WE had given up.

E parked the car and we began the walk down to the beach. We never made it past the vendors. A tour? Would you like? Some jewelry? Handmade! You would like!

Oh yes. We did like. While B handpicked gifts for her best girlfriends; I stumbled into a virtual man wall of booking agents for whale watching that morning. Si! Ballena Tours of which there are over 60 on this particular coast and I couldn’t find the ONE who had my reservation.

No problem, Mees! We help you. You want tour? For how many? Once I agreed, the biggest problem was deciding who would get the commission. They were too astonished to agree. Apparently there aren’t a lot of white women wandering up to the beach to get on a boat at 8:30 on a Sunday. Even less who speak Guanacaste and are overly polite and say, “MUY bien” thanks to g-d when you ask them.

B says we live here. I often forget that part since I have to leave every 90 days on a tourist visa. E says we need to find a way to fix that.

I’m J. Poet, archer, house-sitter and publication designer, at your service. I know a lot of these phrases in Spanish and I’m tempted to use them to further my own recall but I hate when people over use a second language in a story designed to be understood in one.

I don’t really “hate” anything of course – it’s more like, “I could do without ever seeing that ever again my entire life”. Faster to say hate, though.

I think I might also hate riding in a small boat on the ocean. Love, love, LOVE seeing the whales though and dolphins and turtles and island birds. My favorite part of this tour was hearing the people make awe noises and gasp and break their grimaces into pure joy smiles that can only come from witnessing innocence. A dozen different dramas boarded that boat at low tide. When we returned 3.5 hours later, the length of sand we all left our footprints in was gone. No one recognized the beach. It was full. And so were we.

E took boatloads of pics. He always does. And we always look fantastic in them. I think it’s because we want to smile for him. B says he’s the perfect man whenever the opportunity arises and it does, often. I can’t disagree. E is quiet, but not reserved. He has a truly interesting story for every occasion but doesn’t interrupt anyone to tell it. He’s gives genuine compliments freely and is never overly flattering. You can trust a man who gives compliments like that. It shows he’s observant. He’s also confident without being cocky. He’s an excellent driver AND navigator on the road or in life—daylight or dark, rain or shine. You can count on E. Not strictly in a sturdy “he’s a rock” kind of way; but the cream in the center that holds the cookie together kind of way too.

Ed & Beaty at their favorite restaurant in Nuevo Arenal – The Gingerbread

B is a lucky woman and she knows it. Probably the luckiest woman on earth, and she says so to complete strangers. Being married to “daddy” as she affectionately calls him in rare but completely appropriate moments, makes her shine. I like them both very much and feel very safe in their buoyant company. She reminds me of my favorite aunt. Disarmingly, politely and beautifully southern. If you know anything about southern women, you also know she’s a deadly shot with her six-gun wit always loaded and ready to rapid fire when the timing is right. She’s the first one to ask about your family, where you came from, where you’re going and to remember it when you return. She gets to the heart of it – of you—with surgical precision. Her advice is 100% to the point realistic in a loving way no one can resist.

The first thing I noticed about B was her enchanting green eyes. I couldn’t stop looking at them! They sparkle with a knowing only 70 years of really living could produce, and there is an element of childish playfulness as well. She’s the kind of woman men write songs about and E knows it. He still watches her walk away in wonder of her enduring beauty and says so. I love being around people who are that open and expressive.

E introduces me as their “adopted daughter”. We have a connection that warrants such a claim for sure. I think would have enjoyed growing up with parents like them, but then I’d be someone different. Maybe I would be a world famous flautist!

All four of E&B’s kids turned out great by my definition, which is not a typical western version of success but they are that too. They are wholly flawed and human and spunky and inspiring. They are each one EXACTLY who they are with grace and without apology. I’m sure they learned it by watching their parents.

I don’t think many people manage to attain all this personal success by skating through life without a good dose of humility and pain. The kind of pain we all go through, some more than others. The kind that leaves a mark on you and you celebrate making it out stronger because the alternative is suicide.

Suicide in the sense of folding your hand(s). Suicide in the slow way a lot of people accomplish it nowadays by eating or drinking or smoking or stressing out too much—or thinking too much.

One of the things I admire most about E&B is that there really isn’t a subject too dark or off limits to mention in quiet conversation on the couch over a lull in a marathon television series. They’ve travelled to places in their own lives that would make a killer romantic comedy adventure movie.

If you saw them on the street you would be struck first by their stature – not just how tall they are. His pure white hair would be next and then maybe her amazingly put together outfits or sparkling jewels. If you got close enough, you might be distracted by her best jewels – her mysterious eyes; too distracted to notice the calm tenor who accompanies her.

Where am I going with this? Hell if I know.

I guess I thought you had to be poor to be truly happy. That in order to know real happiness you couldn’t have fine things or that having those things might make you forget. Certainly you couldn’t have all that and a happy family life on top of it!

I guess I thought you had to suffer and sacrifice and scrape by in order to realize bliss is just sitting there on your welcome mat waiting for you to open the door.

I’m glad I was wrong.

Make my day