My journey to Texas was a poignant one. While there, I spent special time with my beautiful and talented Aunt Susan, and two of my cousins, Mark and Gail, all of whom are wonderful people whom I wish I could see more often and know better. It reminded me how many years I've let slip by without managing to visit them.
I also had the opportunity to meet Susan's charming sisters, Patsy and Nancy. In them, I found new family and new friends. (And a new scrabble buddy).
But the real reason we were all gathered was to bid a final farewell to my beloved Uncle Marvin.
As I mentioned in my memorial post about Marvin, he was a sailor. He'd sailed many seas, and where he didn't actually sail, he journeyed by larger boat as a passenger. When he died, there was one last place he'd wanted to sail....
The Gulf of Mexico.
And so, the family thought that the best farewell we could give him was to take his ashes to the Gulf, and let him have his final sail there. We gathered in Houston, where Marvin lived when he died, and then drove down to Galveston, past lovely houses built up so that the main living areas are safe from high water.
and a couple of cruise ships: one from Disney
And one from Princess
(those life boats, which look so small and so few on that huge ship, remind me of the movie Titanic).
Then we arrived at the smaller marina where we were going to put out to sea. There, we were greeted by a gathering of natives:
and their friends...
We boarded my cousin Debbie's boat, captained by her charming husband (and very fine boat pilot) Greg, and set out to pass the magic 5 mile marker so that we would be in international waters.
Along the way, we saw various ships, at anchor
and more at sea. These may not look huge, but they really are. There is about a mile to a mile and a half between each of these tankers.
The sea doesn't look all that exciting in these pictures, but there were points where we had some pretty big rollers, and it was fairly choppy. Greg was amazing -- keeping all of us from experiencing the roughness of the seas we were in.
Once we'd gone out far enough, and then moved out of the shipping lanes, we pulled the not-urn with Marvin's ashes out from where it had been safely stowed for the journey.
Said our farewells and prayers, and gently set it in the sea
Where it floated for a moment, and then did it's biodegradable best, and began to dissolve,
All to soon, it had disappeared beneath the waves.
It was a peaceful moment; a sad moment; a joyful moment; a hard moment.
And then suddenly it was over.
When we were all ready, Greg turned the boat around, and we enjoyed the breeze and the sun and each other
as headed back in to shore, where Greg took us on a little tour of the area ...
This is an oil rig that had been towed in for some reason.
When we got back to the marina, our old friends were still there ...
But we left them in favor of lunch at Bubba's
Despite the special decor, they serve up some wonderful food -
Alas, the crayfish were cooked in a boil that was too spicy for me -- but Mark, Gail, Debbie, and Greg made short work of three pounds of 'em. We settled into family traditions -- eating well, laughing together, and finally, playing scrabble on the Ancestral Scrabble Board.
I am so glad I went.
I am sad that it took losing a wonderful man to get me together with this group.
I am determined that it will take far far less to get me together with them again.