DIVING by Ula Grace
As we put on our bulky Scuba gear I smile in anticipation of the underwater trip we are about to take. I haven’t been diving in a couple of years so I’m a little nervous. But as soon as we get in the water that all goes away, and I immerse myself in the beauty and mystery of the ocean we are part, if only for a short time. We swim deeper and deeper toward our destination: a sunken ship. I am so enthralled by the fish that I fail to notice the huge shadow in front us until it looms up ahead recognizable as a boat. We swim over it. It is it’s own whole habitat, separate yet in union with the ocean. There is all kinds of coral and underwater plants growing on the hull and deck, and along the railing of the ship. Fish are everywhere, miniature purple ones swimming in schools, and large ones swimming solo. It makes me sad to leave this underwater paradise.
This installment in Ula’s Cuba Stories takes place in Playa Girón.
To read other stories… THE CUBAN DIARY
Photography for this story courtesy of Steven Gutmann
Valentine’s Day. Watching Bill and Kaci, she resplendent in a red dress, on Q13 Morning News. The usual Roving Reporter reports at florists and candy shops… pretty interesting, seeing the staging for the deliveries of flowers. And then a Doctor of Periodontics warning about catching gum disease from kissing. That was romantic… great, another STD to worry about. Listening now, to some gal blather on about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Apparently, she runs a Dating Company called threestepdating.com. In all fairness, she did have a few ‘Fun Ideas For Valentine’s Day’. A lot was just common sense and good manners, but then I guess there is a shortage of that these days. But she did get me reminiscing about some ways I celebrated Valentine’s Day in the past, and the fun we had. I am a romantic when it comes to taking care of ‘my woman’ on Valentine’s Day… just not always in life, hence my current single status… but, that’s how I like it these days, so no Valentine for me this year. But at one time I did plan some pretty spectacular Valentine’s Day Fun.
Maybe the luckiest one was my second wife. At that time, I was running the family jewelry store with my sister, Marja. Paula, a close friend, owned an upscale dress store. Another woman I went to high school with, had opened a lingerie store with her mother. This was before Victoria’s Secret… and she had some sexy things. All three women liked jewelry and we had a nice arrangement worked out… my girlfriend and future wife being the beneficiary. When we were dating, I found her in tears one night. She was in despair… she had not been able to find jeans that fit. We were going to a ‘fancy casual dress’ affair at KVIE 6, and she wanted me to be proud to have her by my side. She was quite petite, but just not shopping in the right store… so I took her to see Paula, who was the same size and had plenty of size 0 jeans. I spent a bunch of money that night, and Paula and I dried those tears. Shortly after that I made my deal with Paula and later with Diane to do a little trading.
My Mom and I always exchanged Valentine cards, but those days are gone now. I still have some of those cards. Last year, I had a Valentine’s Dinner at Paragary’s Bar and Oven in Sacramento, where I once worked… that was great.
So, this year my Valentines are my daughters and their daughters. I won’t be seeing them today though, the 10 year old is scuba diving in Thailand and the 16 year old is… well 16 years old, and very busy. So, no flowers, candy, and certainly no sexy lingerie… but Thursday I will be going to the Lynnwood Mall, on the mainland, with Ashley and Isabel… so I will be buying some Valentine Soccer Cleats. I don’t know what Ashley will get, but I’m buying myself a Valentine’s gift at the Apple store.