Eulogy – Dolores Boyd 2009
John and Dolores have know each other for 46 years and been married for 43. They were constant companions and best friends. All their life together Dolores had a great sense of adventure and an even greater sense of humor. She spent a lifetime finding new adventures for the family and keeping John in check. It was her idea to find a job for John and head for St. Croix.
After moving to St Croix in 1981, life was fairly normal for Dolores and the rest of the Boyd Family, There were the typical family concerns of children’s grades and getting in trouble or taking risks but after both kids were gone to college, it was time for a new adventure for Dolores. She went back to school to the International Fabricare Institute, learned about Dry Cleaning and opened her business.
Dolores original education had been in nursing because she loved people and helping them. She brought this same love and desire to her business and started helping people solve their clothing problems. She never intended to run a big business but her desire to help others built a loyal customer base and she grew to be the biggest in St. Croix and one of the top 5% in America. Unfortunately, Dolores became ill in 2000 and was diagnosed with emphysema and given only six months to live. However at the same time, her first granddaughter was born and she devoted herself to getting to know her grandchildren and starting them on a life of great adventures.
Now a family adventure can be big or small and with small children you start small. Dagny was having a hard time teaching Cayla to brush her teeth so Dagny asked John to teach her to spit so she could get the concept of brushing and spitting down. Now this was too much of an adventure for Dolores to miss out on so she bought a couple of pounds of seeded grapes and everyone sat on the steps of Mill Harbor eating grapes and spitting seeds on the side walk.
Next up for Cayla was learning how to skip. Seems Dagny heard that you start to get old when you can’t remember how to skip. So Dagny and John used Cayla as an excuse to relearn how to skip. Of course Dolores got involved and suggested the shuffleboard deck at Mill Harbor and it worked well. Before every flight back to America she would send Cayla and John out to skip so that Cayla could get tired and sleep on the plane.
Since the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree and being an adventurer himself, Andrew and his wife Lauren moved to London in April of 2001. Since London was the setting of so many of the books that she loved and it was just another adventure, it wasn’t difficult to persuade Mom to come to over with the family in tow… with one condition… we needed to have a traditional thanksgiving dinner. In late November, Dagny, Carson, Cayla, Dolores and John hopped on a plane to see Trafalgar Square, Buckingham palace, Westminster Abby, not to mention Lauren and Andrew… and John was correct, … London is a “cold, wet miserable, nasty, dreary, place” in late November. Nonetheless, Cayla became infatuated with the “guards” and we all had a great time going from sight to sight. Although she had no appetite for the “potted pig”, we did find a restaurant that catered to Americans on Thanksgiving… turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, it was all there; Mom’s cousin Gwen even joined us from Belgium. The family Thanksgiving in London orchestrated by Andrew and Lauren was cold but what a dinner we all had and I do believe the crew cleaned out the wine cellar over the 6 hour meal with Cayla running all over the place to entertain the relatives.
The first really big family adventure was when Dolores clipped an article on Hang Gliding out of the AARP magazine. (That’s running off a cliff with a kite strapped to your back so you fly.) She brought it up at a family Christmas Party and everybody acknowledge that they had once dreamed they could fly even though they were all scared of heights. Everyone promised to go next year but Dagny had another adventure Miss Ana was born with Dolores at her side and helping her out.
It was a couple of years before Dolores got us back on course and we all trekked to North Carolina to Kitty Hawk to learn to fly. The first time it was Carson, Dagny and John. Two years later Cait joined and Cait, Dagny and John did the mile high. Dolores loved the serenity we all showed when we landed and she said next time she would join.
On that trip we went to the Elizabethan Formal Gardens and Dolores loved it as she watched Cait do handstands in the middle of the garden Grass and Dagny and Cait climbed the 25 foot tall Statue of Queen Elizabeth.
When we all decided to go canoeing in the Alligator River in North Carolina, true to her promise Dolores joined in. This is a canoe trip through marshy grasslands where alligators lurk in warm weather and where the grass touches both sides of the canoe at times.
