Sammy and I have completed our voyage and now is a good time to reflect on a wonderful 12 days.
Seafood Festival in Everglades City (2012)
There is no need to tell about what we did or where we went because, thanks to Ruthie Hall and Mr. Bigbie, everyone has followed our every move. My thoughts this “morning after” are centered on the matters that could not be conveyed by email text and photos. The many hours Sammy and I had to backtrack on the days of our youth. To be able to make the confessions and ask the questions that a man will only answer truthfully when he has acknowledged his own mortality and many years have transpired since sitting on the bench backs at the Campus Shop. I’m sure if we could have had the entire male population of the Class of “58” on board with us, and sharing our candor, we could have resurrected the virginity of all the ladies on the Hill. Well almost all.
Knowing that our classmates were following us made all the difference in the world. This mind set let us not only capture the moments as they came but inspired us to seek out and create those that might be of interest to others. Unwittingly, the crew of the Blue Heron had become characters in a sort of reality TV show for a very exclusive and special audience. Sammy did not have time to get bored with me because he was always faced with another deadline from Ruthie for “more pictures”.
I want to thank all of “Wildcat Nation” for the support you gave us. I want to extend special thanks to Martha Carter for her fabulous needlework on the burgee and to the “notorious 9” that met with us along the way. Each of these classmates sacrificed in their own way to make our passage unforgettable.
Jerry Browning (promised me he would not report the engine failure on our Champagne shake down cruise – he lied!)
Doris Wedge (questioned the sleeping arrangements when the engine quit in the middle of the river – almost like she had heard that story before?)
Johnny Wallace (first one on the dock at Clewiston – he drove all the way from WPB and swore it was not to shack-up with Rosanne Tracy)
Rosanne Tracy (tears in all our eyes when we kissed and said goodnight at the marina in Clewiston – it was late …..9:15 PM.)
Sandra Peacock (what can I say?.. a beautiful lady that put out the “muck mat” of welcome in Clewiston like no one else ever could have. Sandy, our prayers are with you and your husband.)
Billy Wilkinson (a Club Med for a home and a welcome including a newly installed 50 amp shore power cable kept us on Marathon for two nights)
Connie Berry (after finding Miami’s “no name harbor” for our anchorage; a wonderful visit and a very personal and challenging revelation about her youth)
Norman Jones (a man so determined to meet up with us that he was going to row an 8 foot boat from the Riviera causeway in 45 degree 25 mile/hour winds)
Cynthia Bryant (our only two time hook up; Cynthia was almost a third crew member and was aboard both on our first and last days…by the way, the strudel was fantastic with this morning’s coffee!)
profile: definition ....
meaning: 1. a short description of someone's life, work, character, and information about the person's interests and beliefs.
meaning: 2. an outline of that same person's face as it is seen when someone is looking at them from the side. If you see someone in profile, you only see them from one side.
From these two definitions I can only conclude one thing: profiles as such and offered by job seekers, politicians, and aspiring writers, risk falling into very obvious categorical traps ..... they will be hopelessly self-edifying and boldly "two faced"!
To avoid these pitfalls I intend to state an illusion and immediately counter it with the fact. If the latter is too candid or disturbing, just disregard it! This will allow me to come off (in your estimation) as the fine upstanding, clean cut, like-minded, and adventurous elderly gentleman you were hoping for.
Illusion: I'm an accomplished "sailor" and have spent over 50 years routinely putting out to sea, first under canvas and in my latter years with only the diesel iron wind at my back.
Fact: In all of my voyages I've never spent more than eight or nine full nights underway and that was only because, over open water, Walker's Cay was too far from Palm City or Havana from Key West. In reality, as the sun begins to set I'm usually tucked into some snug little cove, the hook set, and an icy drink in my hand. I'm not an accomplished sailor, I'm a fantastic "anchorer"!
Illusion: I'm a semi-talented "writer" that creates interesting characters in situations and settings that, sometimes, move a story along.
Fact: In most cases, I am the "character" and I've already lived the story. Then all I need to do is figure out how to just pretend I'm sitting in some sleazy dive in the Keys after a few beers and start to tell my story to ........ (only problem is: .......... is it “i” before “e” except at sea?)
Illusion: Because I am openly conservative and speak with a Southern drawl, I'm looked upon as a right-wing good-ole-boy that picnics under Confederate monuments, lives and breathes Fox News, drives a gun-racked Ford 150, and wears his "Make America Great Again" hat to bed every night.
Fact: I'm very discouraged with what is going on in Washington in general and at the White House in particular. I supported its current occupant and, seeing what options are shaping up on the horizon, I may be forced to continue doing so but he(and we) could do so much better. Do I have to surrender my judgment and intellect to remain a Republican?
I won't dwell on the President's Smoot-Hawley like policies on trade and tariffs ... time and the markets will be the final arbiters and greed on my part forces me to hope for the best. Needless to say, I endorse his impact on the Judicial Branch of Government and I could care less what next week's "horndog rumor" and accompanying hush-money payoff have in store .... I'll leave that to his poor wife and "Morning Joe"! But I do have one pet peeve: we don't need a $5,000,000,000.00 wall to keep out Guatemalans and their Central American neighbors. They only constitute the latest installment in 4 centuries of migration to our shores and may be the hardest working bunch yet assembled. The hardships they are fleeing are not unlike the pogroms against Jews in the Middle East or the 19th century Irish potato famine. The seemingly demeaning statement of: "how would the roof ever get patched or the grass cut without them?" or a variation thereof has been directed at virtually every American's fore-bearers. Unless you stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock or the swampy landing at Jamestown, there was always somebody "better than you" waiting to curse your arrival ……… or put you in chains.
On the flip side of all of this, and without inserting its own Illusion, we don't need porn starlets and their attorneys being featured on Sunday morning talk shows answering pointed questions from wax haired "contributors" about our Presidents libido! What we do desperately need is a media culture that will demand the resurrection and employment of an old concept ...... news REPORTING! On my home cable TV hookup; Fox News is on channel 44 and MSNBC resides on 42. The Guide tells me that the channel between them ...43 ... is dedicated to financial news but that can't be true. The call letters may be CNBC but, judging from the disparity in the adjacent editorializing, it must be Star Wars! ..... the distance between the adjoining galaxies is so "far, far, away"?
Over the past few months I've become a reluctant, almost incarcerated, soccer fan. The game is played, not with a pitch .... but on one, lasts an hour and a half, and often ends with a score of nil-nil. I endure all this because my sole source of, even remotely, unbiased television news and happenings in the good old USA can be found only on the British Broadcasting Corp ..... go Cardiff City!
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