2017 Life Logs, Day 327: Fabulous Thanksgiving Day
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny AM, Rainy PM; High 73, Low 69 degrees F
Location: At The Outrigger on Fort Myers Beach, FL
This was a fabulous Thanksgiving Day, although happy and sad at the same time. Mark’s sister, Mary Ellen, hatched the plan for us to do a family take-over of the tiki hut with picnic tables here at The Outrigger for our Thanksgiving dinner, and it worked perfectly. We really had no competition and there was just enough room for all thirty-seven of us to enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner together. A great big thank you to Mary Ellen and Lee for delivering the food and setting things up for all of us. The happy times were the games on the beach and the time spent talking to family. I had a nice walk out to the water with Justin, Jo, and Coco this morning, and we walked and swam out to a sandbar and back. Things have been so busy since we arrived that I have hardly had time to spend with them, so our little walk and swim was a happy time for me. Ziggy wasn’t with us as he was playing with the ‘boys’, but just watching all of the cousins playing together was so special. There are only two ‘girl’ grandchildren on the Handley side of the family, Coco and Steve’s granddaughter Katie. All the rest are boys and all of them love to have fun.
Just as we finished our Thanksgiving dinner, the rain came. But we were dry under the tiki. The rain gave us the opportunity to sit around and visit, and then we gathered to celebrate Mark’s life. Stories were told that made me both laugh and cry, so this was a happy, sad time. I thought I had gotten to the point where I could talk about the loss of Mark without tearing up. But today I found that not to be the case. Being with his family in Florida brought back so many wonderful memories. And the stories that were told reminded me once again of what an incredibly lucky person I was to be married to Mark Handley. We lived a life of adventures that some only dream about. Mark made his dreams come true and took me along with him. I really do have to write that book to honor his memory.
When the rain subsided, everyone headed out to the beach for a family volley ball game. Some of us watched while others played until sunset. We will all be heading home tomorrow and I will be taking with me some wonderful memories. It has been delightful to watch Sam, Jonah, and Ziggy interact with cousins they have never met before. Ollie and Coco became inseparable this week and what a joy it has been to watch them play together. And just seeing Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco has been so very special. I have worried so much about their situation in Puerto Rico over the past few weeks, but they all look healthy and happy and are ready to continue to do their part in rebuilding Puerto Rico. Saying farewell is always a sad time, but hopefully we will find a way to be together again soon.