In Europe, you subtract a star from the hotel ratings – a five star becomes a four, a four becomes a three and so forth. In 2005, John and Dolores met Andrew and Lauren in Naples for a week long vacation on the Amalfi coast. In Naples Italy, you subtract two stars…. This adventure began when Mom booked John and Dolores into a three star hotel the night they arrived. Awakening the next day from, John and Dolores decided to venture out to for breakfast… Senora… the man at the front desk said to Dolores motioning to his ears, than waving his finger back and forth. Confused, it took Mom a minute to realize that he was telling her not to go out with her earrings on. Taking them off and putting them in her purse, she turned again to venture out… senora, the man called again touching his neck… her necklaces…. Again to the fingers… Perhaps the breakfast room in the hotel was a more appropriate venue Mom and Dad decided. Meeting Andrew and Lauren at the airport they all headed over to the car rental place to pick up the mid-sized sedan they ordered. Remember the stars?… what they got was a “Panda”. For those of you that don’t know, a Panda has less interior space than a VW bug. Four people (including John), six suitcases and a three hour drive later…down the Amalfi coast… where lanes and speed limits are mere suggestions as you navigate curves overlooking the sea… 100 feet down… we arrived in at our destination… sort of. We met Luigi, the care taker of the villa, at the bottom of town. In his broken English, he explained to us that they villa was only a mile and a half and 400 steps up. With Mom’s lungs, Dad thought there must be a better way. A 20 Euro note and a Peroni for Luigi, and Mom was on the back of his scooter, zipping up the hill… Mom’s grin and Luigi’s Ciao! said it all. This was the start of a great week of great adventures involving boats, copious quantities of wine (you add a star with wine by the way) and fantastic food… She loved everything including zipping across the Mediterranean Sea in an open zodiac; Mom and Dad never did make it to Palmiano D’ Arco, Grandmom’s birth place, but Seeing Mom’s smile that week, you knew she was spiritually home.
Dolores also discovered the next great adventure by reading the Washington Post. Seems that there was an Olympic level whitewater rafting course within 3 hours of Alexandria, Va. This was a cold miserable wet day and Dolores seemed to love it the most. The pictures of that day tell the whole story.
When Michael and Anna Boyd decided to get married in Cabo St. Luca, Mexaco, the biggest attraction was the Sea of Cortez where sea lions frolicked, dolphins played, whales were abundant and formations of Sea lions sunned themselves on the surface.
The next great adventure was for everyone to go up in hot air balloons. She and John had done that right after Andrew was born and both loved it. Dolores did the research and another adventure was launched. As Cayla and Ana got to go up in a hot air balloon – Cayla called a week later to say it was the Best day of her life. On that same trip everyone went canoeing down the Shenandoah river with the girls jumping out of the canoes and swimming back and forth between the canoes. Then everyone went to the bottom of the Luray Caverns where John got the best ever shot of her granddaughters.
Ted and Trudy were a source of Great Adventure. They went on the Roseway, the Boyd-Evans clan followed. Ted and Trudy went parasailing and once again the clan fo0wed without Dolores – When Dolores saw the pictures of her granddaughter and Cayla once again calling a best day of her life, she set a date with Ted and Trudy so she could go.
The cycle continues as Pippa was Born to Andrew and Lauren and Grammy was starting with minor adventures once again. Pippa was fixated with her firehat just as Andrew was at the same age. She loved to see the Cycle continue. Now most people would consider a trip to a smelly farm disgusting but she didn’t stop her from talking about her trip to the zoo with Pippa
Dolores was planning a rich life ahead. She had left the stress of the Dry Cleaners but was taking a course in real estate and was working out at the Gym 3-4 days a week. She enjoyed her time spent with the Chamber Board. Unfortunately, she tripped and broke her ankle and her body could not handle the stress of surgery.
But the adventures that Grammy started continue – Dagny cut out a press release about Space camp where you feel the pressure of increased gravity and can walk at 1/7 the force of gravity like walking on the moon. She was planning for early next year. She gave John a picture book of the 500 most spectacular vacations in the world and she used to skim it for ideas.
Dolores read hundreds and perhaps even thousands of books a year. There was no TV at home just shopping bags full of books. And those books gave her ideas for the whole family.
The whole family will miss her but as they embrace each new adventure they will most certainly gather together to share their memories of her. John envisions a night were the family gathers under the stars and instead of hearing a story about Orion, Virgo and the seven sisters, one of the Young ones will ask for a story about Grammy and her position among the stars. As Ian Fleming (author of chitty chitty bang bang and the James bond series) said “Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes’ otherwise you will lead a dull life.”
Elegy For Dolores
Threads connect us all
To the first mother, umbilical
Whole cloth or web,
Everything that is
Everyone who lives,
And will always be part
Of the whole.
Maybe this is what god is.
Maybe this is how we live forever.
In this tapestry, find Dolores.
There she is
On a piano bench
An arm around a child who leans in,
And there she is
At the table,
On the deck,
In the face of a niece,
The heart of a husband,
The knowledge of a son.
And there she is
In a daughter, granddaughter,
In a great grandchild
Yet to be born.
Find her in a moment,
In an ocean wave,
As part of the sea floor.
Maybe this is what love is.
Maybe this is how we live forever.
(Sharon Martin for Dolores, 2009)
Prayer At Time Of Adversity
An Inuit Indian Prayer
I think over again my small adventures.
My fears, Those small ones that seemed so big,
For all the vital things
I had to get and reach.
And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing,
To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.
|Adapted from a Hindu Prayer
Dolores, Let your eyes go to the Sun; your life to the wind; by the meritorious acts that you have done, go to heaven, and then return to the earth again; resort to the sky, flying with the birds, if it brings you joy; or remain in the Waters, because you feel at home there.