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What I Brought to St. Croix (beside myself)


I’m sitting at Mermaid Beach in St. Croix, staring out at the water and at the iguana in the sand 20 feet away. The iguana is bigger than the tiny, cute one I saw next to the pool outside my bedroom yesterday and tinier, cuter and greener than some of the iguanas, toads and other reptilian creatures I used to date.

This is my second vacation at the beautiful, hilltop home of O and J, my husband’s longtime friends, now mine. Every room opens onto their pool and faces the Caribbean below. Within eleven seconds of arriving, I achieved inner peace.

Here’s what I brought:

  1. Deep, deep gratitude for O and J

  2. My husband

  3. Our list of 2-letter words (crib sheets) for Scrabble. O and J left Scrabble

  4. Philip Roth’s novel, “The Humbling” which I finished and loved. I always take a Roth book on vacation.

  5. Lynn Barber’s book, “A Curious Profession.” Really good!

  6. 3 bathing suits

  7. 2 beach cover ups to cover my 3 bathing suits and my 2 less-than-perfect thighs

  8. Other summer attire which I need not bother to mention

  9. Other things that are equally boring or too personal to mention

  10. The St. Croix rabbi’s phone number, not because we’re planning a Bar Mitzvah or bris this week. My cousin Michael, a rabbi, knows her and told me one morning each week when not snorkeling, she does counseling for an hour at a coffee shop. I might want counseling when I’m not swimming.

  11. The 3 items on the WHAT TO BRING list under the heading ‘Yourself’ that Uncle Lou, the Director of Camp Tamakwa, sent to us each spring. Ira, Bette, Inez, Nancy, and other fellow campers now my blog subscribers, you know what they are. For those who don’t, check out the first of my AARP columns “6 Things to Bring on a Date.”

  12. A pen and paper to write:

  13. This blog

  14. A magazine essay

  15. A note to O and J, thanking them for this weather, the use of their house, for vacating it for us, and mostly for their kindness, generosity, and friendship. It’s a helluva lot to ask of anyone. A helluva lot.

(Dear Readers: The next post is a contest for you)

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