During the last several years my eyesight has diminished. When I go to my address book with a magnifying glass, I come across the name of someone I haven’t seen or heard from for a while, even though they used to be someone I spent a lot of time with.
As a result, every time I look for a phone number and see someone I haven’t seen or heard from, I pick up the phone and call them to say “hello.” Unfortunately, some of the old friends have passed away.
When I am able to connect with an old friend, it takes about five or 10 minutes to get caught up on what they’ve been doing for the last decade or so. While I am listening, I just put my phone on speaker mode and continue to complete my normal day’s office chores while I listen.
I try to do whatever I can physically and mentally to maintain the best health possible, but like anything that is alive, the parts wear out. The trick to keeping the parts running is to find medical assistance that can either repair, replace or just try to get you to forget about the worn out part of your body.
The sun is out and it’s the middle of July. The golf course grass is still green instead of brown, even though we haven’t had rain for almost a month. Our boat is running well and we still have the occasional visitor here on our island who can’t understand why we live in such a difficult place to get to. However, after they spend 24 or 48 hours with us, they can easily understand what a gentle place Orcas Island really is.
I know that if I had stayed in Southern California, fighting the freeway traffic mess every time I tried to go anywhere, as well as the general level of noise of the automobiles, airplanes and sirens, I would have died long ago.
There is a place on our island that was built by a shipbuilder called the Moran Mansion. He and his two brothers had the second largest shipbuilding yard on the West Coast in the early 1900s and at a young age he got sick and the doctor said he was going to die within six months. He turned the business over to his brothers, moved to Orcas Island, built his mansion and lived for over 30 years. I believe that the reason he lived that extra 30 years was the lack of pressure here versus that in living in a large city. Pressure such as the ones I used to have living in Southern California.
During the summer on our island when the large crowds have arrived, I take the ignition key out of the car. But in the winter, I just leave it in. This is the way I remember it was growing up in Hollywood, California when there were still a lot of vacant lots in the neighborhood where you could dig caves, fly kites, or camp overnight. Orcas Island is the same size as Manhattan Island and they have 14 million people living there and we only have 4,200 living here.
The only sense I can make out of all of this is for people to find a place to earn a living that is hard to get to so that not very many people even try to go to live where they do.
Fortunately, for us there are not too many ferryboat crossings on a daily basis and many people who come here for the first time, find that they have to wait for three or four hours for the next ferry. Selfishly, this leaves more room for those of us who live here. The bad part of the schedule is that the car and a single passenger cost around $50 and takes about one hour and 25 minutes of transit time to get to our island. This inconvenience works for us.
So far this month I have called three of my old friends that I grew up with in the city and I feel very lucky that I left the city and I’m still alive to answer the phone in case any of my other old friends call me. The chances of that happening are getting smaller with each passing month.