On November 1, 2008, a Saturday, I didn’t go to work. That wasn’t unusual, as I rarely had to work Saturdays during most of my life. What was different was that I was never going back to work again. I’d had worked for universities since August, 1960, as a student, a paraprofessional, a research assistant, graduate assistant, teaching assistant, librarian, professor, and so on. Some said I’d be sad, miss it, want to come back and work part time, and so forth. I knew that despite my almost continual love for my jobs over the years, that I would not go back under any conditions.
The next day, Sunday, November 2, Gail and I boarded an Air New Zealand flight to Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands. We’d planned for over a year for all the details of the fourteen week trip around the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand. It was indeed the adventure of a lifetime, at least until a later trip which has been blogged on this site.
One of the things we enjoyed in the Rarotonga lagoon, which started some 50 feet from the front door of our little house on the beach, was the great number of large, bright blue starfish on the bottom. They are “Blue Linkia” (Linckia laevigata).
Unlike what we always thought of as “normal starfish”, they have thin arms and a small central “body”, as well as a brilliant color. We’ve never forgotten them.
Since then, we moved to Utah, we took a trip around the world, Gail has had a major back surgery, I’ve had a quadruple heart bypass, and we got a saltwater aquarium. The last item in the list seems minor compared to the others, and in a way it is. But it is a symbol. It is a symbol of our trips to all of the Hawaiian Islands, to Rarotonga, Aitutaki, The Great Barrier Reef, The Maldives, and other great places. But today, November 1, after my Cardiac Rehab session on the stepper, treadmill, etc, I stopped by the local marine aquarium store, Salty Fins, where I went to get reverse osmosis (RO) water. When I walked in I noticed something new, a Blue Linkia, in her coral tank. I couldn’t believe she actually had one, that it was fairly affordable, and that it showed up today.
Yes, I bought it. I’ve told Gail about it and posted a picture of it on my Facebook page. They’re notoriously difficult to keep alive, so I can only hope it makes it. Maybe he’ll make it the next five years.