Elaine And Bear

Sometimes people are put before us for reasons we don’t understand.  Maybe for a lifetime, maybe for a few minutes, or somewhere in between. 

Today brought a pleasant surprise as we went exploring the East Coast beaches.  Discovering how close we were to the big water from camp was exciting.  Wow, we are only 30 minutes from the south eastern edge of the United States (I loosely consider the whole Florida coastline the southeastern edge).

Just as exciting was the unexpected pleasure to meet Elaine and her little dog Bear, brave travelers of the east coast.  Elaine and bear were bird watching when I came down the dock and discovered them on the pier.  There she was in her LL Bean windbreaker and jeans, perched on the pier bench with book, binocs and journal in hand.  Her little dog sat next to her at full attention.  We struck up a conversation. She was probably close to 75 years old, but you would never guess that.  She seemed so much younger.  She impressed me as an intellectual woman, forthright and full of passion and life.  She and her husband loved to travel.  She told me that when he passed on several years ago, she decided to make a decision.  Either stay home and mourn him, or learn how to pull an RV and keep doing what she loved–traveling. 

Elaine hails from Ohio, so we know what her decision was.   She and Bear were on an adventure and despite concerns from friends and family, have been traveling with her 34 foot trailer every winter for the last four years.  We sat together and talked about many things. We talked about life and choices.  Choosing to do something uncomfortable because of her love of life. We talked about companionship, and loss, and continuing on alone, even when it hurts the heart. We talked about being married to a job, and walking away from them. About careers, the economy and what it takes to be successful in business today.   We talked about swing dancing and social media.  We explored the idea of second chances, in work in relationships, and in love–and the slim pickins’ for dates lately.  We laughed a lot. We solved several of the World’s problems, and we shared bits of ourselves as though we’d been friends for years.  She gave me insights on where the best dog friendly beaches and restaurants were.  Bear agreed. We made a list for me. I told her about some of the interesting places there are in Minnesota.  We made another list for her. We commended each other on our passion for adventure and fearlessness.  She tried to convince me that even I could pull an RV if I wanted to.  It’s not that hard.  Yeah, well, I’ll stick to tents.

Elaine is an amazing and ageless woman. Such a warm, vibrant and alive woman.  I hope if and when I get to be her age I have even half of that passion for life she has.  Thank you, Elaine for being on that pier and being an inspiration in my travels. 

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