Friday, September 12, 2008

Pearl 23: I Was Half, Now I'm Whole

Good Afternoon Gehrig and Eliana,

It is Friday and we should be in Austin setting up our tailgate for the Texas vs. Arkansas game, but it has been postponed.  Seems the Texas coast is about to get slammed by Hurricane Ike.  The powers-that-be set the game off, not only because of the threat of really severe weather, but to free up hotel rooms as possibly hundreds of thousands of coastal evacuees flee north to avoid the storm.  Sometimes good decisions are made and as much as I wanted to see my Longhorns trounce the Razorbacks, this was the right call.  We will pray for the safety of those in harms way.

As you know, Granny and I just returned from Costa Rica where we celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary.  I know, how she put up with me for all those years is a mystery bordering on the miraculous but as I have often said, your Granny is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Costa Rica is a lush, beautiful country with long beaches on both its Pacific and Caribbean shores, two volcanic mountain ranges stretching the length of the country and a huge central valley covered with dense sub-tropical foliage, flower and exotic plant farms, coffee plantations and extensive groves which supply 25 % of the world’s bananas.  Natives claim the title for their country as “The Last To Rise”, meaning it was the last land mass in the world to rise from the ocean.  On September 7th, our actual anniversary day, we took a 12-hour long tour out of San Jose, to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.  Called Volcan Arenal, it rises above a high plain some 9,800 feet and is very impressive. 

We spent the afternoon in a spa that features a naturally-heated fresh water spring which winds its way through the forest at the foot of the volcano; cascading down many waterfalls to multiple pools.  The temperature of the water was a hot tub-like 105° F.  After a sumptuous traditional Costa Rican dinner, we traversed to the west face of the volcano after dark and witnessed a first for us both; a lava flow spilling out of the top of the volcano and racing down the mountain at over 100 mph.  It was an incredible sight.

On the three hour van ride home we were both exhausted but I kept looking up out our window and there, suspended above us in the clear black sky, was a perfect half moon.  It illuminated the valley and bathed the forest trees around us in its silvery light creating a canvas of grays and black shadows.  That half moon reminded me of a line from an old Barbara Streisand song which I will use for my next pearl.

Twenty-Third Pearl:  “I Was Half, Now I’m Whole”

As I gazed up at that moon it made me think about what life was like before I met your Granny.  I was in college.  It was 1966.  I was young, footloose and fancy free and life was grand.  Then I met Vicki and my life changed forever. 

That half moon shone bright but it was only half the brilliance, half the illumination, half the light.  After I met your Granny I realized, like the moon, I was only half there.  It was then I knew I was only half the person I could become if only I could have her at my side and in my life.

And for the past 40 years I have thanked God every time I pray for the blessing of this woman.  She has been my constant companion, selfless helpmate, fervent champion, faithful lover and best friend.  Together we reared two wonderful daughters and neither they nor I could have asked for a better mother for my children.  Or a better grandmother for you two precious little ones. 

Together we are twice the brilliance, twice the illumination, twice the light and because of her, while I was half, now I am and forever will be…whole.

I love you bunches and bunches,

Grandpa Jud