And What Shall I Do Then?

We left Kalunamoo in Trinidad and flew to New York in early June in time to attend the wake and funeral of my father. It was a hectic time. The boat was hauled and put on the hard. Masts were unstepped, a cover installed. We arranged vendors to start the multiple M&R jobs on the boat, ordered new sails, find engine parts and then, we contracted covid a week before he passed. Fortunately for me it was a relatively mild case, Maureen had even a milder case, but it still took a week after the symptoms were gone that we tested negative and were able to board a plane back to the States. We arrived in New York very early on the morning of the wake.

Dad was 101 and two months old and, by his own reckoning, was ready to move on to his next stage, rejoin his wife and continue to fish in the heavens above. With a heavy heart we gathered together and bid him farewell while retaining all the great memories of a full life and the great luck we had knowing him as our father, a relative or friend.

The Home with Mom, Grandpa and my sister circa 1950
Me, dad, and my sister cica 1955
The Home today

Since his passing, we have been busy closing family affairs with the home my parents owned in Brooklyn for 75 years. It is chock-a-block with both memories and artifacts gathered over ¾ quarters of a century. It was a bit of a time capsule. Down in the basement I found my old Erector Set from the early 50’s. Amazingly it is not rusted at all. Meanwhile, any metal on a boat seems to rust within hours. A couple of my mom’s old Hollywood Movie magazines from the 1930’s were found along with my father’s handwritten journal of every fish he caught since 1938. Old hand carved wooden shoes from the Philippines from WWII, phonograph records including an original Sun Record’s 78 of Carl Perkins singing Blue Swade Shoes, R&H Breer tray (1888-1953), tons of fishing gear, letters I wrote to my parents when I was on a training ship in Europe, and many other artifacts that only have value for the memories that stir and the times that have passed.

My dad was an avid (compulsive?) surf caster fisherman. See https://www.littoralsociety.org/blog/family-and-friends-remember-fish-tagger-bill-woodroffe

Dad at 18 (with his Model A), always with a fishing pole.

Among the piles of documents, and paperwork that was never disposed of was a clipping of “fishing humor”. It goes something like this:

A fisherman was sitting on a beach fishing when a businessman walking along the beach approached him and asked what he was doing. Obviously fishing, was the reply. But no fish, said the businessman?

The businessman then said that he should use a net to catch more fish. The fisherman replied, “And what shall I do then?”

“Well with more fish you could sell some and make some money” he replied.

“And what shall I do then?”

“Well, if you have some money, you could buy a boat and go out and catch more fish”

“And what shall I do then?”

“Well then you could sell more and have many other boats catching fish for you.”

“And what shall I do then?”

“Well, by then you will have so much money, you wouldn’t need to work at all, and you could just lie on a beach watching this beautiful water!”

To which the fisherman replied, “But that is what I’m doing now.” 

Dad at 94, still fishing.

Well, that seems to summarize how life evolves for many. The journey of our lives, the complexities that we construct, the efforts we exert, the paths we choose, have as the goal a place that doesn’t have those complexities, efforts or paths. Eventually if we are lucky and find that place, we find it filled with the artifacts and memories of that journey. And no need to ask, “and what shall I do then”.

Well, I can’t say we are at that place now, although the great work years are behind us. The work of living and cruising on a sailboat always has an answer to “and what shall I fix/mend/repair then”. The next blog, after we return to Kalunamoo will list some of the answers. And of course, there is always the search for the next beach.

Besides family affairs this summer, we managed to get together with cruisers that either came ashore after their cruising life or spend time ashore in the summer. This included the cruisers from Rum Runner, Judith Arlene, Hippocampus, Merlin, Allegro, Nada, Pandora, Star Shot and Moya Mreeya. We had road trips to Maryland, Massachusetts, Toronto, and the Adirondacks. Overall, it was an eventful summer and quite a change from life aboard in the Caribbean. In a few weeks we will return to Kalunamoo and finish up the M&R and get ready for the winter cruising season. “Winter” sounds too harsh to apply to where the temperature never drops below the 80’s during the day and the question that comes to mind often is, “and which bathing suit (if any) should I wear then”.

2 thoughts on “And What Shall I Do Then?

  1. Nice blog! I had a similar experience cleaning out my father’s house so reading it was bitter sweet. I still have the flag you gave me and I am still practicing. I have added a couple more tunes my limited repertoire.

    Like

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