Friday, June 03, 2005

Sailing- Part I

I don't want things to get too depressing around here, so let me tell you about one of the most exhilarating of the days I spent on the lake. This will take more than one post, so bear with me.

One October day when I was about 13 or 14 years old, I "happened across" an old sailboat in the garage of one of the cottage people that summered on our lake. Remember when Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs finds that unfortunate dead body in a car in the dark building after her meeting with Lector? My actions, while perhaps not quite as dramatic, were similar in that I had heard rumors of a pretty nifty sailboat just sitting and rotting in this garage, and so I managed to find my way into the garage and check it out.

A fall day in October, when all but the permanent residents of the lake had gone home, presented no difficulties for exploring the nooks and crannies of how normal people lived. I found no dead humans in the garage, but instead a stately, if decrepit, body of a sailboat. She looked like she could be brought back to life, so I made a mental note of it.

At the beginning of the next summer, after the cottage people began descending upon the lake to frolic for three months, I worked up the nerve to ask the owners whether they would sell me the boat. They took apparent sympathy on my status as a lake urchin and gave it to me outright. I spent the rest of the summer, in the evenings and on rare "off" days from working as a bricklayer's helper, rehabbing the sailboat. My dad helped me with the project and actually was fairly pleasant during those phases where his storms and his demons were dormant. When we were done with the sailboat, it looked something like this, although I think my boat was somewhat more stout than the boat in the picture.

If you were to visit any of my fancy lawyer's offices over the past 18 years, the only indication you would see of my former lake urchin status would be a small, somewhat faded picture of my finished and refurbished sailboat, sails tucked and folded, at peace while anchored on calm waters, a burnt orange sunset in the background.

The picture serves as a reminder for me of one of the day I decided to leave the lake behind, a day I will describe in my next post.