing the kayaks above the tide line, we climbed the steep hill overlooking Sansum Narrows.
In no time at all, the stove was fired up and a gourmet lunch was ready...lentil barley soup AND a fresh Mediterranean loaf.
Pretty darn impressive.
And...it was astonishingly delicious!
Needless to say, Joan appeared mightily impressed, chuffed! It was, after all, a 1st Class venue - ocean view, no lineups, no need for reservations, private dining, wonderfully atmospheric. The luncheon, truly gourmet, at a price impossible to beat, and served with style and impeccable grace.
After all these years...the dining out experience just gets better and better. ;)
And there was more...there was entertainment.
While Joan got settled with a cup of hot, steaming green tea (I forgot to pack a sweet for dessert), I returned to the beach.
Gearing up, I launched the kayak and paddled around to the base of the cliff. With Joan high on the hill, and three curious seals for company, I noted (with relief) that our old pal the grumpy, teeth-baring, growling, 2,500 lb, Stellar sea lion, was nowhere in sight. Good, because, I might well end up in the water.
We had learned some very fun balance exercises from Gordon Brown, on the Isle of Skye, a year or so ago. These would serve as the post-luncheon entertainment.
With applause ringing from high above, I began and completed several circuits of the kayak deck.
First, up and out of the cockpit...
And back over again, straddle...and back into the cockpit. It's a full circuit...easy peasy!
Several circuits later, and bored with it all, the seals swam away - with what appeared to be a rather sympathetic glance in Joan's direction. ;)
Ah, but it had been a wonderful outdoor, self-propelled, celebration of 43 years of marriage.
We still had miles yet to paddle before the December darkness would fall on these lovely Southern Gulf Islands' waters, and on this special day. Paddling back to the beach to meet back up with Joan, I pondered how time passes so very quickly.
The day was 43 years ago. It was Grey Cup weekend (the final game in the Canadian Football League season) in Hamilton, Ontario...and the Hamilton Tiger Cats won the cup.
43 years...and it feels like yesterday. In so many ways, it really was...just yesterday.
We must all do whatever we can to help create a better world for all. That begins with cherishing and finding value in every single moment. It is in each single moment, and even in the most difficult ones, that we discover and embrace the very gift of life.
And we must never lose that precious gift from childhood, a sense of playfulness. I think maybe, just maybe, it's one of the qualities that can keep us "young"...in body, mind, and in spirit. ;)