Saturday, January 14, 2012

A man that myths are made of...

I think I've mentioned before how my maternal grandfather died while on a boat during a family vacation in the Galapagos Islands.

I may have mentioned, and I'm honestly too lazy to look for it now, that our guide and one of the sailor staff gave my grandfather CPR for the five hours it took our boat to make it to the closest island with a doctor. That is five hours of non-stop CPR. The old fashioned kind where you switch between mouth to mouth and chest compressions. Five hours. The name of the man who did this was Phil Kelly. A handsome Welshman with dark curly hair and beard. He reminded me of pictures of Hercules that I'd seen in my picture books.

Phil became a friend of the family, the kind that you won't see for years and years and years... where getting back in touch is done mainly through letters.

In spite of all of this, Phil never lost the mythical aspects I ascribed to him those many hours on the boat. I recall watching him trying to save my dear grandfather several times that night... Through the cabin door and an overhead hatch. He straddled my grandfather, occasionally sitting up for really quick breaks and to catch his breath... his eyes always focused on my grandfather.

My aunt got an email from him the other day and shared it with me and the memories of that night flooded back, grateful to hear he is happy and doing well and still sails.

As I recalled him and that first time I met him I started thinking how there are elements to his stories that are magical and mythical. How if I were a better story teller I'd be better able to tell you just how magical and mythical those moments were and if I could do so, I'd turn Phil into a mythological hero, as I feel is fitting as to how his life story, for one long night, intertwined with mine and created something worthy of storytelling for centuries to come.

4 comments:

Patricia Tryon said...

Blair, I think you succeeded. What this man did is the stuff of legend. You've shared a story that is truly inspirational -- I use "in-spire" intentionally.

Blair said...

Patricia, I don't know, my mind reels with thoughts on how, perhaps, every time he gave my grandfather the breath of life that there was an exchange... that Phil absorbed some of my grandfather and became part of him that his adventures after that night were part of my grandfather's adventures, aiding each other in life's trials, joys and tribulations... that my grandfather visited the after world with some of the strength from Phil... that they continued a shared adventure in a way. And then my brain kicks in and I think... nonsense.

However, today, I realized that these myths and stories from around the world have a basis in real people and real stories and what an incredible legacy that is, to teach and entertain people for ages and ages.

Anne said...

Incredibly profound to think Phil and my dad shared a part of each other, that day. Amazing to me too, that when all this was going on with you on the Galapagos I was wandering among open, desecrated graves of the ancient Hopi. Life becomes a Bergman film at times, at others, a Woody Allen one.

Phil said...

Hi Blair
Your words touched my heart
You guys are always in mine
Love Phil x