Summer of 2010

Summer trip to Aruba

We travelled to Aruba to receive my Knighthood into the Order of the
Netherlands Lion

I picked this weekend to receive the Knighthood to coincide with the
50th anniversary of the creation of my High School, Colegio Arubano.
The same night that I received the Aruba Lion, we attended the
reunion.  We had a wonderful and amazing time seeing many
old friends and catching up on their lives.
This image courtesy of the Colegio Facebook page and Meneer Capelo.

We are here with Meneer Matthew, who is our former art teacher and former
head master of Colegio Pariba.

Colegio Logo for event
Meneer Matthew typically designes artwork for important
occasions such as this one for the anniversary.
Click for full size.

Facebook page for the High School reunion.

One of our many large meals together.  Here we are celebrating
with 'Hot Pot' or 'Steamboat' cooking.

A few days later, we celebrated the Knighthood at the "Different" restaurant
along with more than 100 of our closest friends and family.

This is part of the group of friends and relatives that surround my Mom and take care of
her when we are not on the island.

The Aruba Lion is on the right.  The medal on the left is the NASA
Exceptional Achievement Medal
that I received a few weeks before this.

My good friend Poets was there.  He has been instrumental in
my receiving the Aruba Lion knighthood.

Another guest was Calvin Maduro, who is from Aruba and pitched
in the majors in the early 2000s.  He is now the Orioles International
talent scout, and was on the island to evaluate some players.

Three cousins together.

We had a wonderful celebration that night, and I was so very pleased so many of
our friends shared in our family's joy.

On one of our island explores, we found this overview of Baby Beach.

At the Seroe Colorado Natural Bridge.  Location on Google Maps (center of screen).

We also revisited my portrait at the Paseo Herencia Mall (in front of the Friday's).
Compare to this picture.

The night before some of us left, we celebrated Agnes and Stephanie's birthday
at the L.G. Smith Chop and Steak House.  I had the Rib-Eye, and it was

The two birthday girls had a good time that evening.

There was great happiness on this trip, but also great sadness.

At the end of the trip, it became clear that Aggie's Mom would not
have long on this earth.  After a long struggle with cancer, she
passed on June 23 at 1:30 pm at home surrounded by family.

Rita Kock-Croes
Rita Kock-Croes 1940-2010

My second-mother, Rita Kock-Croes, after bravely battling cancer for several years, went to be with the Lord.  She lived a life devoted to the Almighty God, her family and her community.  A founder of the Blue Army Center Aruba, an organization devoted to Saint Mary, she will be remembered as a kind and caring mother and leaves five children and many grand and great grand children.  I never knew her to have ill will towards anyone, and she was always quick to praise and love you.  I will miss her warmth, her constant smile, and her wisdom.  She sets the example of how someone should spend their time on this earth.

Obituary notice in the local paper (Diario).

The funeral was on June 26, and the day started with a viewing at the
Blue Army Center at 7am, her home for the past 29 years.

At 9am, we moved next door on foot to the big church in San Nicolas and so many people came to show their respect and admiration that it took 2 hours to fill the church.  The bishop from Curacao came to give the Mass and was assisted by 6 other priests.

It was a typical hot summer day in Aruba, and we felt supported by the entire community in Aruba.

The next day, I returned home to Baltimore with the kids to prepare for our next travel: our family trip to Italy.  After a short two nights at home, we flew to Boston, where we were joined by Agnes.  At that point, we started our epic trip.  See it here.

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