Spencer's Web Page
Spencer Bruce Dolling
May 12, 1995 - May 21, 2008
Friday, December 25, 2009 2:52 PM CST
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Tonight is Christmas Eve.
We gave it a good shot. Foster and I trudged through the touristy market with all the stalls of the mass produced crap individually crafted by artisans in our quest to capture Christmas.
We failed miserably.
Our mission was to find another gift for Tracey. It was difficult. We don’t have room on the boat for any more stuff and we have about everything we need.
So after an hour or so, we abandoned our quest and headed down the beach toward the dinghy. And we stopped for a while, had a chat with Sergio, and decided to take one of his tables slowing down to have little lunch.
And we nibbled on the salsa and chips enjoying a beer and watching the boats in the harbour. And after a while as we were waiting for our hamburgesa, we came to realize that if we were home eating at McDonald’s we would have finished ten minutes ago and already be back in traffic. Everything was as it should be.
We chatted with Sergio about Rooster Fish. How to catch them. What they taste like. How to cook them.
We were phenomenally successful.
And while we were enjoying maybe one of the best hamburguesas ever, Tracey was with Maria and her kids. They were out shopping at the other market. The non- touristy one. I’m not sure which one. It could have been the one with the stalls where you can find your chicken lying there with the head still on right next to the stall with the ladies dresses, but before the one where the pigs’ heads hang on hooks. Or it could have been the air conditioned mega market where you can sip lattes and buy whatever you want just like anywhere else in North America. It doesn’t really matter.
In either case, it will be authentic.
They are buying ingredients for dinner tonight. We’ve been invited for traditional Mexican turkey on Christmas Eve. We firmed up arrangements yesterday as Gerardo came to get the Kraemers and take them to the airport.
And as we were eating Quesadillas at Dona Aure’s with the Kraemers and the Palacios and discussing what Natalie and Nicholas should blow their unused spending money on at the airport, I think maybe Natalie really nailed the whole Christmas thing.
She quietly asked Claudia to give her last Pesos to Tracey so that we could buy some toys for the kids.
It has been a year of extraordinary connections.
Like when we arrived in San Diego, we met up with some people who we had only ever corresponded with in cyberspace: Domenique, Zoe, and their kids. We received an email from Domenique on May 21st - the one year anniversary of Spencer’s death and as it turns out the anniversary of Enzo’s death, their wonderful 18 month old son who also died of neuroblastoma. Zoe who had never met me before, got out of her car and gave me a big hug. It was an extraordinary meeting. And it wasn’t just the usual parent of a dead kid bonding thing, but the culmination of a rather extraordinary gesture.
Domenique, an archeologist, wrote to tell us that one of his colleagues, Sam Meacham is an underwater cave explorer. One day in April he emerged from pushing a new passage deep within the longest submerged cave in the world. They’ve made some new discoveries in a passage with ancient bones predating the last ice age when the caves were dry. Sam emerged from the new passage and bone site and told Domenique that is officially named “Spencer’s Surprise”. Sam presented his findings at the National Geographic Explorers Conference last summer.
So now Spencer has a little part of Mexico, a dark and liquidy part of Mexico, connected to the same Cenotes that he used to snorkel in, named after him. (But don’t tell anybody yet, Mexico is very protective of its archeological treasures, and the authorities haven’t authorized release of this information, so it’s just between us here on the internet OK?).
We were utterly blown away and still have no idea really how to respond.
And maybe that’s the whole point. No response required. Maybe all we can do is reach out and make a connection with somebody else. An extraordinary gesture at whatever scale. Talk to the waiter and learn about Rooster fish. Be nice to the cab driver. Take a moment to appreciate those around us. Share what we have.
If we all do that, we move a step closer to the whole peace on earth goodwill to fellow man thing and the stuff in the shopping mall, whatever shape in comes in, doesn’t really matter all that much.
And I know every year I write some sappy sentimental Christmas letter pushing one virtuous thing or another, while under the tree there are hundreds of dollars worth of gifts and plans to unload hundreds more on electronics on Boxing Day.
But this year, we have nothing under our little 18 inch tree.
Just a few things in stockings hung by the chainplates.
Yet it may be our richest Christmas yet. Thanks for connecting.
http://www.lehmann.ca/soundslide/spencer/spencer.html John Lehmann Photo Essay / Story by Spencer
https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=299149&lis=1&kntae299149=616040B045DD464DBE06FA6EDB896587&supId=249655367 Foster and Jared's Balding for Dollars Page