Suncatcher! Time Stops in Jimbaran


January 6th I woke up to an email from my 87 year old mother. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Sherry, happy birthday to you! We love you, Mom and Dad. Ever since I can remember, and wherever I am in the world, my parents have called me to sing this song on my birthday. So there was no way I was going to let her off the hook with an email version. I punched in their number on Skype.

“Hi Mom. Thanks for the email, but I want you and Dad to sing to me like you always do.”

“Sherry?! Oh honey, your Dad just, well, he’ll be back in about 5 minutes.”

“I’ll call back in 15!” And so I did.

Dad (93) was quite a star in his day, playing guitar and singing with the Northwoods Opry. His voice is more whispery now, but together they did a fine job. Emotion welled up as I cherished, perhaps for the last time, that intimate moment

Nostalgic memories persisted as I bypassed the usual heaping breakfast bowl of papaya for a more delicate serving of mouthwatering mango and ate in a shady corner pondering life. My new bamboo blinds kept the blistering morning rays at bay.

P1100961The rest of the day there wasn’t time to think, just play! The Bali wife next door had plans for me! Nina passed newborn Nola to her husband, gave me a death-grip hug and trotted me to the new restaurant down the street. Watercress, she told me, had a kombucha bar and I was about to be initiated.


Refreshing apple turmeric and a ruby mixed berry had the astringent tang of vinegar, a healthy, virtuous drink! But those would be finished long before we’d had enough chatter time so, lunch? Why not!


A towering tempe burger and fat little fried potatoes with aioli dipping sauce seemed a perfect nursing mama’s meal. But I wouldn’t have traded roasted pumpkin salad with sundried tomatoes, walnut pesto and feta cheese for all the tempe in Bali. Oh, those flavors! The beautiful harmony of colors! My first bite was proof that the dish was a serious palette pleaser, not just another pretty face.

P1100982 - Copy

Babbling for three or four hours has never been a problem for Nina and me, but Bapak Sudi, in charge of hungry baby Nola, can’t keep her happy forever. Another bone crushing hug and I was back at home in time to prepare for dinner!

I’ve heard tales of ocean-side dining in Jimbaran, but I’ve never been. A romantic, sunset dinner for one doesn’t do it for me. Ketut is willing to take me just about anywhere, but dining out with a beach full of foreigners is not his idea of a good time. And if the strolling minstrels came to our table singing love songs, I can only imagine the look of abject horror that would cross his face!

So that’s where I’m going tonight! The car arrives and I pile in with Steve, Bayu, Janet, Carol, Oni and Princess Rina for an hour’s ride to the south.

When we arrive I’m sucked in by the party atmosphere and cooking smells as saliva dribbles down my chin. Seafood being charred to perfect done-ness wafts from doorways of restaurants lining the street along the beach. Steve heads straight for one of them. I notice the sign, Jimbaran Cafe. As we enter, flat bins of ice bristle with fins, tails, and great buggy eyed heads. The fish man with gleaming tongs, pulls out granddaddy red snappers, slime covered calamari, and prawns that look prehistoric. He plops them in a pan and weighs them. “That’s too much!” we mutter among ourselves, but we’re ignored as Steve gives the nod and our dinner disappears into the kitchen.

“A table in front,” Steve says to a waiter in a red bib apron.

“Nothing available by the water,” he’s told.

I scan over the heads of diners, thousands it seems, digging into heaping plates. I don’t see an open table anywhere.

“I think there’s one coming,” Steve says and we shuffle after him toward the steady roll of waves breaking on the beach.

P1100988There’s a huge expanse of wasted sand here where tables could be. The thought passes through my mind as I instruct my friends to line up. They pose for a photo and then…

P1100985 Like magic, a table appears! Of course! Prime real estate comes at a price. “How much?” I ask Steve and he smiles that saintly smile.

A tablecloth and chairs follow. Then the purpose of the green thing that has been passed between Steve and Bayu on the trek from the car to the beach comes clear. Out of it appears a bottle of white, a bottle of red, and iced glasses. You thought of everything, you darling man! Let the party begin!

We toast and pose for pictures enjoying the music and the innovative guitar strap!

A platter of snapper arrives followed by calamari, salads, veggies, rice, and it just keeps coming! There’s no more room but still it comes, piles of prawns and more snapper. The table is too painfully small for the abundance, but we don’t care!


That’s when the Suncatcher stops time.

sun captured

Our world is touched by Midas. We dine bathed in gold.

I’m deep in calamari heaven when I hear them:  “She was just sevente-en, you know what I me-an, and the way she looked was way beyond compare…” The minstrels are singing to me in the candlelight, years melt away and I’m 17 again!



