By Freda Vickery from the August 2014 Edition
So, for how long did I know you? It has to have been ten or eleven years. During those years we laughed till our sides almost split; enjoyed margaritas the side of buckets; complained a little now and again; told ridiculous jokes which made us laugh yet again; but always enjoyed each other’s company.
We first met at a “Manzamigos Thirsty Thursday ” in Manzanillo at the Sunset Lounge. It was early days and there were only a few of us, most of whom had gone home before we sat down and finally had our first long chat. I don’t know who was more disappointed to realize that we really should not have another margarita. Perhaps, even so, were well over our limit and should call it a night.
I still remember that conversation. No, not all of it but a good and interesting part. There were you two, John, Nigel and I and, for once, the latter were more the listeners than talkers. Both of you and John talked about the government schemes and interference with farmers and fishermen and how regulated all food gathering had become; that farmers and fishermen with such diverse products would encounter the same overbearing rules seemed a strange extreme. I would not be a good person in either situation because I would end up in jail for insubordination for sure.
John was a farmer in Minnesota and you and Nick had been salmon fishermen in Alaska. Each of you had your own boat and I was absolutely flabbergasted that, a slight woman like you, went out on the ocean in a boat, even though within calling distance of your fisherman husband. I was impressed beyond belief that anyone would do it, let alone such a very feminine lady. You spoke of the difficulties arising out of the Exxon oil disaster off of the fishing banks of Alaska and that you would never receive your entitled compensation before you died.
I don’t think either side realized that the same government idiocy affected the other until that evening. I suppose it was a ’one size fits all ‘type of situation.
Since that first evening, we have had many interesting and humorous evenings together. We visited you many times at your house on the beach for an afternoon noggin’ or a delicious dinner where we shared your birthday ham. Very often your sister joined us and we were always finding new issues to discuss or just simply to laugh at. You came for Christmas dinners at our house and guess what, we laughed some more.
We went out for one Thanksgiving dinner which was our conversation piece for a very long time afterwards as we vowed never to go that place again for a festive meal. We had many Sunday breakfasts out together, which over the years, expanded to include other friends or visitors.
We commiserated with each other over life’s tragedies and consoled each other as best we could. Most important of all to me was the knowledge that you were always there – my friend and buddy – non-judgmental and always supportive.
When we both got sick, it was a very hard blow to take. Now you are gone to your final resting place and I miss you beyond belief. I still hear your throaty chuckle and see your head thrown back as we laughed at some ridiculous thing or another and you said, “Oh, Freda.” That was our relationship; laughing, laughing and more laughing until we cried. I loved you dearly and miss you now more than I can say.
It was such a delight to have you in my life for even such a brief moment. You leave behind memories that can never be extinguished. Adios, dear friend. Keep a warm spot near to you for me as we have not laughed our last laugh together yet.