Zoom. I started out at 0630 in a little surf town in North Carolina, a little surf town called Surf City. I could hear the waves from my hotel room. I was just North of the state line. I needed to be in Florida, south Florida at the end of the day. 670 miles almost dead south. Ten-plus degrees of latitude. Five days of bluewater sailing. In my case it was a mere eleven hours in the car. Just over half of the tapes of the Godfather, unabridged, on 90 minute cassette tapes.
I went from an environment of mist and cool, almost cold nights to a tropical metropolis full of warm, almost hot air. I traded my fleece shirt and long pants for shorts and thin cotton shirts.
All of this is quite remarkable. The ability to move so far so fast. More remarkable is the ability of travel into the past. To correct mistakes, even when we did not know that we had made those mistakes. My destination in Florida, while seemingly boat centric turned out to be a plunge into my very, very, long ago past.
When I was a little boy, two years old, I was in the part-time care of Connie and Tim. Connie was a stay at home mom, who ran a day care. Tim, her husband was police officer. As I grew up over the next 7 years they would come to be my second set of parents. When I was 8 or 9 they moved to Florida. Over the next 4 years I spent a month every summer visiting them in Florida.
Throughout the course of my adolescence we slowly lost contact with one another. It would be many years between conversations. Only to be punctuated by the occasional Christmas card or missed phone call. We all but fell out of touch. Last year, when I almost purchased Toads About I searched them out on the internet you really can get find anything with Google, I called them and told them we might see each other soon.
Well, Toad’s fell through and I bolted. In doing so, I perpetuated a mistake that had started so too long ago: Falling out of touch with people who I should have really stayed in touch with, people who are responsible for helping me to become the person that I am today.
So there I was, again, on my way to Florida. This time my destination was smack-dab in the heart of my boyhood summers in Florida. I called Connie and Tim again, and as if no more than a day had passed since we had last talked they welcomed me with open arms. They welcomed me into their home, fed me and given their well thought out ideas and opinions on this journey. I have quickly learned the importance of keeping these connections alive.
Their son, James, who was a small boy of 7 the last time I saw him has grown up. Yesterday we traveled out to the middle of the state, to Indiantown to look at a few boats. While we waded through the dregs of boats that where more junk than boat, I became more and more aware of the loss suffered by not staying in touch. Which is a really a lesson in the interconnectivity of all our lives.
So I have been granted a great gift. The gift to stop making that mistake!
Not bad for the seventh inning stretch. I have reached the farthest point from home I shall be. A few days ago I looked at the Wibo 945 in Ft. Lauderdale, sadly she lacked adequate headroom. Now I will start to look at boats on the backside of the loop. While I am at the middle of the distance to be traveled, I have many fewer boats to look at than I have seen. I try to keep my spirits up, I tell myself, I only need one boat. One boat to safely take us to places we can only image.
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