Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014/12/23 A Chistmas Story...Again.

2014/12/23 A Christmas Story...Retread

A few years back Gigi and I were in Vero for Christmas. The “Woman with the Brown Coat” is one of my favorite stories so you get it again whether you like it or not..and it happened just the way it was written. As a matter of fact, I liked it well enough I'm gonna publish it on the blog and send it as an email since some of you follow the Blog and some the Spot only.   

Sorry about not sending photos but broadband is not very broad in the Bahamas. Photos will probably have to wait until we “reach” Black Point where they have real wifi.

Woman With the Brown Coat:

It was a couple of days before Christmas and Gigi and I had taken the bus out to the mall to see “Lincoln” (must see movie, by-the-way). The bus's air breaks had just announced a stop near Publix Super Market and I could see a short stub of a lady in a brown coat standing near a grocery cart with 4 or 5 heavy bags of groceries inside and a young black man standing on the opposite side of the cart.

She was a short roundish woman with bowling pin legs, a pair of black, road weary shoes and white stockings rolled to the knees like tight garters. Her hair was clean, stringy and of the salt and pepper variety that hung to the shoulders of her dusty brown coat. She was one of those ladies that could have been 50, 80, or anywhere in between nor could her “race” be known simply by looking. She might have been Black, White, or Latino but I could not tell. Her eyes were cold black with a twinkle of arthritic pain set in a round face with a smile that gave your heart a lift just by its presents.

As the door opened to the bus the young black man on the other side of her cart grabbed his single bag of groceries, bolted for the door, pushed his way inside, and slid into a seat toward the middle of the bus. The Lady In The Brown Coat had barely been able to awkwardly turn, square her self with the cart, and start her struggle to lift her heavy bags by the time the young man was seated. She was in obvious pain and loosing the struggle.

My heart said, “help her” but before I could move two young Black Men with the grace of gazelles cleared the door as if floating on air and were at her side in an instant. One gently touched her shoulder, she looked up with questioning eyes that broke into a Christmas smile as one man took charge of the bags and the the other young man helped her to board the bus. The young White Man in front of me quickly moved his bags from the seat next to him and slid over to make room for The Lady With The Brown Coat near the front of the bus to make it easier for her on exit. Her young helpers, without so much as a word, simply vanished into the anonymity of the bus's interior as the bus pulled away from the curb headed for the Hub to transfer its inhabitants to waiting buses.

The last I saw of the Lady With The Brown Coat was at the transit hub when a young White Woman scooped up her groceries, helped her down the steps, and began chattering away as they slowly made their way arm in arm to the next bus.

Neither, race, nor age, nor the lighting speed of today's society had mattered. The spirit of Christmas was on that bus in Vero Beach that day and had warmed its way into the hearts of most of us (one young man excluded). Christmas spirit, humanity, common decency, whatever you want to call it hangs around this time of year, every year waiting... just waiting... to warm the heart of an unsuspecting passersby. More often than not it succeeds.

Merry Christmas,
Fairwinds & Rum Drinks,


PS - I will get out a Blog on the crossing...when I decompress a bit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014/12/02 Palm Coast to West Palm Beach, Florida

2014 /11/29 Palm Coast to West Palm Beach, FL

11/13/2014 Palm Coast Marina to Titusville RR Bridge, FL 65 nm
11/14/2014 Titusville RR Bridge to Titusville City Marina, FL 2 nm
11/19/2014 Titusville City Marina to Indiatlantic Bridge, FL 36 nm
11/20/2014 Indiatlantic Bridge to Vero Beach Mooring Field, FL 30 nm
12/01/2014 Vero Beach Mooring Field to N. Lake Worth, FL 55 nm
Total Miles to Date: 788 nm

It does not matter how many times you get knocked down. What matters is how many times you get up.” Bobby Mock – Coxswain for 1936 Olympic championship 8 man rowing shell.

