Friday, September 24, 2010
Since our departure a week ago last Friday, the trip has been pretty much uneventful. When cruising, uneventful is a GOOD thing. Our first stop was Port Huron on Saturday afternoon, where we had a great time with Walt, Vicky, and crewman Dave Underwood, who are buddy boating with us on their yacht "Taken Care of Business". Vicky made lasagna, served on real china, which was a special treat. Although I have no inclination to run out and purchase any. While underway, we have dented a metal frying pan. China would not make it through the first big swell. Next stop was Rogers City on Monday, where we were weathered in the next day. A big Hatteras pulled in after dealing with the big winds and high seas, and we watched them carry out broken pieces and parts of the dashboard and interior. Glad we stayed put. Monday night Gary, Chas, and Dave bowled at our favorite Rogers City bowling alley. They performed so poorly that the desk guy comped their games. Tuesday night, we all went for pizza and bowling, but it was league night with no lanes open. Wednesday we did a long day run from Rogers City to Mackinaw City. We've been here since then, waiting out the rough weather. Yesterday 30 knot winds and nine foot waves were forecast. Today is ten to fifteen foot waves and 50 knot gale force winds. We are occupying our time doing boat chores, watching movies, shopping for the best fudge deals, and drinking PBR's at the famous Keyhole Bar. Captain and I are very frustrated that we have this big, able-bodied, experienced crew member on board, one that we hoped would get us all the way through mast unstepping and into the river system, who is instead vegging out on the couch watching Walker Texas Ranger episodes. Such a waste! We really, really want to get underway again. But I must admit this is kinda fun......in a lazy good for nothing way.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday morning at dawn we woke up in our comfy bed in our comfy condo and I wondered if we were REALLY ready for another departure. It would be so easy to stay. It is so much work to go. Gary calls it the "Easy Chair Syndrome." Some days that easy chair beckons so strongly to us that we are tempted to just plop down and stay there for the winter. But not yet!!! For the third year in a row, Bryan DiVeto tossed off our dock lines and bid us bon voyage. Rich McCleary and Captain Kirk were there to send us off. Got under the 5:30 bridge and away we went toward the Detroit River. We plan to do an over-nighter and meet up with Walt & Vicky and David Underwood, our good friends from Clinton Reef Club, cruising on their yacht "Takin Care of Business". They also departed today and plan to "buddy boat" with us all the way to Fort Myers. We will all follow the same route we took last season, on the river system south toward Mobile. Preparing for departure was as hectic as usual. Chas arrived this past Monday morning to accompany us as far as we can get before his leave is up on October 11. He and Gary worked frantically to complete all the boat chores that had to see closure before we left. Chas worked so hard that I now have a new nickname for him. SON SLAVE. We would not have gotten out of Port Clinton today without his help.
I spent the last couple of days concluding the summer chapter of our lives in Port Clinton and Put-in-Bay, and planning and provisioning for Season Three of Adventures of Tessa. D-day always comes upon us too fast, and from the looks of Tessa down below, I am NOT getting any better at an organized departure. No worries, there will be plenty of time to stow everything during the next 24 hours. Weather is expected to be calm. Even though we are motoring, it feels great to be out here with Jimmy Buffet playing and Lake Erie cooperating with Tessa beautifully. Lamb chops are marinating. The three of us are taking deep, relaxing breaths. The hard part is over, we are away from the dock and on our way. The new canvas enclosure and crystal clear strataglass is AMAZING. It is like we are looking out a big picture window with fantastic visability. (THANKS to Rick and Sue and Rick's Mobile Marine Canvas!) Much more to come........
