Captain Ron  

by Ron Thweatt - Hermitage Tennessee - USA


My Ship Has Come In!

On February 23, 2007, My Ship Came In! And, man, it was a pleasant surprise!

I have a lady friend who has been part of my work life, sailing life, personal life, and simply an all around good human being to know, while sailing through this place we call Life.

This lady is not my wife, but just a friend who came into my life and just happened to be a woman, come on give me a break don’t tell me you all don’t have at least a couple of them. Then I was able to bring her into the life my wife and I have had for the past 36+ years together.

Today is her birthday and the Queen and I are planning a nice dinner for her and her husband this evening. As most of us do, I was getting everything “ship shape,” so that on Saturday, , everything would be ready for their visit.

When being tied up at a dock any place that I have been and while trying to get the boat ready for my guests, there is always that one person who stops by. If you are wealthy, and by that I mean blessed with real friends - not just people who call you friend, but the type you are willing to stop and let the varnish brush you just ordered and waited to come in, dry in the varnish pot while returning their hello with a hug or a smile and then go below to make coffee or offer them a cold drink. I am never surprised when this happens and yesterday was no exception…I had the can of furniture polish in hand, with a Swiffer duster stuck in my back pocket and the vacuum sitting where it had been allowed to rest after doing a great job sucking up dust bunnies, when the phone rang. The first question was, “Ron, how you doing?” I knew from the way the question was asked that it was Stacy, my young friend. We had talked the day before about some sailing stuff on the phone. We also had a great day last week traveling around looking at tools for his workshop and then a trip to the Harley Davidson Café for a burger. He was calling to tell me he had picked up the package I had asked him to get at his convenience the day before and that he was bringing it to me.

The Package

Now, this is not just a small drive – it’s like sailing the distance from Key West halfway to Cuba and then turning around and sailing back to Key West, so I was excited to see the package. It was a large box and when he opened it, there she was, all varnished and ready to play with . It was a RECORD PLAYER – yep, one that will play the old 45’s and 33’s. Another neat thing about him bringing this to me is that I have some “records” that I think Stacy’s dad may have picked the “ivories” on before the old man escaped Music City to sail around the world, Come to think of ever notice the parents of sailors usually do this after they marry the kids off ? Just a side note not accusing any one of any thing Mr. Smith Sir {I would like to sail on his new boat so I should be polite}!

We plugged it up and here was a young man with a Blackberry on one hip and a cell phone on the other, along with me in my half cleaned condo, surrounded with high end CD players and TV’s all connected to a sattelite dish , were standing there watching a little piece of plastic go round and round and play “When The Saints Go Marching In,” the original cut of Fats Domino on a vinyl record! What an odd sight we must have been for the vacuum just standing there staring at us, while looking over its bag at one little dust bunnie that had gotten away and just itching to get at it.

As we stood there we talked about the past and how simple things were, even though we at the time thought the world was screwed up, but when it was still ok not to lock the front door while taking a walk down to the beach. Now the beach has a little camera on it just in case some screwed up person decides he would like to have what we have in our pockets. Never mind, back to the story… What does this have to do with sailing - well, read on, please!

While drinking coffee and looking at the book Stacy brought to me to read, Rob White’s book on making a tin canoe, there was a knock at the screen door. We looked up and there stood another “old salt” with a 14 foot piece of oak he had left over from a domestic project and one which he thought I could use. After introducing my two friends, we sat and “talked sailing,” – mostly he and Stacy talked while I spent my time just listening.

You see, Stacy’s mother and father have sailed around the world and Michael spent lots of time in California sailing to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and back to southern California. Stacy’s parents had let from there for the islands years ago - I am saying that these people could have all been anchored there together and now they are sitting in my living room taking me to places I have only dreamed about. This was a wonderful time! As they left, we made a “pit stop” to look at my “newly decorated” shop, which I have made in my storage closet, with all the wood-working tools I need to build a boat, if I could build a boat.

Stacy left with some walnut plaques to put some of his carved boats on along with a single cleat. Michael left knowing a new person and not having that long piece of oak strapped on top of his car and I was left this gathering with a sense of the present and the past.

I have been spending the past three years getting ready to DIE and I suddenly realized that I only forgot one thing? I am a SAILOR - and I don’t care what the people tell you about having a GPS - YOU still need to look up and see where you are and sometimes it helps if you are Capt. Ron because you can just pull into a dock and ask someone for directions and they don’t even think your weird, Ok just a little but who cares?!

This afternoon gave me the gift of my past, my present and hope for my future. Yes, I could kick the loose dock board today, fall in the water, hit my head and drown, but I could also get a phone call that would allow me to take a trip into the past with a couple of “old salts” who have been there and have taken me there in my mind.

I am ready for the next sail, whether it be in a boat or a trip down to the lake on my electric wheelchair, but most of all, I am ready for whatever comes. With God as my anchor, His Spirit as my rode, His Son as my chain and my wonderful wife as my cleat, I have nothing to worry about. My craft will hold in the gail. If I should drag and hit the rocks, I will know I have done all that I can do to prevent it – it’s just another day of sailing. And everyone knows that a bad day sailing always beats a good day at work! I will just have to recover and adjust my sails. Or if all else fails, I will have the pleasure of sitting in “the harbor” and waiting until my friends all come in.

Do yourself a favor – the next time you are working on a project - I don’t care how little time you have in your busy life to drive a couple of nails or screws or how little day light is left to apply the last coat of varnish, for God’s sake, when a friend drops by, just stop and turn you back on the world and enjoy the visit.

I look forward to many more “old salts” vsits to the Chateau at Heart Harbor. If you should find yourself close by, please give me a shout. I’ll throw some more coffee grounds on the leftover morning’s grounds, put in some more water and we can sit and “sail” for a while.

Fair winds with just enough puffs to keep you on your toes! Think Wind and JOY!
Capt Ron

The Queen and I are at anchor getting ready for Debbie’s birthday dinner tonight just off Friendship Island.

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