PARADISE: A RETURN ENGAGEMENT
PARADISE: A RETURN ENGAGEMENT
Everyone who knows me, or who has read my past trip reports, knows that I’m a poor traveler. The only way that I should be able to fly is deep within a drug-induced coma. Give me the wake up drug when we’ve checked into the resort! It’s not a fear of flying – I’m an Air Force Brat and did a 6-year stint in the Air Force myself. It’s airports, and small airline seats, and incompetent airlines and incompetent airports….okay! okay! I’ll get back to the flights later.
Gerie believes that her vacation starts when her packed bags are in the car and we’re pulling out of the driveway. I believe that my vacation starts when our packed bags are in the rental car and we’re pulling out of Cyril E. King Airport. Needless to say that she’s no help with my traveling anxiety and I’m certain that I’m not adding to her enjoyment of being on vacation.
At any rate…we landed in St Thomas a little after 2 pm on Saturday August 4th. Gerie went to the ladies room and I went to hold a space in the Avis line for the rental car. The airport was packed with people. I don’t remember the airport ever being that crowded, but we’re usually in St Thomas a few hours earlier…oh, right…back to the flights later. Anyway…it was apparent that the vast majority of the people in the airport were St. John people looking for taxis. Only a few people were on line for rental cars.
I was the second person on line at the Avis counter when Gerie came back from the ladies room. She took my place and I went for the bags. I saw “Big Blue III” (The latest addition of Gerie’s giant duffel bags that holds the snorkeling gear and anything else we need to cram into it) coming down the baggage claim belt and behind it was our other 2 bags. I couldn’t believe my luck! I had the bags in hand in time for Gerie to show me the rental car keys. Total time in the airport: 15 minutes.
As we departed the airport in our rental car Gerie asked, “Are you on vacation now?”
“Yes. I am!”
“Nice of you to finally join me.”
“Thanks…It’s great to be here!”
“Hello St Thomas!!!” I screamed from the car window. “It’s me…I’m back!”
“Hello left side driving!” Gerie yelled from her car window.
“Hello Bluebeard’s Castle!”
“Hello Charlotte Amalie!”
We shouted our hellos to every familiar sight including gas stations all the way to Bluebeard’s Beach Club. Home!
Days before we left for St. Thomas, I had explained to Gerie that after we checked into our room and before we changed into our swimsuits, I wanted to go to the beach to take pictures of us in front of the building in which we stay. (I didn’t end that sentence with a preposition, Gerie.) (Teachers!…They never quit!) She agreed to the pictures. I had on my best Hawaiian Shirt and my white Panama Jack hat. With my shorts and shades on…I looked so much like a tourist. I parked the car at the main office and Gerie went in to check in. (in which to check???)
“I’m going to stay in the car and have a cigarette while you’re in there!” I told her.
“You don’t have to stay in the car…you can smoke at the door.”
“It’s hot out there….the car air conditioner is on.”
I eventually did go in and joined her as she in-checked. The room wasn’t quite ready. Maintenance was re-hanging the curtain that refused to stay up. So we started to walk to the beach to take the pictures. Outside the main office, Gerie saw Marvin the bellman who has been a fixture at the Beach Club forever. Marvin recognized Gerie and the two of them got lost in conversation. It never ceases to amaze me that the staff of Bluebeard’s Beach Club sincerely remembers owners who come every year. I mean…it’s two weeks a year and all the different people who show up throughout the course of the year and yet he remembers Gerie.
“Gerie, let’s go to the beach.” As you can tell, I wasn’t on Island Time as yet!
We walked past the pool bar and Jeff the Bartender/ Ordained Minister/ All around good guy, who we refer to as slash ( / ) because of all of his occupations, was there. He doesn’t work there any longer but was there with friends having a few drinks. He too, remembered us and we had another conversation. He offered to buy us a drink but I quickly declined. “We’ll be right back.” I said. “We want to go to the beach and take some pictures.” I think Gerie was a little disappointed that we didn’t stay and talk with Jeff but we continued our walk to the beach.
In the middle of the courtyard was a white egret walking around the area. Gerie wanted me to take a picture of him. I kept walking. “Gerie. We’ll get a picture of the bird when we come back…I want to get to the beach. It’s hot!”
