Final Scene, Florida,
I walked onto the stage and looked
out across a sea of perhaps 200 faces. It
had been six years since we got Desperado
back home to the United States and so
much had happened. We’ve been married for almost four, living in Washington
now where Ed has been working for the
government, and I’ve been working at
BoatU.S. Magazine. He was happily retired,
and looking forward to further Caribbean
boating adventures with his new wife,
when he got a call from the Department of
Homeland Security. They asked him to lead
the government’s new air-cargo screening
initiatives. Ed had lost a cousin in the
World Trade Center attacks on September
11, and didn’t hesitate when asked to lead.
Besides, we had plenty of time to explore
the Caribbean, right?
I clutched the award given to Ed
by the Air Forwarders Association and
looked out at the sea of people, many with
tears in their eyes. I thanked them for the
award. Ed would’ve been so proud, I said.
Looking at their faces, with their worries
about life and loved ones, mortgages, and
savings, I wondered if they had any forgotten dreams. Anything they were putting
off until they had enough money, enough
time, until they were retired. I wanted to
tell them not to wait, to do it now, because
tomorrow might not come. As Ed learned
after his first wife passed, I, too, now knew
a thing or two about this. It had been three
numbing months since Ed died, shockingly, in December 2009, after contracting
Legionnaires’ disease on a business trip.
Hale and healthy one week, the next in a
coma from which he wouldn’t awake.
As I clutched this posthumous award,
I thought back to our precious, precious
years on Desperado when every day, every
small chore was charged with living. I’m
beyond grateful to have shared, however
briefly, his life, his love of the sea, his
dream that became my own. Most of all,
I’m thankful that Ed got to complete his
journey — in life and on his boat.
Before Ann Dermody became BoatU.S.
Magazine’s managing editor, she was
a features writer, editor, and columnist for
British and Irish newspapers and magazines,
such as the Sunday Tribune, The Irish
Independent, The Evening Herald, Ireland
on Sunday, Woman’s Way, Tatler, and the
UK Independent. In 2010, she won first place
honors from Boating Writers International and
an Apex Award for her feature about the first
African-American yacht club in America.
Boats Of A Different Color: A
young Kuna girl gets a lift home
in the family vessel at the San
Blas Islands, Panama.