Amsterdam on the AmaMora

We arrived back into Amsterdam on the morning of the seventh day of our Rhine River cruise, where passengers would spend a day in the city and a final night on the AmaMora before departing the following morning. The AmaMora was moored right next to City Marina, only a half-block from Dirona, and we debated…

Cologne, Germany

Spectacular Cologne Cathedral dominates the city’s skyline and this UNESCO World Heritage Site is among Germany’s most popular tourist attraction. Built starting in the 1248, it is the biggest cathedral in Germany and one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in northern Europe. The exterior is covered with ornately carved sculptures and the 142-ft-high (43.35 m)…

Rhine Gorge

The 41-mile (65km) section of the Rhine River known as the Rhine Gorge was named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its castles, historic views and vineyards. This dramatic stretch of waterway has 40 castles, among the greatest concentration in the world, and was featured in The Learning Channel’s Great Castles of Europe Rhine Castles…

Rudesheim, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhein has been a German winemaking town for a thousand years, and today is known especially for its high-quality Reislings. After touring Heidelberg, Germany, we arrived in Rudesheim that evening and enjoyed a post-dinner wine tasting. The following morning, we walked up through the vineyards to enjoy the views to the Rhine River…

Heidelberg, Germany

The city of Heidelberg lies along the Neckar River in southwest Germany beneath the expansive and scenic ruins of Heidelberg castle. The city also is the home of Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386, and one of the oldest surviving universities in the world. The philosphors and university professors were fond of walking a path…

Strasbourg, France

The spectacular cathedral in Strasbourg, France is considered one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world. The outside of the huge structure is covered with incredibly complex and ornate sculptures, adding to the splendour. Strasbourg also is known for being the home of several European institutions, including the the headquarters of the…

Gracie

Even the most casual follower of TakingPaws will have seen many pictures of Gracie and the crew romping on the beaches of the Bahamas. Dylan, Dee Dee, and Gracie have spent countless hours swimming after the bumper, taking dingy rides, and gazing at each other across the bow. They were quickly dubbed “The Three Amigos.” There have never been better buddies.

Just before Christmas, we received the sad news that Gracie had crossed the rainbow bridge. It left a huge hole in our hearts. Last weekend Gracie’s people came to Key West for a visit. We enjoyed good food, some Dark ‘n Stormies, strolling through the downtown, and, of course, reminiscing about Gracie. So many good times, so many wonderful memories.

We miss you sweet girl.

 

Epilogue: Life Laughs at your plans

I finished my third book in the “Voyage of Drift Away” series, based on this blog.  It has been a struggle for me.

If you followed all 600+ posts in the blog, there is little need to buy any of the books.  But if you do, mail them to me (email me for my mailing address) and I’ll sign them and mail them back to you.

But this morning, I happened to think that you regular blog followers wouldn’t have the chance to read the final chapter of the last book, so I decided to publish it here for you so you won’t miss anything.  

Here you go.

Epilogue:  Life laughs at your plans

Did you ever have a sad day? A day where you just want to shut the world out, and sit in your room with the curtains drawn? That is me today, as I write this.

While editing the final version of this book, I came across this.
———————————————–
Pam and I never had a plan nor a schedule. When we left Connecticut on Drift Away inSeptember of 2011. We intended to wander south as our mood and circumstances dictated, which we more or less did. However, returning to upstate New York, ten acres of land in the Adirondack Park fell into our laps, just like Drift Away did a couple of years ago.

The land is all wooded except for a road that was put in by the previous owner. We intend to build a house, garage, and barn (for horses) after clearing the land to see the view of Shaker Mountain. As much as I dislike snow, now that I’m retired, I can envision myself sitting in front of a big ol’ stone fireplace with a hot cup of coffee and watching the snow gently fall. Gertie is curled up on the hearth, and Chevy and Ruby on the oval rug in front of the fire. There is nothing but silence. Well, nothing but silence now that Pam has finished plowing and shoveling, mucking stalls, cooked my breakfast of bacon and eggs and home fries, and got herself off to her job. Life is good.
———————————————–
That last part about Pamela was humor.

I was wistfully thinking of our future back in 2012. It was not to be.

We had bought the ten acres of land in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. And we were going great guns. The driveway was finished, the land cleared, the well drilled, and a couple of outbuildings built. Then I had an accident. A tree hit me on the head and broke my neck and gave me a very severe concussion. Life changed. Not for the better.

I was no longer capable of building anything. Those plans had to be scrapped. Drift Away had sold. Pamela and I bought an RV and became classic snowbirds. But then the yearly commute to Florida and back became too much for me. We had a choice to make. New York or Florida. We chose Florida, where Pamela’s mom, daughter and grandson lived.

I started writing books. Pamela worked at horse ranches. Something deep inside changed. Our lives were no longer what they were. Of course.
I’ll spare you the personal stuff.

Today, my Ruby, my buddy Chevy, and little Dirty Gertie have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Pamela left, taking Olivia with her and another dog we took from a drug dealer, Penelope.

It’s funny how life changes, eh? I had the world by the tail for a time. No longer.

The light of my life went out. My joie de vivre, my joy of life, was gone.

This book was hard for me to read and edit. I wrote the first draft two years ago. I had to set it aside. I couldn’t finish it. It was too sad for me. Too emotional.

But I realized that to heal, I had to finish it. I hope that with this blog and book, I have touched you in some way. Perhaps even made you evaluate your own life. I needed to share the joy I had found with you all.

So my final words, in my final writings of this “Voyage of Drift Away” series, is that you never know what life holds for you. Grab life by the tail. I realized life could be fleeting and I lived it as best I could, with the loves of my life. I’m so glad I did. No one can take away my memories. Memories that I’ve now shared with you.

I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 

  • attributed to Mark Twain.
Sunrise, sunset.
Sunrise, sunset.
Swiftly fly the years.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.

Sunrise, sunset.

Sunrise, sunset.
Swiftly fly the years.
One season following another,
Laden with happiness andd tears.


  • composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick.

And finally, for Drift Away

Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
Rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You helped me along
makin’ me strong

Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
and drift away… 

  • songwriters Jerry Lynn Williams

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