Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sailing With James

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothingabsolute nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing about in boats — or with boats. In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not”
                         - Water Rat in The Wind in the Willows

My posts on this website are usually stories from the past, but this one is more of a diary entry.  Today (July 14, 2012) James and I went out to the Lake Washington Sailing Club.  It was a workday when the members spruce up the clubhouse and grounds.  As soon as we got there James ran into one of the sailing instructors he knows who asked him if he wanted to go out in one of the Sabots that he has been sailing in his lessons.

Although we were supposed to be there to get some work done, I agreed to let him sail instead (how many chances does one get?).

He puttered around in the Sabot while some other students were getting instruction.  He also got a chance to try a Minifish sailboat, which he thought was a little too “wobbly.”

When I finished my work, we went out together, him in the Sabot and me in the Minifish.  This was the first time that we have ever done this and I’m not a good enough writer to express how much joy this gave me.

I know that using this song with sailing footage is corny and sentimental, but I love this video I’ve made from footage I took today.

Here's a higher resolution version on YouTube:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Daddy Con & the Midwesterner

Here is a story about Daddy Con that your Aunt Christine passed on.

Mom once told Christine that Daddy Con often spoke about the time when he was working at Maverick Mills (a textile factory) in East Boston (near where Maverick subway station is now) and an engineer came from someplace inland, somewhere in the Midwest.

Mom thought that he might have said the man came from Oklahoma.  But in any case this was the first time that the man had ever been near the ocean.

Maverick Square - near where Daddy Con worked.

One day as they were working together the engineer happened to look out into the distance.  He said to Daddy Con, "What is the name of that water I see over there?  Is there a pond or a small lake or river over there?"

 Daddy Con was tickled as he replied to the man, "A pond! That's the Atlantic Ocean there, me laddie!"

They were looking straight into Boston Harbor.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bobby, the Mama Sow & Me

When I was about nine or ten, my Aunt Shirley and her family lived on a farm in Lytle, Ohio.  I think that my Mom was going to Beauty School during some of the time they lived there and we spent a lot of time there one summer.

My cousin Bobby (Aunt Shirley’s oldest son) is about a year and a half younger than me and we were always great friends.  That summer we did all kinds of fun things, swimming, climbing trees, riding bikes, making bows and arrows, catching turtles, crawdads and fish in the nearby stream, just about everything that a couple of all-American boys did in the 50’s.

A constant theme of our talks was how much we wanted a horse.  We’d spend many happy times up in a tree or along the creek describing our ideal horse, what we’d name it, what it would look like, what tricks we’d teach it, etc.

Well, the chances of getting a horse were pretty low, so we looked for alternatives.  One day we thought we had struck gold.  The farm had one pig – a huge old sow with about 8 or 10 piglets. 

She was probably about this big --
we probably weighed about 60 pounds each.
As we were wandering around the farm we noticed her come out of the shelter in her pen.  We realized that if we got up on the top of the shelter, when she cam near by we could jump down onto her and get a “horsy ride!”

That’s right – we two geniuses were planning on jumping onto the back of a 300-400 pound Mama sow.

Well, the reason that you are reading this now is because, during the time that we two incredibly patient boys waited for her to come near, she never did.  If she had done so, I’m sure she would have stomped us both to death and eaten our silly butts.

Some time after this, not exactly sure how long afterwards, we mentioned our plan to Bobby’s Dad, Uncle Junior.  His face went white and he told us that if he ever saw either of us anywhere near that sow’s pen he’d “tan our hides!”

By the way - neither of us ever got a horse.