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"Just Stephen"

by William
(La Canada Flintridge, California)

In the late 80's, before Brad Pitt found it (or even Kate Moss), we arrived in Anguilla. Very quiet, very uncrowded -- we felt a little lost. We went because we saw some magical travel magazine photos of a wondrous moorish, North African domed villa paradise called Cap Juluca. That place was enchanting, one I'll remember all my life, but that's not what I'll remember first when I think of Anguilla.

Thoroughly unacquainted with this flat, deserty eel-shaped isle, I decided to rent a cab for the day. And that morning, he picked us up at the villa -- tall and thin, looking at us gently, he spoke softly:

"Good morning, I'm Stephen, where would you like to go?"

I said I didn't know, we're lost. Looking at us a little harder this time, asking if we liked art and getting an affirmative response, he said: "Let's go see Lydia, I think you may like her."

So gently he drove, though narrow patches and roundabouts, pointing out goats in weedy fields, past houses with cement roofs and protruding rebar, then to the Valley and down the cliffs to the harbor overlooking Sandy Isle, and to an artist's studio, with Lydia on the porch waiving so joyously as our cab approached. She knew that cab and knew it held Stephen.

So, for his first good thing, he had introduced us to Lydia and her art. She was a delight, and that time we bought a small but enchanting watercolor called "Sandy Isle", complete with its view of turquoise waters, 7 swaying palm trees, 3 seagulls, 1 yellow harvest moon and a luscious shore, all enveloped by a scattered pinch of lovely white sand taken from that Isle and somehow affixed to that painting.

This little watercolor with that pinch of Anguillan sand still hangs in our family room where I walk by it every day, thinking of Anguilla and remembering Stephen.

That was the first of perhaps a score of thoughtful, intelligent and so warmly human Anguillian delights, courtesy of Stephen. Next, Stephen presented us with ... oh, listen to me, I'm rambling again, but there's so much to say about that wonderful man. To give you the real flavor, to properly present the depth and warmth of the man, I'd need much more time. Anyway, for him and me, I'll just softly say:

"Thank you Anguilla for bringing us Stephen".

Nori's Reply: William, I would have loved to see Anguilla in the 80s. So many people who were in Anguilla back then have told me wonderful stories, always with a wistful look in their eyes. None have done so as elegantly as you have, though.

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Jul 15, 2008
Would love to see a photo...
by: Michelle

I would love to see a photograph of the lovely picture you have in your family room, painted by Lydia.... or even a picture of Stephen.

Anguilla in the 80s would make a good picture too!

Very nice story, thanks for sharing.


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