Thursday, June 4, 2009

a Caribbean funeral

Today was a noteworthy day. It was the funeral of our friend and teacher, Dave Shaw. Dave was our landlord and lived upstairs from us with his wife, Inez. We rent the bottom level of their home in the best neighborhood on the island.
The first time we met Dave we were drawn to him. He was a man with a really wonderful legacy and a remarkable wit. He was elderly, but was as sharp as could be. As we visited with him we learned that he had a remarkable life. Dave was originally from Boston. He got two masters degrees; one in music education and one in French literature. He went to the New England conservatory and Boston University. He got a bachelors in French and one in music composition. He was also a professional jazz musician and a teacher. This instantly caught our attention and when we told him Ethan played the trombone he really got excited because that was one of his instruments. he started teaching a very excited Ethan lessons in composition. His goal was to have Ethan compose his own hymn before we return next year. Ethan studied every day for his lessons and came to be very fond of him. Dave was also a ham radio operater. He spoke with people all over the world! This was pretty cool to a 13 year-old.

A few days ago Hillary, his neice, woke us in the middle of the night. Dave was a heart attack and the phones were down and their cell phone went dead. We called the hospital but ours was down too. Thirty minutes after the phone call the "ambulance" showed up. It was actually a pickup truck. The ambulance was out of order. The hearse was broken, so they sent a back up hearse, a pickup truck. It was to Hillary's horror because Dave was not dead at all! He was alert and talking! Ed and the driver had no stretcher so they had to put dave in a chair and carry him out to Inez's car. They took him to the hospital, which by the way was only 3 minutes away....
Dave survived the heart attack but they sent him to St. Martin the next morning. Then he had a massive attack the next night and passed away. We were all devastated.

The funeral was held at a beautiful, historic Catholic church on the oceanside, and the program was wonderful. In particular the music. It was hard to believe that such a small island could produce such fine musicians. There was a barbershop qauartet, an amazing solo from an older woman who was obviously professionally trained. There was a few other small groups and there was to be Hillary singing, but she was so broken hearted that she couldn't sing, so the song was just played on CD.

In the eulogy, Ethan was mentioned as the last student Dave ever had and how much he had enjoyed Ethan.


In the meantime, we still had to celebrate Ed's birthday. It wa a small party, just how Ed likes them. We had a cheesecake, his favorite and a few small gifts

"Dear Dad, I love you

Happy Birthday to you

May all you Tropical dreams come true

I stick to you just as glue

Even though we were away from you

So Happy Birthday to you!

It's true dad

Love, Sophia Charles"

Raise your hand if you've ever had a Pim's!


  1. Oh yeah... we've had em and love them!!!!!!!!!!! I think we first had them in France but I really remember a picnic to a black sand beach in Greece. Us on our two scooters. We had orange ones and berry ones, YUM!
    Gordon and Frances

  2. I KNEW it would be you that had eaten PIMS!!