CLOD For a Day (Cruisers, Living On Dirt):

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - maybe the only holiday the “commercial” has not been able to screw up. Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather, share a good meal, and catchup on each other's lives. My Uncle Jack and Aunt Katherine Hankins from Kinston were my only relatives in North Carolina. Katherine was a wonderful lady with a generous heart and never failed to invite my family for Thanksgiving Dinner. However, there was a catch. Jack had a big yard with lots of trees and a huge supply of leaf rakes. Jack's Thanksgiving tradition meant raking his leaves. It sounds sneaky but it was actually fun..working with friends always is.
Turtle's Eye View of Victoria Gaye, Temptation & Skat
We had stopped in Titusville to visit with Steve and Aggie Knox, share an early Thanksgiving dinner, and catch up on each other's lives. We met Steve and Aggie while anchored at Royal Island near Spanish Wells Gigi and my first year cruising together and for some reason became fast friends for life – it happens that way when you cruise relationships develop fast. Steve and Aggie were full time cruisers until a few years back when Steve found a job, bought a house, moved ashore for a spell, and became a “CLOD.” Steve was actually the first person I ever heard use the term CLOD...so Aggie if you don't like it its Steve's fault.

Saturday rolled around and Gigi had been announcing for weeks that she and Aggie were going to do a “girls” day out and Steve and I could just “hang out” at their house. Aggie showed up at 9:00 and the girls were off. Steve pick me up and on the way out to the house started mumbling something about “bushes and elephant ears” Not speaking CLOD anymore I rode on in “cruisers bliss.” It was only when we turned into the drive and large piles of brush appeared piled next to the fence that I started to suspect something was amiss. It was right there I became CLOD for a day...what I didn't know was I was going to be sucked into becoming a pirate as well.

Steve put a shovel in my hand and said “let's go.” The house next door was vacant having been in foreclosure on for many months and as it turned out had a huge “volunteer” supply of elephant ears growing wild in the jungle at the back of the house. Aggie liked elephant ears and Steve was on a mission to liberate a few from the neighbor's jungle. We jumped the fence or in my case sort of clambered over doing as little bodily harm to my self as possible, slunk not so deep into the neighbor's swamp, quietly liberated a few plants, and beat our way back thru the palmetto and across the fence to Steve's. Me, all the time thinking, “So this is what CLODS do.”

As we put the shovel away and the liberated elephant ears in a cool place in the garage for planting later Steve muttered, “How 'bout helping me hump the brush out to the street and then we can cut that palmetto palm back out by the drive. Aggie want's that thing out a here.” “Why not.” I said, with visions of my Uncle Jack's Thanksgiving tradition starting to crystallize in my feeble brain. Steve stuck a set of long handled pruning shears in my hands and we went at this huge palmetto that I sort of thought looked nice near the front edge of the drive....but if Aggie wanted it down, down it would be.

An hour later the bush was down and brush piles humped to the street we retired to the house. Steve and I had just settled into enjoy a well deserved beer and Gaterade out by the pool when we heard the girl's car pull into the drive (Steve is smarter than I and does not drink).

Aggie being the astute person she is noticed the huge pile of brush near the street and...the missing palmetto palm that had once lined her drive and was not happy. With steam rolling out of her ears she made a beeline for Steve. I really sort of felt sorry for Aggie at this point. She had company and could not unleash her full wifely ire on Steve. At least I felt sorry until Steve muttered, “It was Vic's idea” and quickly disappeared out the door to plant elephant ears – Steve is quick on his feet he is. I did what my old buddy Jeff Hildberg taught me to do with mad women - looked at my feet and kept my mouth shut (I got ya back Steve, old buddy, but ya owe me).

Aggie of course calmed down and forgave us both, fed us a great meal, and I got to be a CLOD for a day even managing to piss off someone else's wife. And as a bonus, was rewarded with warm memories of my Uncle Jack and Aunt Katherine, and had the great pleasure of working with a good friend...even if he did get me in trouble with his wife.

In truth, I enjoyed being a CLOD for a day but don't intend to make a habit of it...not yet...not yet.

