Thursday, November 5, 2015

Going home...

First, for all who have offered kind thoughts and good wishes as we left the boat for a while to lay my Father to rest: there is a tendency to think that such offerings mean less than they do, that words are hollow and offer little. This is not the case. Our hearts have been lifted by the many who have reached out during these past couple of weeks. The words that can't carry the load, that actually do sound a little hollow, are “thank you”.

We left PA this morning after a week or so of offering what help we can to deal with the details of closing out a life. Social Security, Veterans Affairs, Insurance, Finances...all require forms, mailings, and phone calls. There was even a trip to the heart of downtown Pittsburgh to get some information. We drive through the city now and again, but it has been years since we were in downtown. If pressed I will confess to preferring a city to suburbia every day in every way; so that trip was kind of fun.

Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Most fun was having kids, grand kids, and family, mostly staying in the same hotel. A hotel with a pool. Though we were gathered for a pretty solemn reason each evening saw the pool full of laughing, splashing, playing kids all cavorting loudly with Grampy-T. Those will be favorite memories for a long, long time.

My Dad would have approved.

But now we find ourselves heading toward the boat once again, and back to the life we have made as cruisers. Though we loved the time with family, it would seem we are ill suited to land living any more. A comfortable house, big screen TV, ice cream in the freezer, and unlimited hot water for showers is like a vacation visit. And, like a vacation, after a week or so some things start to wear thin. It turns out my capacity to tolerate traffic, silly drivers and, (believe it or not) bumper stickers, is severely limited. Why announce being stupid to everyone on the road? At least the in-your-face pro-gun stickers let me know which vehicles likely contain the slightly deranged violence lovers. They also tend to be very aggressive and somewhat inept drivers which, I'm sure, is just a coincidence. Best to treat them like container ships and give them a wide berth.

Pennsylvania back country roads

Even xfinity TV and its endless list of programs, movies, sports channels, and specialty networks; all projected on a monster, high definition screen (one bigger than Kintala's main bulkhead), gets tedious quickly. Did you know there are multiple different TV series' called NCIS something? They all appear to be the same thing; bad people, dead people, goofy science, gunfire, problem solved. There is a series about various kinds of monsters based (very loosely based) on old fairy tales. Mostly it is about bad monsters, dead monsters, goofy science, gunfire, problem solved. There are a multitude of cop shows based on bad people, dead people, goofy science, gunfire, problem solved. There was a hospital ER show that included bad people, dead people … you get the drift. I've been walking around for 60 years, spent time as an air ambulance pilot. There are more dead people in one half hour of TV than I have seen in my entire life. No wonder land livers are convinced the world is a dangerous place with bad guys (and monsters) lurking around every corner.

Even with xfinity TV one can't always avoid the ads, especially the political ads. (Never watch TV during an off-year election campaign.) People running for local and state positions appear to be, impossible as this may sound, even more inept and corrupt than those running for national office. I like to think of myself as a somewhat capable story teller. I can't hold a sputtering candle to people who stare straight into a camera and tell the most bold faced lie with a smile and a glint in their eye. When it comes to slinging nonsense there isn't sailor on the planet who can match a politician.

In just a day or two life will return to normal. It is two steps from the galley to the salon. Four more steps will reach the head, and a single step from there will bump up against the v-berth. From the galley it is ten steps to the cockpit, eight of them mostly straight up. The cockpit is our back porch, which looks out on our back yard, which is a big chunk of the North West Atlantic ocean. We will watch the sun set and the moon rise. The night sky will be full of stars again. While we have been away, friends heading south have caught up and passed us by. It is our turn to catch up now, with Stuart, FL then Biscayne Bay being the immediate goals.

It will be good to be home.

Downtown Pittsburgh, PA

1 comment:

Alex Rooker said...

May your trip south be uneventful so that you may have time for continued positive reflections about your Dad.
Best wishes from Yacht A Fun