in case you haven't heard this story...
It was December 31, 1999, Y2K Eve (and, co-incidentally, a year to the day from when Jerry and I had met, but that's another story)...
Jerry and I were on the beach in Anguilla, an island in the Caribbean near St. Martin... We were staying in a house on the water where we had a beach all to ourselves... Jerry, being Jerry, had brought along a box of large trash bags, and he has an unusual habit, as part of his vacation de-stressing routine, of walking along and picking up trash, cleaning up the beach. There was plenty of trash on the beach that day because there had just been a hurricane hitting the island a month before.
I was sitting in a beach chair nearby, reading a book (of course), when he came running over to me, all excited. He had found an old bottle containing what appeared to be a note inside. He broke open the bottle, and we tried to read the writing on the brittle old piece of paper. It was in German. Being Americans, we of course are not bi-lingual, so we brought the old note back home with us to find somebody to interpret.
The note, as it turned out, had been written in 1995 and signed by a five-year-old girl named Jana, put in the bottle and tossed in the ocean in the Canary Islands. The bottle had somehow made it all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and ended up on that beach in Anguilla.
The note contained Jana's address in Germany, so of course Jerry wrote to her. Soon he got an email back from Jana and her parents. Later that year, June of 2000, we were going to be in Germany along with Jon and Tom (we were celebrating Tom's graduation from high school), so we arranged to meet Jana and her family in Cologne. Jana by then was ten years old.
We hit it off with the parents and became friends. We visited them two other times when we were in Europe and stayed at their house one of those times.
Anyway, where I'm heading with this is that Jana, now 18 years old, and her older sister Saskia are visiting us here in Minneapolis for three weeks, arriving a week from Friday. Part of that time, about ten days, they and Jerry are traveling to the American southwest, and I'll tell you more about that later. This will be their first time in the U.S.
By the way, the note from the bottle is now framed and hanging in our living room.
And arriving this Friday are my sister Mary and brother-in-law John from New Jersey. They'll be here for a week, and we are very much looking forward to their visit. I'd tell you more now, but this post is already too long, and, besides, they deserve an entry all their own. :-)