Saturday, October 11, 2008

Elevated To Ultimate Best Friend Status

Dave Horn officially gets elevated to Ultimate Best Friend status. This week he made his third visit to Grand Turk within twelve months. Dave had been here two weeks before Ike. We shared some really fun experiences and I think he had a great vacation. This week was very different.

A couple weeks ago Dave emailed to ask what I needed. What I needed was a friend to come spend some time here. I had not realized how important that actually would be. Two days later Dave called to say he would be here on Saturday.

Dave brought down eighteen days worth of tuna and rice. He brought a guitar case, surprised me with a mandolin case, brought guitar strings, batteries, and some flavored tea mix packs to put in bottled water. Not the least significant, he brought a speaker diaphram and we were able to fix one of my water-logged, not working Mackie 450s. This was cooler than almost anything. Dave also brought some relief supplies for my museum employees, one of whom lost everything he owned in the storm.

Though the nights were too hot to sleep, Dave's visit was not filled with canned tuna over a camp stove. The first night we were on Provo we went to get sushi and then later hot wings. Our first night on Grand Turk we went to the BBQ at the Osprey. This was the first place to get electricity back a couple weeks ago. It is also where all the line crews are staying. On Monday we had excellent BBQ chicken with the new dive guys that have come to work for Mitch. We had bought frozen chicken thighs in Provo to keep the steak cool on the flight over and these did not go to waste. On Tuesday we had steak at Allesio and Jackie's house. On Wednesday we had some of the best Fillet Mignon that I have ever had when Bion and his son came from Maryland to check on their house. Ok, on Thursday we had canned tuna and pasta. But on Friday we went to Margaritaville, which has just reopened, and had hamburgers and fries. Dave said it would be hard to explain to people about his hurricane relief work and to convince them of how hard life was here.

But what Dave brought and allowed was some sense of normalcy and comfort for me and many other people around us. This was his relief work. Dave was a big help providing an extra set of working hands, but more than that, having him here really helped me. I had not realized how easy it is for mild depression to set in in conditions like are here. It sneaks up on you. I have spent 21 days eating canned food. This week, however, has been very refreshing.

A few more friends and acquaintances have left the island during the past week. One couple I really liked came back to rebuild their restaurant, but after three weeks of frustration they chose to not renew their lease and have left. Our favorite restaurant is now just sitting vacant on a trash littered beach. Another couple who was running excursions on the island have also been frustrated with the lack of support they were receiving to revive their tourist business. This led to stress and health problems. Our conversation about this that was filled with hints of depression. They have left.

This has all happened this week. For some people, this week, one month after Ike, has been the defining moment when they have given up. This week, one month after Ike, I have been very grateful for fellowship, companionship, and the comfort brought by a good friend. You could say a best friend.

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