Life in the middle of the Atlantic

Recently Denise and I were blessed to be able to take a trip to Bermuda for my 60th birthday. In nearly 40 years together, we have never had the opportunity to take such a trip, so it was indeed a blessing from God.

I was struck by so many things during that stay on a tiny island smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: the turquoise waters, the pink sands, the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, the tropical climate, the vast array of trees and flowers, the geckos, the chickens, the crickets, and vehicles with steering wheels on the right while driving on the left side of the roads.

The beautiful little volcanic deposit is British-owned, yet definitely independent in spirit and actions.

But the aforementioned pleasures were not my favorite of the adventure. That distinction goes to the people.

I wasn’t drawn to the plethora of tourists around the pool who, frankly, thought quite highly of themselves. No, it was the workers, i.e., the maids and bell boys, the waiters and waitresses, the bus drivers, and the airport personnel.

Anyone could plainly see these people worked hard for every dollar they earned. Yet, they always engaged us in conversation and always had a smile on their faces.

Three in particular stand out. A waiter in a good old sports bar who emigrated to the island from Italy four years ago. Stefan became family to Denise and me in a matter of moments.

Then there was our hotel maid, a native Bermudian who treated us like family as well. And another native who worked at the airport — a young man in his early 20s, who was charming and very intelligent. These folks befriended us, not because they had to, or for tips, but it was who they were. For me that was as plain as the sunburned nose on my face.

When Hurricane Karl recently skirted the tiny island, I prayed for their well-being. They became family. 

Another fascinating aspect of the trip was how folks from other countries, islanders and tourists alike, told us that they are very afraid of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. They truly are nervous about what world-wide effects it will have, no matter who wins.

The young man from the airport spoke to me for quite a while and he was quite frank. He told me that Americans look like fools to the rest of the world. People in Bermuda, England, and other countries follow the happenings in the States quite closely — and they utilize news sources that truly are fair and balanced with the reporting.

I told him we’re afraid too. It’s hard to believe that from the millions of Americans from the Atlantic to the Pacific, we’ve come up with a pair of candidates who are a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

Each of these three wonderful people told us to come back some day. I wonder if it was because we became good friends, or if they were afraid for us post-election. Or maybe a little of both.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts