Abajem III

SGI 2016 photo 5 by Neil

Earlier this month, I spent a week at the beach with eleven other gay men. We split the cost of renting a gigantic house on St. George Island, off the Gulf of Mexico near Apalachicola.

This year’s trip was much like the week spent with the same group on St. George last year and the year before that: a lot of relaxing and conversation inside the house or out on its decks, sitting under an umbrella at the ocean’s edge, reading, napping, catching up with each other’s lives since we’d last seen each other (about half the group lives in or near Asheville, the other half in Atlanta), meditating together each morning, and preparing and enjoying elaborate, delicious dinners. Some of us got up each morning to watch the sun come up, some of us took long walks, some of us took long bike rides, some of us kayaked, some of us soaked in the hot tub, some of us flew kites, some of worked on art or craft projects, and there were multiple rounds of Wizards. After dinner on our last night we watched a DVD movie together – the brilliant and hilarious Sordid Lives, despite the fact that all but one of us had seen it multiple times before. And at some point we all poked around a bit in the nearby town of Apalachicola.

Sunrise photo by Randall

SGI 2016 photo by Neil

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In addition to the glorious and comfortable surroundings, the perfect weather, the interesting conversations, the incredible food, the frequent laughter, and some astonishing outfits, what made the week special was the harmonious  ease that flowed throughout the week among this diverse, intelligent, talented, and kind group of men. Doubtless this remarkable camaraderie was partly due to the fact that all twelve of us share many of the values and attitudes promoted by Gay Spirit Visions, an organization some of us have been affiliated with for over twenty-five years.

An additional pleasure of my St. George vacation this year was visiting briefly with my Oregon-based brother Michael and his wife Inice, who were on St. George the same week, celebrating their wedding anniversary (they were married on the island thirty-one years ago). My co-vacationer Randall and I, as well as Mike and Inice, also got to rendezvous with Royce and Martha, longtime friends of ours who live on St. George.

I didn’t take many photos this year, so most of the ones I’ve posted here were taken by my co-vacationers – although I’m not sure who took which photos. But first a photo of Abajem, the house we rented, that appears on the rental house’s website:

Abajem 2

Here’s the view from the front decks of the house:

Best view of the beach

Next are three photos of  our Master of the Revels and the guy who’s been coordinating these annual trips to St. George for the past fifteen years:

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SGI 2016 photo 3 by Neil

Random snapshots of the rest of us:

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Here’s Bradford putting the finishing touches on one of his amazing tablescapes for our dinner table:

SGI 2016 photo 2 by Neil

Again this year, I had great fun preparing three afternoon teas for the group. The comestibles for one of those teas:

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At some point during the week, we somehow managed to assemble for a group photo:

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A lovely week, with a group of lovely guys. I feel blessed to know them, and to have spent another week in their extraordinary company. The fact that we discussed the possibility of spending a week or two together in Europe somewhere was also exciting!

Many thanks to my co-vacationers who posted photos to the Google Document John set up for us. If you’ll let me know who took which photos, I’ll be glad to credit you! And if others post further photos, I’ll be glad to add them here.

 

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10 thoughts on “Abajem III

  1. Look’s like you guy’s had a blast down on The Plantation (: I lived on the Island off/on for many years and built a spec house there several years ago, but I prefer living in Carrabelle now, because of the rivers and having dock access is nice. My favorite thing to do there – besides fishing- was to catch the guard at the entrance booth when he fell asleep. We’d wake him up after we cut the engine and pushed the car in the gate. I guess I don’t have to tell you guy’s about fishing at The Cut. Great parties there at the landing, too. Good people. Good fun! I just thought this was a really cool blog for your gathering of friends and I do the same thing when I can round a few brothers up for a few days.
    By the way, if you ever want to hire a good charter Captain, I would refer you to my friend Krista. Captain Krista Miller (Google). She grew up in Apalach and she will put you on the fish. Just a really nice person, too.

      1. You bet! I enjoy hearing about other people’s excursions to our area. I am always glad to pass along insider tips. Knowing the history and getting to know the locals is really the most interesting part of the SGI experience.
        Sad to say, three people and a dog died crossing the bridge today. They were likely distracted taking in the view and hit another vehicle head-on, so just keep that in mind when driving. The Apalachicola Seafood Festival was/is this wkend and has been alot of fun. Good food and music.
        Anyhow, hopefully by Springtime I will have my new band situated enough to land a gig at Harry A’s, so if you see me playing there – remind me of this and I’ll buy you a cold beer!

      2. Gosh, that’s awful news about the accident on the bridge. Several of the guys I visit the island with each May (this very week we mailed in our deposits for our upcoming May 2017 rental) like to ride their bikes to and from Appalach, and I always worry about them getting over that bridge – so windy sometimes, and the cars often going way too fast on that dang bridge! It’s interesting, your mentioning the Seafood Festival: my friend Royce who lives on the island used to be, years ago, the festival’s Executive Director, and I went down there one year to take in the festival myself. Great fun. Royce is also a musician and sings now and then in Appalach, so you might even have crossed paths at some point?

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