17 March 2009

Beverly's nautical adventure: a restful and regenerative interlude

In the all-too-short time she was with us, Beverly Eckert seemed to live many lives. One of them was as first-mate, galley helper, and Scrabble master on the wistfully named catamaran "Neverland."

Once the the bulk of the 9/11 reform legislation was passed, she made a concerted effort to get out of her "comfort zone" by setting sail for long voyages with her newfound captain/friend, Shawn Monks. The harrowing and exhausting roller-coaster of Beverly's lobbying work had taken a physical and emotional toll, and she took to the sea to rest, refresh and just forget the stress and toil she had taken on after the death of her husband.

Part of life on the water seems to be the frequent and easy making of new friends. I recently happened upon the web site of sailor and motivational speaker Neal Peterson, who, along with his wife, Darlene, had met Shawn and Beverly as they sailed down the Intercoastal Waterway. Neal's tribute to Beverly is a touching reminder that there was so much more to her life than trips to Washington and interviews with Tom Brokaw. Of course, I will describe this restful, but also exciting period of Beverly's life in the book, because it was when she began to return to being the Beverly Eckert whose eyes were more often bright with joy, whose smile shone more regularly as warm as the Caribbean sun.

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