A Love Letter to my YOUTH
It is rumored that when I was younger… I had a wild streak full of bigger-than-life stories, life-altering experiences and risk-taking adventures.
I’ve met a lot of colorful characters with eccentricities too odd to explain and some too cliched to repeat.
When the Dominican Republic’s earth-shaking tragedy happened this year, I had a flash back to my past…a wild two-week romp through the sugar cane fields of Puerta Plata in 1990. Was the place I cling to when I need to remember something other than bills and responsibilities now a pile of debris?
I had no way of knowing.
I came to visit the Dominican Republic in an odd sort of way. It started in the US Virgin Islands where I decided to show up at 17 with a one-way ticket and $100 cash wearing 4″ heels and a snow white sundress.
My luggage was lost for 11 days.
My hotel turned out to be a motel that was in a bad section of town.
And, the US Navy dumped untold thousands of sailors off an aircraft carrier shortly after I arrived.
I suppose it could have been a shameful comment on my honor if I hadn’t run in to one of our country’s finest soldiers that was concerned about the volume of free drinks that were constantly headed my way.
Further, he had the good luck to run across a local cabbie that had been watching idiot 17 year old girls make this same hackneyed journey for an untold number of years. Sadly, I was not his first rescue effort.
Let’s just say I woke up the next morning safely in my seedy motel room with everything intact…including my 4″ heels. That cabbie was W.D…later known to me as “Uncle Bill.”
After that, W.D. became my frequent dinner companion, designated driver, and little devilish conscience that kept me out of extreme trouble while still enjoying watching me flounder in the shallow end “uh oh.”
After the romance of the islands wore off…I finally got a permanent case of Rock Fever and left for the States for good. Over the next few years, I would hear from W.D. occasionally when he was in the States…a phone call here and there.
One day he called me in Atlanta and said, “What’s Up?”
“Not much,” I replied.
“Wanna go to the Dominican Republic for a couple of weeks? I know a guy that knows a guy with a hotel.”
“Separate rooms, right?”
“Hehehe. You always spoil the fun. Yeah. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”
And we were off. I speak three words (literally) of Spanish. It was an adventure. I came back renewed and nostalgic for the islands but ready to get off my butt and make something out of my twenties.
Today, I received a love letter to my youth.
Well, a postcard to be exact. No sweet words. No mushy sentiment. Just a postcard signed “W.D.” A reminder, if you will, that my youth is still alive and well in a sugar-cane field in the Dominican Republic.
Thanks, Lovey. I needed that.