Year's worth of memories to savor
LAST YEAR at this time, I sat on my boat in Palmyra wondering what 2005 held in store for me.
A few things I knew for sure. I knew I would learn how to install a sailboat's forestay and roller furler since mine had gone overboard on the way to Palmyra, and I could not leave until I replaced it.
One of my favorite photos from 2005 is of me waving from the top of my 54-foot mast after slipping the pin into the toggle of the new stay.
Another thing I was pretty sure the year would bring, after I fixed the boat and finished my work, was a memorable landfall. I was not disappointed. After 21 days at sea, spotting Bora Bora off the starboard bow was one of the grander moments of my life.
Some occasions call for special attire, and this was one of them. My favorite picture from that day is one Alex took of me wearing my red feather boa as I drove the boat into that famous lagoon.
OTHER IMAGES from 2005 also stay vivid in my mind. One is of Texas readers Oscar and Shirley smiling in a photo Shirley e-mailed me at my request. I wanted to know what these nice people who wrote me nearly every week looked like.
For years the couple spent all their vacations house-sitting on Oahu. When Oscar became ill, they had to stop visiting their much-loved Hawaii, but they kept up to date.
Shirley read the Star-Bulletin online to Oscar.
We never met, but my columns from here and the South Pacific touched the couple and often, Shirley wrote, made Oscar smile. She wrote a poem about my sailing adventures called "Restless Time," and her daughter Carol printed it on a watercolor she painted of my boat.
"Thank you," Carol wrote, "for reminding my parents of who they really are."
I cried when Shirley wrote me that Oscar's suffering had ended. She and I continue to write.
Another mainland reader, Mary Anne from Indiana, has written me on and off for several years now. We discuss my columns, exchange stories and recommend books.
"I'm coming to Hawaii for a vacation next month," Mary Anne wrote recently. "I'd love to meet you."
I THOROUGHLY enjoyed my lunch with Mary Ann and her husband, Paul. We ate, laughed and shared more stories, and when it was time to go, Mary Ann asked Paul to take a picture of us together.
"It was so great meeting you, Susan," she wrote when she got home. "Our photo turned out good." I agree. It's another of my year's favorites.
If I had to choose the high point of my year, I'd have to say it was Craig's arrival on Bora Bora, where he saw his boat for the first time since I'd sailed it away 10 months earlier. His approval of all I had done, even when it was wrong, meant the world to me.
I learned a lot about sailboats this year. I learned even more about friendship.
You can see the 2005 pictures I mentioned here on my Web site, maintained lovingly by my sister, Michele, who this year shared the thrill of seeing the Mona Lisa with me in Paris.
My favorite photo of her is there, too.
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