|Jo Nutter (Baker)|
|Tuesday, June 12, 2001 at 13:53:17:
Dear Gary and Sue,
I awakened this morning to our rain-drenched Seattle landscape, a fire in the fireplace, and Cliff, who was urging me to come into his dark hole of a computer room to read all the messages that were already on the web regarding our memorable weekend with you and the rest of the submarine family. I, like Sue, have been a member of this family for only a few years, but have come to know and cherish that relationship, one which became even stronger and more dear over the last few days.
Towards the end of our time together, I became more and more aware of the specialness of that time and tried to figure out just what it was that made it so. I asked several people what they thought of the weekend and always there was a pause or a shake of the head and then words like marvelous, amazing, unbelievable, etc. A few went on to name the food, the camaraderie, the entertainment, the stars, the moon - any number of things, but it occurred to me that it wasn't any one or any few of those things, but all of them and a whole lot more. You two thought of them all. You threw a bash at your ranch, infused it with your generosity and grace, and took it to another level. You made it possible for one man to tell me, "I feel like I've been given a gift."
Art is in the details. It's what happens when something is done as well as it can be done. When that happens, it has the power to touch people. THAT is what happened this weekend. It wasn't just an event; it was an experience, or rather, many, many experiences. It was, first and foremost, a patriotic experience, symbolized by our underlying reason for being there, by the presence of dedicated and like-minded people who value service and freedom, by the flag flying high above the stage, backlit by the setting sun. Secondly, it was a learning experience. I learned about the international nature of the cowboy from the Hannah's song, California's VERY significant contributions to the nation, how horses are shoed, and what cutting horses are, and much, much more. It was also a romantic experience, with the thousands of stars and the moon, the howling coyotes, the theme of the romantic American West reflected in the music, the grub, and the cowboy garb (for us city slickers). It was inspirational and spiritual - Lester's Amazing Grace, and the Invocation. It was poignant; witness the many people to people connections, the Tolling of the Boats, and the table for one. And, last but not least, it was intimate; it TOUCHED people. This was a REAL touchie-feelie gathering. There were connections and re-connections going on all over that ranch, and you made it happen.
YOU set the stage for the magic to happen. You are the reason for the magic in the air and the many indescribable pleasures experienced that weekend, and for that we can only thank you. To top it all off, you made the whole thing so much fun!
Cliff said earlier today that when he left, he felt nearly the same as he had when he left his boat; it was like leaving family. That pretty well sums it up. Our only regret is that we didn't get to say goodbye to the one and only Wonder Dog. Please convey our best to him and to all.