Friday, September 17, 2010
Mom waved good-bye from the front porch this morning with her usual bright smile. After a long weekend of her 83rd pre-birthday celebration, we hugged each other extra hard. It would be our last hug until December, when Gary and I come home for Christmas after our next trip south. I pulled out of the driveway and beeped and waved excessively until she was out of sight. How many times has every member of our family done the same silly routine? It doesn’t matter who is leaving, or how long they will be gone. Rain or shine, wind, sleet, or snow. Everyone who is not leaving stands on the front porch and waves. The person or persons leaving beeps and waves all the way down Lamme Road. It’s silly and corny. It’s just what we do. 5020 Lamme Road. The three of us had to memorize that address before the start of first grade. So many kids would end up memorizing many more street addresses as their families changed or relocated, but our family address has remained the same for almost sixty years since Mom and Dad moved to Dayton. If you were to flip through the pages of our family album of life on Lamme Road, the majority of our pictures were taken on the front porch. We posed on the front steps for first communions, birthdays, and every holiday. At the beginning of each summer, young Cindy, David, and I had to scrub the porch down and hose it all off in preparation of Mom and Dad’s seasonal entertainment. We were also assigned the horrendous task of sanding and painting the front porch metal latticework glider and chairs, which today could easily be considered child abuse. How could any one child be expected to paint across those tiny little square holes without drip marks? Our work was not complete until the picnic table was sanded and varnished. And don’t forget to re-web the folding chairs. Looking toward the future, several marital disputes were based on cutting and laying indoor/outdoor carpet on the same front porch and stairs. Speaking of child abuse, how about being forced to pick row after row of home grown green beans in the hot summer sun. This was supposed to be our SUMMER VACATION, not prison camp. Next, we had to sit on the front porch and snap basket after basket of said disgusting green beans. Sure, it sounds all Norman Rockwelly, until you grab a furry squishy smelly yellow green bean worm between your fingers. All that torture for a pot of Mom’s day-long steeped ham, beans, and potatoes. I feigned disgust at that dish during my teenage years, but can still remember the delightfully sinful taste of it all smashed together with a few big pats of butter floating over the entire mess. Home grown health food! Dad prided himself on his locally famous garden, and since there were no child labor laws enforced in our neighborhood, we were expected to tend to the driveway produce store during the summer months. Each tomato had to be wiped clean and polished to perfection before being placed in neat rows along the picnic table. (We ate only the blemished ones.) Our family baby scale was used to weigh the customer’s selection, and at the end of the day the money collected was hidden in a big brown beer mug in the china closet. No robber would ever think to look there! Sadly, there were real neighborhood thieves. Whenever we went away, Dad would place a sign on the picnic table stating “Help yourself and put money in mailbox on front porch.” This worked for years, until one day we came home to a sold-out empty picnic table….and an equally empty mailbox. We felt so betrayed after all the years of neighborhood honesty. Dad’s garden drew visitors from near and far. His Pittsburgh relatives and Detroit cousins were his biggest fans. They would pull into the driveway after a long road trip, and walk straight to the garden with salt shaker in hand, to sample the vine ripened tomatoes. Mom would prepare plenty of snacks and everyone would congregate on the front porch for cold drinks and lots of food and laughter. When we were younger, Mom entertained the three of us playing car games from the front porch. We each had to pick a car color, and for a specific amount of time we kept score as each car went past on Lamme Road. As we grew older, our porch games got a bit more “mature”. I shared my first kiss on the glider on the front porch. When one kiss led to too many others, Mom or Dad would flick the porch light on and off in a warning gesture, and suitors would tend to make a quick getaway. Today, on hot summer nights, I still recall that romantic, sweet smell of the Moraine Locust trees surrounding our house, accompanied by the drone of the locust and crickets. All three of us posed for Prom and Homecoming photos on the front porch. Graduation announcements, bridal showers, and wedding invitations were addressed on TV trays on the front porch. Firewood was stacked on the front porch to last through the long cold winter months. We would, not voluntarily, take turns going out to replenish the wood basket. Once, after an important Pittsburgh Steelers loss, I caught teenage brother David crying in frustration on the front porch…and announced it to anyone within earshot. I was absolutely giddy with sibling revenge for all the times he made me cry. How cruel he was as he and his friends sent my Michael Jackson 45s sailing from the front porch across Lamme Road like Frisbees! During high school, the front porch was a very popular impromptu hang out. We never admitted to a premeditated party, but the parents would leave for a night out, and Dad was convinced that we threw our garden hose across Lamme Road so that friends felt the bump and knew the coast was clear to congregate on the porch. Cars lined our driveway, the neighbor’s driveway, and eventually our front yard. Parties ensued and the following mornings excuses of innocence prevailed. Seriously, we DID NOT plan the party! In my early twenties, the front porch was where I went for solace after I found a “suspicious lump.” Mom and I sat on the front porch while she held my hand and calmed my fears. Even as adults, Cindy, David, and I and all of our friends continued to enjoy spending time on the porch with Mom and Dad. We would cram in as many folding chairs as possible, fill in any gap with tv trays covered with snacks, and talk and laugh way into the night. When Gary and I met, he quickly and naturally became part of our family. It was not uncommon for me to call him, wondering why he wasn’t home after a long day at work. His excuse? “I’m sitting on the front porch with your Mom and Dad having a Manhattan.” What a beautiful, wonderful, loving testament of his love for my parents, not to mention a perfect alibi for getting home late from work! The front porch is where Mom and Dad spent most of their quiet relaxing time, later in their years. It is where we delivered Mom’s 75 roses on her 75th birthday. It is where the events of our lives unfolded, winter spring summer and fall. This past Sunday night, Mom and Cindy and I sat on the front porch like so many countless times before. We watched the world go by, reminisced about everyone that sat here with us in the past, laughed, and cherished each sweet and special memory. As I sadly continued to beep and wave goodbye to Mom this morning, I drew strength from that familiar, warm, comfortable, “front porch” feeling. Knowing that, no matter what this life holds for us, we will all stay together forever, gliding in the glider, posing for a family photo, holding a tomato and a salt shaker, snapping a bean, or toasting with a Manhattan. We will never stop excessively beeping and waving and loving each other. It’s just what we do. Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!