Our journalist son Seth is on a three-month assignment for The New York Times to travel over land from São Paulo Brazil to New York City on a budget of $70 per day. He is reporting as "The Frugal Traveler" via articles, a blog and Twitter. This is an exciting assignment, an opportunity not to be turned down. However, it meant that he would miss the family celebration of his father's eightieth birthday and Seth's sister-in-law's and his own fortieth birthday.
So there we were without him in Cape May, New Jersey in a lovely rented house a five-minute walk to the ocean. Present were two of the celebrants, Peter and our daughter-in-law Katrina, plus our other son Jeremy, our two grandchildren, my brother Don and his wife Nancy. But, of course, no Seth. He was, as far as we knew, on a boat sleeping in a hammock traveling frugally between Manaus and Porto Velho, Brazil on the Madeira River. It was week two of his journey.
It was Father's Day morning. We were gathered in the living room when Jeremy came bounding down the stairs, laptop in hand to announce that Seth was on his computer via Skype. Just off the boat and soon to leave to cross the border to Bolivia, he found a wifi signal and checked in.
There he was, clear as day, sitting by a pool in an obscure Amazon "resort." His nephews asked him to get in the pool, and we watched him jump in. With his laptop at the edge of the pool, we chatted for about twenty minutes. And then he was gone.
Thank you Skype.