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Valerie's Day Off

by Valerie Samien

Joe Cash from Northern Scotland gathered up a mouthful of rrrr's and proudly stated, "We come to visit our wee bonnie brrrother island." Not to be forgotten, Rosie from Ireland piped in in her lilting Irish, "We heard the rainbows ae prettier here." "Yes, they surely are", I replied. After registration into my hotel, we all jumped into Amy's vintage handyman's special Hyundai almost-car and with a rumble, thunder, clatter, boom, boom, boomed down the road to Irish folk music. Drinks and catching up gossip passed from person to person as renewal of friendships and a year's worth of trials and jubilations were discussed. Rosie commented on all the new improvements to my hotel such as the ceramic tile adorning the entrance and interior; she wanted to know if I caught a leprechaun or discovered a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And, if I'd gotten three wishes, did I save one of them for my dear friend Rosie?

Roatan Valerie's Day

Rosie lately has been keeping her eyes peeled for a Welsh Nordic God with Viking ancestry who has a rescue license, owns his own boat, and likes visiting isolated beaches. He must be able to carry the ice chest, tanks, and other diving equipment for long stretches joyfully and tirelessly and be prepared for romantic interludes on pristine, secluded beaches. My only comment to Rosie was, "If you find this perfection, please see if he has an older brrrother. Friend Amy commented from the driver's set, "if found, please see if he has a father." Amy is even willing to carry the ice chest, but the oxygen tanks and rescue license are musts. She plans on getting in over her head with this one!

Putting most of the foolishness aside, we stopped at Jackson's Commercial in Mt. Pleasant to check on my tickets on the Bay Island Express. September is the month I go back to the United States and give my foud children and grandchildren their Christmas and birthday gifts for the year. My three days on the cargo boat is spent in luxury and tranquility while I prepare for this chaotic experience. A bustle of chaos, excitement, and reunion of loved ones are on the agenda for me.

This accomplished, we were back on the road again heading for Oak Ridge to catch up on gossip and reunite with B.J., owner of the world-famous B.J.s Backyard Pub in Oak Ridge. Everyone knows you will always have a good time at B.J.'s and the big news there is that B.J.s daughter Tracy is in from Key West College for a two-week break. This charming and beautiful island girl who really has her head screwed on right is looking seriously at a career in corporate law. "Go for it, girl -- we are all proud of you!"

Across the bay is Sandy and Carmen's Oak Ridge marina where Amy has her 33 ft. sailing boat. At the marina Amy picked up her mail and personal things; then we all folded ourselves into a water taxi to visit Grandma Vivian Agnus McNab in her octagon house on the key. Vivian greeted us with a smila, a hug, and "It's about time you put me on your visiting list." Granny viv, who has a heart of gold and has had a hand in raising many of the children in Oak Ridge, was a sight to see. At 80 years old, she has retained more fire and spice then most of ever acquire. The story was told of last week when Granny Viv went to Cliff's for lumber, and the water taxi's motor wouldn't start. (In Oak Ridge -- the Venice of the Caribbean -- water taxis are the only way to get from place to place) Nobody was surprised to see Granny paddling the 'motorized' boat all the way home with a full cargo of lumber in the rain! The water taxi driver was not seen anywhere.

Back on the road and getting on the far side of Coxen Hole, a 'must stop' place is Jessie's place called The Lone Star Cafe, located next to the vet's office. A sleepy looking Mexican with a gordo belly and huge Mexican hat covering his head and torso, is resting under a prickly pear cactus that decorates the interior walls. Mexican and American food was available and we ate delicious fajitas. We enjoyed this cool, comfortable stop to get the kinks out of our bodies stiff from the long road trip.

Valerie Samien  

Well, folks, this was my day. I truly hope your day includes as much love, laughter, and fun as mine. Rosie would like this Irish toast printed here:

May the sun be on your cheeks, The wind be at your back; And may you be in Heaven a half hour Before the devil knows your gone!

West End, Roatan August, 2000  

Valerie is the owner of Valerie's Youth Hostel in West End, a popular stayover for budget travelers from all over the world. She has made Roatan her home for many years, having spent the first years living in Sandy Bay, Oak Ridge, and later living in West End Village.

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