Thursday, 15 September 2016

My friend Frank

December 8, 1968 - August 15, 2016

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads his white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. He is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch him until, at length, he hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, he is gone"

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. He is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as he was when he left my side.
And, he is just as able to bear his load of living freight to his destined port.

His diminished size is in me -- not in him.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, he is gone,"
there are other eyes watching him coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here he comes!"
Adapted from "I am Standing Upon the Seashore" by Henry Van Dyke.

Losing my friend Frank was a terrible blow....ripped me to pieces on the inside.
We met at our workplace many years ago working for a miserable boss.
He a trained Chef of impeccable talent and me a Day Manager. 
We hit it off immediately and we became good friends.
His creativity knew no bounds. Delicious mouth watering delicacies to make your palate sing were his trademark.
His decadent cheesecakes were to die for.  He introduced me to many new flavours and tastes throughout our friendship.  
Our friendly gatherings were a treat .....we all looked forward to sampling fine fare, compliments of Frank.
He could make an old shoe taste like a cordon bleu meal....he was that GOOD.
When we were Offroading we ate Savoury Bread Pudding and fresh salad sandwiches oozing with freshly made goat cheese dressing as we drove over sand dunes and rough island terrain.
At our infamous Get Together Parties we ate tender meats prepared in cochineal sauce, melt in your mouth cheesecake, seafood paella, crazy drink concoctions among other things....we just never knew what to expect from our culinary genius.
He was one of the most loving, caring, unselfish people I have ever met in my life and I am glad that he was my friend to the end.
One year when daughter dear was job hunting, he offered her a position with his newly opened cafe and she enjoyed working with him so much that they too became fast friends. 
Adventurous, he surely was and he loved trying new things.
One night a few of us headed out to a local bar where another friend was the chef there.
He came out to our table to welcome us and announced that he had a bottle of the hottest peppers in the world and that he dared not use them in any of his dishes.
Without missing a beat, Frank said, "Bring one and let me see."
The pepper came out on a plate and Frank proceeded to put the pepper in his mouth...and chew.
The next thing we knew he was sweating profusely and crying out for "Water! Water!!  No Milk!  Milk! Milk!" 
Oh dear we laughed so much that night...we never let him forget it.
He was a true free spirit and his "Frank laugh" and jokes made so many of us "crack up" until we were dying with laughter and our eyes brimming over with tears.
His dry wit and his incredible command of the English language made him lots of friends and Frenemies and these friends became my friends.  As I write this I realise that he was instrumental in bringing our circle of friends together.
Friends of a feather flock together....we have lost a good soul and our lives will not be the same without him.
He was a storehouse of knowledge and could discuss ANY topic under the sun. I was privy to lengthy discourses laced with in-depth analysis and a healthy dose of Bajan rhetoric thrown in for good measure....these kind of conversations were the norm. We all looked forward to talking with Frank especially if it was a hot topic on the island.
He loved animals. Once he adopted a stray dog that continued to hang out by his home. The dog showed up and started to keep an eye on Frank and his family by barking at strangers who ventured too near.
What did you name him? I asked, "Dog," he replied 
How can you name him"Dog?" I asked.  "That's his name...Dog. That's the only name he seems to understand," he said.  So it was. "Dog" and Frank became an item in his neighbourhood.
He was always in awe at the love and respect I had for my dogs.
"When I die I want to come back as one of your pampered pooches," he'd always tell me.  I found that funny so I'd laugh.
As the years went by he took a different path in life which I never understood, and we only communicated every once in a blue moon.
A few weeks ago when my phone rang and we sat and chatted for a long while, he was like his old self, the old Frank, the Frank that I loved.  We caught up on the happenings in our lives and we vowed to get together soon....that was the last time we would ever speak.  If only I had known that then I would have talked for a few more hours.
This weekend I will make a batch of Black Pepper Cookies, one of several recipes he shared with me many years ago.
To you my "free-spirit" friend I wish you a safe voyage on to your next stop along the way as your ashes are scattered in one of your favourite places on the in peace eternal.


  1. That is one of the most beautiful and moving and at the same time saddest tributes that I have ever read.

    1. Thank you GB, I wrote from the heart...he was a good friend.


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