Abajem IV

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I just returned from spending a week on Florida’s St. George Island with eleven friends I met through an organization called Gay Spirit Visions.

GSV was established in 1990, and in 2002 a half-dozen GSVers decided to rent a house on SGI for a week. Chase Robinson has taken care of reserving a rental house each year, and the house-renting group (whose participants vary each year) eventually doubled its size.  The group has rented a half dozen different houses over the years; this was my fourth consecutive year vacationing with these guys on SGI, all four of them spent at the enormous and luxurious “Abajem.”

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As in previous years, the week consisted of hanging out with each other in various combos, either on the beach or within sight of it. Besides enjoying the camaraderie. the conversations, the shared meals, and the spectacular scenery, a large part of the wonderfulness of the week is enjoying an extended break from our respective routines – as well as, for some of us, a break from the relentless aggravations we normally import into our brains via our Internet connections, our phones, and our voluntary tethers to other mass media.

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Although three of us who went to SGI this year live in various towns in North Carolina, Atlanta is home for the rest of us. That means most of us get to extend our annual visits by carpooling down to and back from SGI, as well as spent time together in Atlanta between visits to the island. Although we share many of the values cherished by most GSV participants, there’s a range of ages among us, most of us are retired from our former full-time jobs, about to retire, or are semi-retired.

This year’s Abijem crew:

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Bill

 

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Bradford

 

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Chase

 

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Craig

 

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Jim

 

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Ralph (right) and Ted  (left, in sumo wrestler garb)

 

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Randall

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Roger

 

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Tom

 

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Wayne

 

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Cal (with crocheted cap and flower courtesy Jim)

Our time together on the island is deliberately and gloriously unstructured, but our indoor and outdoor lolling about is punctuated not only by almost nonstop banter and hilarious commentary, but by our taking turns preparing evening meals, silently meditating together each morning, exchanging massages, playing card games (well, actually playing multiple rounds of a single card game: Wizards), intermittently working (alone or together) at various crafts, reading, taking naps, watching a DVD or two, eating in small groups at various restaurants, or driving across the bridge into the nearby town of Appalachicola to visit its shops and galleries. Some of us avail ourselves of Abijem’s swimming pool and/or its hot tub, and Chase provides kayaks, kites, and bicycles. Some of us get up every morning to watch the sun rise over the ocean, and this year our visit coincided with a full moon.

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“Mermaid Barbie” was a permanent feature this year in Bradford’s various tablescapes, which included (among other items, and on various days) painted shells, botanical specimens collected from the island, toy submarines, and a pair of lava lamp-like lighting fixtures.

 

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Mealtime appetizer.

 

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For the second time, Jim (aka Mr. Patience) taught Calvin how to crochet!

 

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Cal losing yet another round of Wizards. Jim crocheted the Wizard’s Hat.

 

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This year, hot on the trail of the the strolling sumo wrestlers was…

 

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…Godzilla!

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Tea time at Abijem, for the humans…

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...and snack time for the birds.

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Randall’s photo of some of the seashells we painted with color markers 

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Sunrise over the ocean.

 

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Lighthouse at St. George

 

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Souvenirs of this year’s visit: samples of our painted shells, a hibiscus flower, and a teddy bear.

 

As I had with with my three previous trips to SGI with these kindhearted, affectionate, intelligent, and creative guys, I looked forward for many months to our week together this year, and hope there’ll be many more annual rendezvouses there.

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7 thoughts on “Abajem IV

      1. I’m surprised you might actually be IN THE COUNTRY any upcoming May, but I’ll let you know if/when someone drops out and creates a new slot. (The coordinator will let us all know that – probably sometime next January or so?) That’s the only way I ended up being included: someone already going knew I wanted to come, and a slot opened up and I heard about it before other potential candidates. In the meantime, I can certainly recommend the Gay Spirit Visions group, where I met all these guys. They put on three conferences each year (and that’s been happening since 1990); the next one will be in September, in Highlands, NC. Definitely a transformative experience for most of the folks who decide to go.

  1. What a lovely and relaxing time! Such fun to read about it (and see the pictures!)

    Did you know I also know Craig Cook?

    🙂 Carol

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