ou’re renting out your house
and going cruising to Alaska?
I still can’t believe it,” declared
our friends Elaine and Bob as
they gave my husband, Dick,
and me a big hug. Neither
could I, I thought ruefully.
We watched our friends drive off in their van,
the mattress we’d given them flopping on top like
a giant waffle. Dick and I had sold everything we
owned during two marathon yard sales and stuffed
our pitifully few remaining treasures into a U-Haul
that was beginning to resemble a time capsule.
We’d rented out our house in Scottsdale, Arizona,
and our new boat — Last Resort, a Catalina 470 —
was waiting for us in Ensenada, Mexico, to move
I looked at Dick and marveled at his resilience
after all he’d been through, considering he had
just survived borderline stage-four neck and throat
cancer less than two years earlier. During the long
months of fighting off nausea during chemo, the
trauma of finding his throat had sealed completely
shut from radiation, the stress of undergoing an
experimental procedure to open the stricture in
his esophagus, and the hard transition from using
a feeding tube to being able to “glug” down a liquid
diet, his resolve to go cruising kept him going. So,
here we were in November 2007, getting ready
to start a radically new life. I’d begun my own
business the summer before and was assisting
a handful of clients with public relations and
marketing. Dick had sold his company, a small
Internet wi-fi provider. We’d arranged to drop off
the U-Haul in Palm Springs, California, and have
friends take us across the border.
“So long, desert!” I grinned to Dick as we
pulled out of the driveway.
He flashed that winsome dimple of his, “Look
out, Glacier Bay!”