That’s what happens when the Suncatcher stops time in Jimbaran!

26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Frei
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 04:01:43

    Great fun blog. You are a stunning looking woman at 66, but 17, I think not. But what the hell, for one night, maybe. Thanks for letting me share your birthday.

    Love you, Carol



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 08, 2016 @ 20:58:25

      Thank you for the great little jacket! You won’t believe it…I already have the perfect dress for underneath! Orange! It popped into my memory just as I was about to write this so I pulled it out and WALLAH! You’ve seen it many times so it was probably sitting in your subconscious when you chose that jacket!



  2. Lottie Nevin
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 04:11:30

    Dear Sherry, what a stunning birthday you had. So much love and happiness. It sounds like a perfect day, and how marvellous that you still have a mum and dad to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you. That’s the best. You transported me back to Jimbaran and the fish and the corn sellers on the beach. A wonderfully, atmospheric post. Thank you xxx



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 08, 2016 @ 04:22:38

      Yes, the cornsellers! Next time I’ll try one of their roasted ears. It’s such a picturesque place. The only people who tried to sell us something came as we were leaving. They were gorgeous Indonesian girls, probably 19 or 20, made up like movie stars. They were selling cigarettes. Hmmm.



  3. stevecastley
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 05:23:53

    Great story of a wonderful birthday for special lady.



  4. Gary
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 05:39:39

    Happy Birthday Sherry!! I am so glad you shared your lovely birthday celebration with us all. Good, thoughtful friends are what fill our lives with sunshine. Great picture of you holding the sun.

    Gabriel and I are embarrassed that we forgot your special day. Shame on us….. I guess that with Christmas, New Years and our anniversary all in a row we get overwhelmed. I was just saying yesterday “I am glad to finally get into a regular week”. Monday – Friday with no Holidays.

    I love seeing photos of you in Paradise. You are, for sure, in the right place at the right time.




    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 08, 2016 @ 20:52:49

      And I forgot your anniversary…we’re even and have a fresh start on a new year! I feel the same about this holiday season…so so busy! All lovely gatherings, absolutely lovey, but so many all in a row! I’m ready, like you, to enjoy a ‘regular week!’



  5. healingpilgrim
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 06:41:47

    What a wonderful day – with a call from mom AND Nina AND friends at the beach.. I can’t imagine anything more perfect. Oh, and that gorgeous sunset. Happy birthday!



  6. gabriel
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 07:34:29

    What an awesome way to spend your birthday! May you have many more awesome birthdays dear friend – much love. Gabriel



  7. sageblessings
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 08:45:36

    A lovely story and a lovely day sherry. Thanks for sharing and especially the photos which make it all so real. It sounds perfect thanks to dear friends, good weather and delicious food.



  8. pat grimsbo
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 08:47:48

    Dearest Sherry, What a fantastic 66th birthday you experienced ! ! ! !! ! ! Seeing pictures of all that weird food made my stomach recoil! I am having trouble forcing down plain everyday normal food to keep from losing more weight. But I am VERY happy you enjoyed your day so much! Your Dad gets worse every day. He will not eat anything or move around. Hospice came to interview us yesterday and as we very much want to stay here together rather than have him go to a Nursing home the last days of his life, help may soon be available to us. Keep us in your prayers – as we are keeping you in ours. They do get answered ! Love, Mom and Dad



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 08, 2016 @ 20:35:56

      Thank you for helping to make it fantastic, Mom! I count on hearing that song every year. When I do, all seems right with the world. I’m so glad I saw you and Dad at Thanksgiving. Thank you for your prayers, you are forever in mine. Love you too! Sherry



  9. komang subagia
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 08:49:34

    happy B’day Sherry, we’ll celebrate later hahaha



  10. Peggy
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 12:17:08

    Happy Birthday young lady!!! Guess you got that nice tan while in Minnesota! (NOT)….Looks like you had an AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL celebration with wonderful friends!!! How wonderful….may you have many more…Peggy



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 08, 2016 @ 22:21:35

      Hi Peggy! I’d have to work really really hard NOT to have tanned skin here. I certainly don’t lay out in the sun, but just walking to the market is enough to stay that color. Thanks for the wishes for many more…I hope so!



  11. bikeclimbhike
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 15:06:33

    Happy 66th birthday! You look FABULOUS and obviously have found your personal fountain of youth in Bali:) love following your blog…XO Mary



  12. Diane Struble
    Jan 08, 2016 @ 20:34:43

    Happy Birthday, Sherry. I remember when.



  13. shanemac
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 01:28:15

    You write so well I was there with you, sitting on the beach in Jimbaran gobbling down their delicious seafood and lounging at Watercress while trying not to drool in my food.



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