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Lisa Kelley-Gibbs: Unique first year successfully in the books

Celebrationseemed right by Lisa Kelley-Gibbs | April 8, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Trapper John and I made it a year in pandemic-forced quarantined marital bliss. It wasn't easy, two middle-agers who'd lived on their own for many a year, joining lives just as the world was about to go nuts. It's one thing to love one other; another thing to like one other; and something altogether different to live with one other, especially in the 864-square-foot loft we share with a menagerie of critters. But we made it, and we wanted to celebrate.

When his dream honeymoon to the Maldives was canceled last year and replaced by the Buffalo River raccoon-infested cabin, Trapper immediately rebooked the trip for our anniversary. As the date approached, we became reticent. By "we," I mean "I." We'd have to be tested repeatedly throughout the trip, which added significant cost, not to mention if we tested positive and had to be quarantined for two weeks.

My fear was being quarantined at a layover in Doha, Qatar, in the Persian Gulf. No, thank you. I'd seen that movie, and that chick didn't make it to the ending credits. A friend asked if I was afraid of being sex trafficked. At my age, those would have to be pretty desperate guerrillas running some sort of geriatric nursing home encampment, but sure, let's add it to the list.

After much discussion, we decided we'd delay that trip for a future anniversary and moved to the next locale we hoped to visit: Costa Rica. With a bit of research, we found it was very friendly to American travel, even in the pandemic. Testing was covered by the resort for reentry into the U.S., and if you tested positive, a $120 insurance policy covered the remaining 10-day stay at the resort. Put me in, coach, I'm ready to play!

We arrived on St. Patrick's Day. While Trapper is a world traveler and familiar with such affairs, I was in awe of the resort and hospitality. It was unlike anything I'd known. The staff learned of our honeymoon being canceled and how this trip was our "I Do Take Two." Chilled champagne awaited us in our room overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A beautiful sash with entwined wedding rings covered our door. We could hear music coming from the shoreline. We went to investigate.

Amid the ocean breeze and twinkle lights strung in palm trees, patrons dined under a starlit sky. Men with large green hats and suspenders sang and played Beatles songs. We chuckled. We were dining al fresco in Central America listening to a Spanish-speaking band in Irish attire cover a British band. We were truly international!

We played in the rain forest, swam until we were prunes and feasted on fresh seafood for a week. It was fabulous.

One morning, I awoke to spider monkeys softly cooing on the balcony, kindly asking for a fruit treat, which I obliged while Trapper filmed the experience. We smiled at one another. Be it raccoons and the river, or monkeys and the ocean, our honeymoons bookended a first year we will never forget. And we'll never hear the Beatles the same way again.

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