More Than Pearls, Episode 97, Odysseys in Paradise

Rich eased the dinghy into the water. He tossed Ramona’s two bundles of clothing and belongings into the dinghy. He clasped her hand to help her into the dinghy.

“How do I look?” Ramona said.

“Like a princess,” Rich said.

Ramona slid into the dinghy followed by Rich. He pushed away and dug the paddle into the water and moved closer to shore. Ramona sat in the bow and Rich in the stern.

“Is that my family?” Ramona said.

On the beach stood Jean, Turura, and four children.

“They look confused,” Ramona said.

“They are,” Rich said.

“They are so beautiful,” Ramona said.

“They are probably saying who is that beautiful girl with Rich,” Rich said.

Jean waded into the surf to help bring the boat to shore. He stopped suddenly as if paralyzed. He looked intently at Ramona and at Rich. Quickly Jean turned his family. “Turura! It is Mona!” He ran toward the dingy and held out his arms. “Mona!”

Ramona jumped into the surf and splashed toward Jean. “My father, my father!”

They embraced knee high in the surf and looked at each other as if nothing existed beyond their faces. Turura and the children rushed in on them and all embraced and joyfully cried.

Rich pulled the dinghy to shore. He watched everyone excitedly blubbering and babbling in whatever language produced the next sound. The family walked away from the turf jabbering and crying and headed toward Jean’s home.

Rich grabbed the two bundles like a neglected bellhop and followed them. By the time they reached the house, all the commotion created attracted others and soon nearly the entire village burst into a festive frenzy.

Rich walked ahead unnoticed and placed the bundles to the side of the front entrance. He watched and his chest felt warm and his heart completely filled with elation. He felt like falling to his knees and sharing his joy with God and angels. He looked up at the heavens, “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this and allowing me to share in this joy. This is worth far more than all the pearls in the bottom of this lagoon.”

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