A Gentle Soul on St John
It was another beautiful day in paradise, a bit overcast and a bit drizzly. Sometimes I welcome that kind of weather on St Thomas.
Since we didn't want to sit around the house and swat mosquitos, watch dust bunnies gather, or discuss the relative merits of Light, Dark, Spiced, or Blackstrap Rum, we decided it was a good day to head to St John.
The ferry from St Thomas to St John is a quick fifteen minutes. It's a great place for a day trip.
I like to go to a small watering hole in Mongoose Junction on St John called The Sun Dog Cafe. I love it there because, usually, most of the people sitting around the bar live on St John.
This day I struck up a conversation with a guy named Jim. Jim is probably not his name, it’s just what I remember. There may have been a few beers involved, so my memory’s a bit shaky on that score. Let’s call him Jim anyway.
I instantly loved this guy. He is one of those unpretentious gentle souls who's comfortable in his skin. I enjoyed talking with him. There was no bragging, no guile, and no preening. He was just a nice guy; kind and helpful.
It’s not often you find somebody like that.
Jim lives on St John. I should say he lives just off St John on his boat. Jim used to have four boats. He was kicking off a chartering business. Then hurricane Irma hit, and Maria fell close on Irma’s heals. He lost three of his four boats. He's living on the one surviving boat.
We talked a lot about boats. He was well versed in everything nautical. I know a little, but you could measure what I know about floating things and the sea in a thimble and still have room for rum.
Jim spent some time explaining how things like boat batteries, anchor buoys, engines, construction, and the need to be self-sufficient on an island, etc. He was engaging because he was entirely there. Jim wasn't checking his phone or seeing who else cool was coming by. When he talks to you, you have all his attention.
The reason I'm writing this is I think the world can use a bunch more people like Jim. We should all strive to be present, kind, gentle and helpful.
I don't know how much of what he told me I'll remember, but I will remember how I felt around him. I felt ... important. I believe everybody likes to think they have worth.
Lesson - people may not remember what you say, but they will remember what it feels like to be around you. Make them feel important.
I want to remember that. I hope you do too.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
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