Back To The Beginning

Janet and I knew from the beginning that the trip to Costa Rica to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Church of the Good Shepherd in San José would be full of many emotions.  We left Portland, Maine the day we were married, August 14, 1965, and arrived in San José during the first week of September that same year after our honeymoon in Jamaica.  After almost a year of Spanish language study in Costa Rica and Mexico, we returned to Costa Rica to start working with the folks at St. Mark's Church in Puerto Limon where we discovered that no one wanted to speak Spanish!  The ancestors of these folks came from the islands of the Caribbean many years before to help build the railroad between Limon and San José and their culture and church were English-speaking! So of course, we learned to speak "banana English" and when folks greeted me on the street with "Hey Fada, how's the mistress?" I would smile and say with a chuckle, "She's fine and so is my wife!" We worked in Limon for over three years and then spent most of the last two years at the Good Shepherd when the new bishop, Tony Ramos, became the first bishop of Costa Rica when the Diocese of Central American was divided into individual dioceses, one for each country.  So, we spent Sunday, June 21st celebrating with now retired Bishop Ramos, Fr. Lloyd Stennette and his wife Doris (who had their engagement party in our apartment in Limon over forty-five years ago) and many other friends who we hadn't seen for many years!  Wonderful memories were created and another chapter in our anniversary year was established but as we enjoyed the hospitality of our friend, Joanne Carter, in San José we were still looking forward to returning to St. Mark's the following Sunday.  However, the rains came and the road to Limon was washed out for several days!  We had a rental car and knew that we had to be able to get back to San José to fly back to the states on Monday! Finally, Friday morning we got the news that the road was open so we decided to go for it! The trip was amazingly easy and even though we had rain and the rivers were high we got to Limon in good time.  Another dear friend, Prudence Bellamy, who had just celebrated her 80th birthday, came out to dinner with us along with one of our original babysitters, Hilda Royce, who is a grandmother now! On Saturday we strolled around the old seawall which was somewhat destroyed in an earthquake some years ago so the overall appearance was quite different than we remembered from years ago.  While taking a few pictures, we met a young man who works for the city and discovered that his grandfather, Augustus Campbell, was a lay reader at St. Mark's when we were there! Gussie eventually went on to be ordained and served St. Mark's for years before he died.  We had to have a picture with his grandson, Carlos Augustus!! After a great lunch with the mayor of Limon and his family at a restaurant overlooking the beach where we used to swim, we discovered that a bridge had washed away inland and the road was closed again! We quickly changed plans after discovering that we could catch a small plane to the capital Sunday afternoon and then enjoyed dinner with another former babysitter (the sister of the previous one) who is also a world traveler and a grandmother. Sunday morning at St. Mark's was "over the top"...two and a half hours of worship and praise in true Caribbean "swinging rock" style like you have never seen before.  Janet has a video which I want her to put on our website! We left the rental car in Limon, made the forty-five minute flight back to the capital without further incident and slept like babies that night after one of the most exhausting but thrilling days of our fifty years marriage!