The Place HTML version

“Are you Mr. Gerard?” he asked.
“Yes, I am Gerard,” I answered. I watched as he slowly opened the zipper to his wetsuit and reached inside.
He carefully withdrew the small plastic bag I had lost several hours earlier.
“Where did you find this?” I asked, excitedly.
He turned and pointed to a large pirate ship with three tall masts, anchored about a half mile off shore. “Do
you see that ship?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied, anxious to see where this was going.
“She is mine,” he said proudly. “I take the tourists out to look at the fish in the water over the reef every day.
Before I let them snorkel, I put on my scuba gear and go into the water to make sure there are no sharks. I was
swimming about a quarter mile from my ship in about sixty feet of water when this bag came floating by me.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Beverly looked at me with a questioning stare as if to say, “That’s just
not possible!”
I let Paulo continue. “I thought perhaps it belonged to one of my customers, so I brought it back to my ship. I
showed everyone on board, but no one claimed it. I saw the rental car keys, so I called the company from my
ship. They told me I was mistaken since the car with that registration number was in Arizona.”
I laughed to myself, wondering what kind of company rents cars and doesn’t know where they are.
“After they gave me this information, someone on deck looked toward the beach and pointed to you and
said, ‘That looks like the man on the license.’ So I am here, and clearly this is yours,” he said, smiling.
I took the bag from him and said, “I just can’t believe that in this whole ocean, you were at the one place and
at the exact time when this went floating by!”
“Si, Señor. In our country we would call this a miracle!”
I had to agree. I smiled and looked skyward and thanked my mother out loud. As I did so, Paulo blessed
himself and said, “Si, Mother Mary looks after you.”
I smiled openly because The Blessed Mother was my mother’s favorite entity to pray to. I can remember
many a night going to church as a family for a novena to the Blessed Virgin. It appears she listens, and so does
my mom!
I removed all the money from my wallet and handed it to him, happy to do so because our vacation was
saved. “No, señor,” he replied. “I cannot take this. It was our Blessed Mother who gave this back to you. You
should thank her.”
I smiled and asked what I could do for him in return. “Next time you visit, please come on my ship for a sail
and swim with us.” I promised him that I would, and he simply put his mask on and swam back to his ship.
I turned to Beverly and related the conversation I had with my mother not half an hour earlier.
“Did I ever tell you that my mother prayed every day to the Blessed Mother and never missed a day in her
“Faith like your mother’s is a wonderful thing,” said Beverly. “Clearly, she loves you still.”
I smiled as a tear filled my eye, for I knew she was holding me in the palm of her hand at that very moment .
Chapter Eleven: The Cabin
There’s no place like home!
September, 2010
Beverly and I have been married nineteen years. In that time we have never had a real argument since we
both had enough of that in our previous relationships to know that was not how we wanted to live our lives
together. Some say it’s healthy to disagree once in a while. I think disagreements are only natural because none
of us is exactly alike and disagreements often address the gift of individuality. We are all one of a kind, a
treasure in our own right. A simple difference of opinion, accompanied by a willingness to talk about those
differences, will almost always lead to an evolved understanding and not a roadblock. Remember, it’s the