The date was December 19, 2007. I had just returned from a November-December scouting trip to La Manzanilla and Barra de Navidad to look at houses and to make a decision on whether I would retire in Mexico. By that day, I knew I was retiring in Mexico.
But I had travel journal entries that I wanted to use for some purpose. The travel journal existed because Andee of My Life in Chacala urged me to write down my experiences. And she was candid about the reason: she wanted to hear about places she had not yet visited in Mexico.
When I told her about the journal, she pushed me one step further: she convinced me to start a blog. It is hard to believe that it was only five months ago.
Andee and I had become on and off email correspondents. So, the next thing she did really touched me. She was the very first person to add a comment (what I now consider to be the heart of blogging). And then she made the following entry in her blog:
A new Blogger friend, Steve, just started his Blog. He is writing about his search for a place to retire in Mexico. I like how carefully he is looking around and checking out his options. Nice photos too. Steve in Mexico I put the Link on my Links list too.
It was one of the nicest Christmas presents I could receive. A veteran blogger welcomed me into the community. She immediately followed up with suggestions: Stop being cautious. Speak your mind. Tell us your dreams. All of it first class advice.
Most of you know the rest of the story. Andee died less than a month later -- a loss many of us still feel acutely.
I am telling this tale now for two reasons. The first is that Andee left a grand legacy in this community. The people who meet her genuinely try to assist one another. We are supportive. And we like each other. Andee commented on that aspect of blogging often. (And I will say it again. The decorum on these pages is almost the antithesis of many Mexico message boards.) We should do our best to welcome and encourage new members in the community.
The second reason is that there will be a time of memory in Spokane, Washington on Saturday, 14 June. I was planning on attending, but I am not certain if I could deal with the emotions that I can feel as I write this. One thing I do know is that Andee has become such a part of my daily life I doubt I could memorialize her any more than living out the principles she espoused on her blog.
One thing we will never forget is her memorable photography. The photograph at the top of this blog is from her collection.