“Great Times!”

Good Day, All!

And yes indeed, it’s Friday again.  It’s time for a gratitude check!  Keep it simple … sweethearts!  A genuine “TGIF” will suffice!  Okay, thank you kindly!

Have you experienced that joy you get back when you give (or do) things unconditionally?  Maybe the outcome wasn’t what you expected but you gave it your best effort anyway?  Things … good things … even great times roll in kind of unexpectedly if you’re doing the gratitude thing right!

So, when I got to Ft. Lauderdale on July 12th, I had a particular itinerary thought out.  I had asked a few friends, starting with a long-time “brother” from another mother, if it would be possible to meet up … rendezvous even … and sleep on his couch like old times.  I was hoping to see my daughter and her son on this trip to the States.  I hadn’t visited my mailbox for me and EE located in Ft. Lauderdale’s main post office in 18 months.  It’s the same mailbox that I had when I first decided to make the FTL the home of Educational Excellence.  I could ship and receive books and information easily and that address hasn’t changed for me in more than 10 years.  I think many of you reading this may also be friends on Facebook where I post pictures of my journey and provide a connecting link to the blog.  But when I got to Ft. Lauderdale, between Johnny Ace and his longtime girlfriend Candy, I didn’t miss a beat!  Another good friend who is close with the two aforementioned friends, CeCe, had come to the airport to pick me up amidst the turmoil of Spirit Airlines and all of the travelers returning to the skies for vacations and business.  It was like red carpet treatment for one of the coolest, nomad/gypsies I know … Me!

Before I knew it I was treated to a birthday dinner of various kinds of seafood including oysters and lobster by Candy and Ace!  As if magically, since I soon realized that I would have to go to Connecticut in order to see Ayanna and Caleb, I found a few decent-priced flights to an airport in Hartford.  I had enough cash to book the flights.  Since I always flop down on the couch at Ace’s and didn’t have to pay for an overpriced hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale, I felt “safe” enough financially to pull off a New England trip with an opportunity to visit the family’s burial site in Valhalla, NY.  Once getting to Bradley Airport near Hartford, CT I was picked up by Ayanna!  I started thinking a la “Biggie Smalls” the lyrics ” … It was all a dream …”!  Man, I was so happy even though I had to speed up just a bit being back Stateside, I could hardly believe that everything worked out including getting an opportunity to visit the family plot there at Kensico Cemetery.

Ayanna cooked some incredible gourmet-style meals and we listened to music, played a game of “Scrabble Junior” with Caleb after dinner, took pictures, and made more memories!  We even had some family time at the pool … all three of us!  I was feeling fully loved and taken care of by the friends and family the universe had put together for me this trip!  As another good friend “Robbie Rob” commented, “J, you look like you’re in a dream … You’re shining!”  Everything was so humbly perfect if you understand what I’m trying to say!  When I got back to Ft. Lauderdale, the paperback copies of the books I ordered from Amazon had arrived and I picked those up from the post office with a little help from my friend!

Soon, I had a flight back to San Jose, Costa Rica amidst the horrors of flying with Spirit Airlines who had canceled around 1700 flights since last weekend.  I was able to get on a flight back here and survived another visit through Customs in San Jose with all of the Covid/Health-related requirements now in place.  I still have to go to San Jose and clear up some confusion with my entry this time as a tourist for 34 days!!!  Yet, here I am as another witness of the praises and the glory due to the universe for making it possible for me to have had such a trip and return to my current place of retirement … Cocles, near Puerto Viejo … Costa Rica!

Pura Vida … and Peace!

John I. Cook, Director

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