Vero by Night
A Cruiser's Thanksgiving:

Some of the best things in our lives seem to just “happen.” Our second Thanksgiving was shaping up to be one of those time and will be one of my most memorable. 
We made Vero Beach Mooring field as a group with the Turtle slightly ahead of the pack followed by Buck and Vicki on Victoria Gaye, Earl and Karen on Temptation, and Jim and Barb on Skat (all Matthews Point Marina Boats...or honorarily MP boats). Craig and Dovie on Bubbles would arrive a few days later in some of the worst weather we have had...bless 'em.
Buck & Vicki
The girls immediately went into planning mode. The Turtle offered the most room so was naturally drafted as host boat for Thanksgiving dinner. Vic would do the turkey and gravy. Barb mashed potatoes (I love mashed potatoes) and some lovely flowers for the table. Vicki pecan & pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, and asparagus. Karen mushrooms, cornbread dressing, cherry tarts, and her famous whole cranberry sauce (which Earl forgot to bring and was to leave a full plate of food to go back and get..and it was worth it, I might add). The girls gave Dovie a by since they were to arrive on Wednesday just before Thanksgiving and would have little time to prepare...but as any good cruiser would, was not going to be left out and prepared some yummy sweet potatoes.
Jim & Barb
Dinghies started arriving about 1:00 and the ladies set a table for the menfolk on the aft deck and a more formal gathering in the main salon for the women's table. A buffet was set on the counters and all were called to dinner. It was about the time Earl finished piling his plate with food he discovered the missing cranberry sauce. He stood staring at the turkey and dressing with a forlorn, life without cranberry sauce is not worth living look on his face for about 4 seconds and he was back in his dink headed to retrieve Karen's sauce. And I have to say, after slathering my dressing with Karen's cranberry sauce, I'm glad he did. As you can well imagine, everything was delicious...and so were the seconds. As a matter of fact the seconds were so good the turkey and sun slammed Buck's eyes shut and he almost fell out of his chair before could headed off for a nap back on Victoria Gaye.

However, the best thing at both tables was the friendship, the warm conversation, and the sense of peace filled the Salty Turtle to overflowing. That... my friends is what Thanksgiving truly is. I wish you all peace, love, family, and friends.

At Anchor Titusville RR Bridge


My third Thanksgiving was a real surprise...and a big one. It was 6:00 AM in the morning a few days after Thanksgiving and I was on the head. Gigi was in the galley fixing the morning coffee and had turned the VHF on. I thought, “that's odd. Why the VHF this early?” but didn't give it another thought and went back to business when I heard some one hailing the Salty Turtle on the radio. Gigi said, “you need to get that. I can't.” So...with pants at half mast I made my way up the steps to the VHF and hailed the boat calling Salty Turtle. SeaSea answered with a distinctive Georgian lilt to her voice, “Salty Turtle this is SeaSea switch 17.” Where the heck did SeaSea come from that's my cousin's boat? And it was my sneaky cousin Stacy Brannon and her husband Paul passing thru Vero on their way to join another boat in Stuart, FL. She and Gigi had set this up as surprise...and it was. She literally caught me with my pants down.

We had breakfast and a great visit before they headed on South to Stuart. I love my family. Vero and two conniving females had given me “family” for Thanksgiving...a really great gift. But Stacy...I will not forgive you if you do this again and don't stay with us on Salty Turtle. The V berth belongs to you and Paul.

ICW Underway Making Way

We are currently at anchor in N. Lake Worth. As weather permits, we will move on South to Ft. Lauderdale and will stage either there or Miami for a crossing to the Bahamas as soon as a window develops.

Fairwinds and Rum Drinks,

Vic Copelan

Vicki, Bob, Gigi, & Vic

PS – Bob & Vicki of First Look, thanks for taking the time to give us a visit. Your visit gave us yet another Thanksgiving. May First Look be back in one piece soon and you guys underway making way.

Note: First Look was hit by lighting this summer and is under a major refit.