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 My Favorite Holiday Gift - Love and Friendship

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Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: My Favorite Holiday Gift - Love and Friendship   My Favorite Holiday Gift - Love and Friendship EmptySat Dec 18, 2010 3:06 pm

My Favorite Holiday Gift - Love and Friendship

My Favorite Holiday Gift - Love and Friendship 142414776X_1.thumbnail

Arirang: The Bamboo Connection

by DK Christi

Arirang: The Bamboo Connection is a great holiday read: Christmas in
exotic, foreign locations and travels that the reader experiences.

by DK Christi

December 17, 2010, 10:53 am

Lady Ace was a soot black standard poodle who ran around the deck
of our 70 foot (when bragging) ketch-rigged sailboat as though it was
the Indie 500. Sometimes she would come to a sliding stop; we always
feared she might slide right off the deck into the black, murky waters
of an unforgiving sea, lost to us forever. There are few times that a
sailboat of that size can be turned on a dime for a rescue at night on
the high seas. Lady Ace was named for the yacht she believed was her
own personal dog house since she arrived as a puppy and grew up as we
learned to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Venezuela over a three year
period of time, the five family members (six counting Lady Ace) who set
sail "forever."

She was a magnificent guard dog since she allowed us to
inhabit her domain, but was positively vicious toward anyone attempting
to board or even approach our yacht in their craft.

The first leg of our journey took us to the charming Northern Bahamas
Banks where the islands are unique little diamonds in the rough,
glittering in the shallow sea waters that were cold and clear that
December when we arrived from Ft. Lauderdale. Somehow, we had imagined
that the entire Commonwealth of the Bahamas was a heat wave in winter;
we learned otherwise our first winter at sea. Our family gift to each
other was enough snorkling gear for all of us to enjoy the balmy waters
we didn't experience. My teenage sons wore their new wet suits; so they
were able to enjoy their new toys.

Our neighbors from Florida joined us at sea for Christmas and New
Years. They flew in to one of the little island airports and we picked
them up by dinghy and brought them to Lady Ace. This was their first
encounter with our guard dog who, surprisingly, warmed up to them
immediately. In fact, it was their just teen-aged son who truly loved
animals that led the way. He had a labrador at home with whom he was
inseparable. It was his gift that I always remember at Christmas. He
was a clever child, always "inventing" something. This particular
Christmas, he invented the blinking dog collar for Lady Ace.

Lady Ace was then visible on deck at night. The collar was also
waterproof; if the unimaginable happened, her light would likely shine
up from the dark sea. As a hostess gift, they also brought Lady Ace tee
shirts for all of us. When we went into the little towns, we looked
like the crew from a major yacht. There were eight of us, four teenage
boys and four adults.

We had some wonderful times that holiday season with good friends.
Lady Ace's collar continued to blink around the deck, much to the
enjoyment of us all. That was the last time all eight of us enjoyed
sailing together. Our lives changed in ways that took us further from
each other. We sailed into the sunset until the stock market plummeted
and we returned to land, divorce and separate lives moving us in
different directions.

The boys kept track of each other, though. Our friend's son
graduated from a technical school with mechanical skills and built his
own ultralight airplane. Our sons finished school choices of their own
and pursued their careers. One received his captain's license and sail
auxiliary after so many miles at sea with the family. Another built
helicopters and the the third was a manager for an FBO. They were all
mechanically inclined, and it seemed to tie in a bit with the sailing

I eventually returned to Florida. I opened a daily newspaper one
sunny, Florida day and saw the name of our former sailing friends.
Their son had died in his ultralight plane, flying with his golden
labrador retriever as always. For some unknown reason, it dove into the
shallow water and both he and his dog died at impact. While it may
seem sad to bring the story back at Christmastime, it is really a joy
instead. It is a reminder of the fragility of life itself and the value
of friendships along the way. Whenever our boys remember their youth,
they remember most the holidays we shared on Lady Ace and the blinking
light collar that was my favorite holiday gift, a special gift to
protect our guard dog, Lady Ace. And we smile, even if a tear gathers
in the corner of our eye. There are no greater gifts than love and
friendship, at holidays or any other time.
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