(Gerie’s edit: I think you need to point out that the egret was not just any old white egret, which are a dime a dozen. This one had a red strip on its head and red striped markings on its body, making her unique. Sheesh!)
(Sometimes, I’m so unobservant! I didn’t even realize he was a “her”.)
We finally reached the beach and continued walking towards the west end of the beach where a group of rocks jut out from the cliffs behind the buildings and out into the Caribbean Sea forming the west end of the bay. We stopped at the first giant rock. I removed my sunglasses and took Gerie’s cigarettes from her hand and placed them and the camera on the rock.
“Gerie! I didn’t come down here to take pictures.” I said.
She looked at me a little bewildered. I took her left hand in mine and with my right hand removed my Panama Jack hat with a move that would have made Sir Francis Drake proud.
“Gerie Ellen,” I said as I knelt down on my right knee.
“I love you!”
I explained to her how much she means to me and watched the stunned look in her eyes. At that point I showed her the ring that I had palmed when I stayed in the car for a “cigarette”.
“Will you marry me, Gerie?” I asked as I slipped the ring on her finger.
After she said “Yes!” and some hugging and kissing, I told her that we had 7:00 reservations for Mafolie’s that evening. She was so impressed that I had made dinner reservations from home, as though long distance calling was something beyond my limited capabilities. It was a perfect proposal, if I may say so myself.
“Now!” I said, “Let’s start this vacation!”
AWWWW! What an INCREDIBLE start to your trip!!! I'm sure Gerie understands now that Jeff and the damn egret weren't high on the list of priorities for you!
Keep em coming!
Now you have to go back there for the wedding! That's what I did-
Can't wait for more
Aww jeez... Way to make a girl tear up at work.
"Uhh... It's just allergies, I swear!"
Congratulations guys. That is an incredible story. One for the grandkids!
great story 🙂
Loved this trip report and can't wait to hear more!
Congratulations...love the way you write. Want to hear more conversation-like postings....
Lovely - ALL THE BEST!
Gerie and John,
To both of you I wish for all the wonderful things that a VI wedding can bring. (And you know I know about that!) The second time around on a beach with friends and family is the perfect ending to a perfect engagement and just one of the many steps in a wonderful life together. I was told in the beginning that you were a "keeper" and you cannot imagine the happiness I felt for the two of you when the Coconut Telegraph spread the news before you were even home! Gerie must have had to keep looking at that sprarkler for a reality check!
Congrats to both of you!
Smoooooooooooooooth. So well done and congratulations.
Thanks, everyone, for all your kind wishes! I'm still kind of dazed by it all. Who would ever think the perfect vacation could be made even more perfect. The proposal kind of added a new dimension to the trip. And next time John wants to take pictures I'll be a little more eager, although I doubt he could ever top this.
He's busy working on Part 2 now, which, hopefully, will be posted tomorrow.
I too, want to thank everyone for their kind words and congratulations. It's great to share our story with everyone and greater still to hear all the best wishes responses. As Gerie said, it was a perfect vacation...and sharing bits and pieces of it with everyone lets me stay in St. Thomas that much longer...if only in my head.
(Personal note to Gerie: Stick around babe! We'll see whether or not I can top it!!!)
Congratulations and best wishes for many, many happy years together Gerie and John!! What a way to start a visit to STT! Can't wait to read more.
And to think that I missed all this excitement. John, you topped your reports of your last visit. My congratulations on your engagement. I'll make sure I'm down next Aug. if you intend to have an island wedding. What an old forum gathering that will be.
Aaahhh, that's soooo sweet and romantic! I have to envy you peeps who get engaged and/or married in the islands. What memories and what a way to start out! Congrats to you both!
Figured I better read your FIRST trip report before your second! Congrats to both of you! No wonder you weren't on Island time, you were anxious to get that ring on you honey's finger! I agree with the others, now you have to get married here! NO choice! lol!
Nice report! 🙂
Congrats on your engagement and future marraige. My lovely wife and I have been married 23 years now and just returned from our 3rd trip to STT Sunday. I hope you 2 have as wonderful a marraige as my wife and I have been having.
Also thanks for the detailed trip report sounds like it went as planned. Good Luck to both of you !!!!!!!!!!
Congrats and best wishes as well! What a wonderful way to start the vacation, and now we can't wait for the rest!
I haven't been online here and forever and am happy to hear of your engagement! Congrats!!!