If I were a superstitious man, I would have stayed home on Saturday.
Any Roman augur would not have needed to dig elbow deep through goat entrails to see something was amiss in the morning.
It was right there on my screen door. Fifteen scuttling crabs. (Most of which had skedaddled by the time I grabbed my camera.) Now, that is quite a sight to get your day going.
But, I am not a superstitious man. I am a child of the Enlightenment. Those crabs were not carrying bad news in their mismatched claws. They were simply hunting for a mate before the rains get too heavy and drown the lot.
It was only a bit disconcerting. Because this was a special day. So far, I have had only two sets of friends come visit me in Melaque. And the third set were arriving Saturday afternoon.
Brian Saunders was the second Salvation Army officer at the church I attended in Salem. (Not in some “second officer” Navy sense. After all this is the Army. He was the second person to hold that position.) He and his wife, Leticia, were my pastors.
Brian was (and is) an incredibly gifted teacher. He is one of the few pastors who has intellectually challenged me. And Leticia was responsible for introducing me to my favorite Bible translation -- The Complete Jewish Bible. They have both added pieces to the creation that is me.
I told you of Leticia’s death and my strange experience while in the hospital – just over a year ago. When she died, I opened my home to Brian and their son, Holden. But circumstances prevented their visit. Until Saturday.
I love taking people to and from the Manzanillo airport. Every time I leave the terminal, I feel as if I am getting a new start here in Melaque. It was doubly special to meet Brian and Holden there. Because I have been anticipating this week for over a year.
After letting them settle in, we walked over to the Red Lobster (not the American chain; this Red Lobster sells good food) for shrimp dinners. For over two hours, we sat, and dined, and reminisced, and laughed. It was exactly the type of moment I had been visualizing. There are very few things in this world as fulfilling as good dining companions.
But the weather was not patient with us. While we were eating, a mild thunderstorm moved in and left us with the choice of camping in the Red Lobster or walking through the rain. We chose the latter.
The rain, as always, was a relief. All day the temperature had been climbing along with the humidity. But the moment the rain started, the temperature dived into the 70s. And, even though I was drenched to the bone, the cool felt -- well, cool. I am glad Brian and Holden will have a bit of relief from the weather I tolerate.
As I write this late on Saturday night, the rain has been falling for several hours. And the corpses of little crabs float like sculling shells on the River Styx.
Dating can be the cruelest of all sports.