Sunday, July 9, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! The Magic of Bermuda

"Have you ever been to Bermuda?" Herb Simmons asked me as I was helping him put together a photo album and write the story of the Sea and Surf Anglers Club of Boston and the Blue Waters Anglers Club of Bermuda.

Herb was the Chief of Pharmacy at Boston City Hospital when, at the age of 49, he suffered a massive stroke. He was initially totally blind and then regained some sight but had difficulty processing what he saw as a result of the stroke. I was the Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator and was charged with providing social work intervention to the visually impaired veterans at the VA.

Herb made it very clear from the beginning he did not want to be a patient and he quickly went from patient to invaluable volunteer. Through the Telefriend program, Herb kept in touch with other legally blind veterans who were housebound, elderly veterans and veterans at risk. Together we were blessed to literally save lives!

I told Herb that we had never been to Bermuda; we hadn't been on a vacation since the twins were born 12 years ago.

He told me that Bermuda had to be our first vacation. We would take care of the airfare and our stay at the Grotto Bay (a premier family friendly resort on the Island) and he would make sure that his Bermudian friend and fellow angler, Lovintz Cann would be our host.

Lovintz picked us up at the airport and drove us a short distance to the Grotto Bay.

He told us that the next day he would take us on a tour of the Island and out to lunch at the Royal Naval Dockyard.

Tom took this photo from The Reefs:

Ruth Anne was made an honorary member of the Sea and Surf Anglers Club and we took this photo on the dock of the Blue Waters Anglers Club:

We fell in love with the Island and it did not take much arm twisting by Herb to convince us to return during a Tournament. We would be a part of the Fishing Tournament festivities when the Bermudians fished in Cape Cod.

A brief back story about these two Clubs. Since fishing in International Tournaments was restricted to white men only, the Sea and Surf Anglers Club of Boston and the Blue Waters Angler Club of Bermuda decided to start their own tournament.

Here is a photo from the first Goodwill Tournament in 1965:

The goodwill, the camaraderie and the love of fishing kept these two Clubs going for decades. The tournaments were filled with rituals and ceremony. The bonds of friendship were as strong as the tight lines of reeling in the big one.

You can see the special bonds of friendship along with the lighthearted competition that went into a Goodwill Tournament:

We'd have a fish fry the day before the tournament began. Here is a photo of Herb and me on the dock enjoying the Bermudian evening air and Bermudian fare:

Family and friends loved waiting on the dock for the boats to come in, the weighing of the fish and the cutting up of the fish.

More photos from the 3 day Tournament:

As I posted the photos on Facebook I reconnected with members of the Sea and Surf Anglers Club after all these years. That is indeed the magic of Bermuda!

After I was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine Standards, I took what I thought would be one last trip to the Island.

As I recovered and became a runner, I had in the back of my mind and deep in my soul that one day I'd go to Bermuda and run in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.. It was on my bucket list and then it wasn't until the Finish at the 50 Expo in 2015. Race Directors Anthony Raynor and Clarence Smith had us at hello! All the wonderful memories came flooding back to us and before I knew it, I was training to go the distance again. I had not run a half marathon since we ran the 2009 Boston Marathon!

After two consecutive years, we were not going to train for a 3rd consecutive Bermuda Half Marathon and were planning to go to the Island for a vacation at some point in the future.

Bermudian hospitality and friendships forged once again played a very important part in my life as, during Boston Marathon weekend, Race Director Anthony Raynor extended a complimentary race entry for Team McManus in the 2018 Bermuda Marathon Race Weekend.

A week from Friday, Anthony and Clarence will be in Boston for the DMSE Summer Classic Weekend. Team McManus will be taking them out for dinner and talking about Bermuda Race Weekend!

I've come full circle since Herb Simmons first asked me if I'd ever been to Bermuda...the magic and the traditions continue....and what a thrill it will be when Team McManus, now with our daughter Ruth Anne run by the Blue Waters Anglers Club on January 14th 2018!

Go the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

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