Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Waiting for the wind sow there!

My driveway is crowded these days.

Chico is a flat city. If I made some changes I could get by with my two legs and a bicycle. Still, like most Americans, I drive my car, complain about the lack of exercise and then complain about the price of gas.

I already have an affordable Honda. In the spring I rolled dad’s 1996 Mustang convertible on the lawn. i love the car After my father’s death, he and I talked a lot as I ran from top to bottom. However, loud, dark and sharp isn’t practical for Chico in mid-summer.

As the North Valley filled with heat, I wrapped up Dad’s pre-garage ride with a buried car cover.

Sometimes I’m itching to get behind the wheel, but the sky is filled with smoke, don’t you know? Currently, when I drive Dad’s car it’s because I can’t find the Honda keys or feel obligated to stop the fluid from freezing.

At the end of June I brought home the second installment of Dad’s wind and speed legacy: Baby Boat.

Some may remember the Laser, a small racing sailboat. Our 15-foot Chrysler is the cheaper cousin of the Man o’ War Laser.

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The lakes near here are dry. I don’t have a truck. I don’t have a tow bar. The brake lights on the trailer look like they belong to a museum. Nevertheless, one day you can read that I have joined the discount sailing club.

Long before the Mustang, the boat was a member of our family. We lived on a hill across from the Carquinez Straits and wind and water was a great excuse to leave the house. We camped near the lakes. We discovered narrow side channels in the delta. We rode a crazy roller coaster of waves created by oil tankers headed to San Pablo Bay.

My first solo sail was at the age of 12 in the middle of Pinecrest Lake. My little fingers had spent several moments clinging to the handle of the rudder. This time, with a light breeze in the middle of the afternoon, I saw Dad jumped out of the boat. He was wearing his wings, and I could see his head getting smaller as the light flickered across the water.

I have to admit, I felt victorious when I managed to turn and deal with his big smile. It was the same way he taught me to ride a bike – he ran side by side for a while and quietly let go.

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Afterwards I’ll take the kids from the campground for a ride to Butte Lake. But over time, Papa’s attention shifted towards his speed boat.

We called it “put-putt.” It was fast enough for water skiers to tow it, but we preferred a quieter ride in a purple blow-up donut.

Years before we found out Dad had cancer, I started talking about “borrowing” a sailboat for the summer, which later turned into a serious talk about taking it down my driveway.

Over the years, Dad fixed the fiberglass on the faded red hull and bought a new sail. The sail is still crisp and elongated, and it was never taken out of the bag.

When we found out Dad was sick, I hoped he’d remind me how to do fudge. But we ran out of time.

Someday, we’ll have water in lakes, clear blue days and a little wind to catch up with. Until then, I’ll be looking for someone with a truck and tow hitch.

Nation World News Desk
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