Woman Enough

My life has taken to boats

Posted in Uncategorized by womanenough on September 20, 2011

Mostly, I am surprised and delighted by the turn my life has taken to boats and the sea. It is so beautifully far from where I always thought I’d be.

Still, every once in a while I am reminded that some piece of my current life has been there inside me, patiently waiting, all along.

Yesterday, we put into Owl’s Head, a harbor almost exclusively dedicated to a thriving lobstering community. Visiting yachts are expected and encouraged to pass Owl’s Head by on their way to the larger harbors ofRockland, Rockport, andCamden, all of which are very close by.

We came to Owl’s Head because the Food Network recently voted the Owl’s Head General Store the home of Maine’s best hamburger. The burger was really very good, although over priced, but it was not the clue that things these days maybe make a little sense..

Rather, as we cut through a lobster buyer’s wharf and made our way up a road towards burgers and a post office, we passed a familiar house, and I was reminded of a family story.

Thirty-four years ago, my mother and father and my grandfather, Ted, were out sailing for a few days on Penobscot Bay. My mother, who had never been troubled much by motion sickness before, struggled with nausea for most of the cruise. After three or four days, she was met with the surprising certainty that she was no seasick. She was pregnant.

And so the cruising party dropped an anchor in Owl’s Head, and my father went ashore to hitchhike to his vehicle in Winterport, about 90 minutes by car up the western side of the bay. When he finally arrived at his VW bus, it would not start, which was not uncommon but, this time, was certainly inconvenient.

In the meantime, my grandfather went ashore and knocked on the front door of the house nearest the harbor. He asked for water, which they gave him, and let him use the telephone.

In Winterport, my father set to repairs on the bus, and eventually it started, and he drove back down to Owl’s Head a couple days after having departed. He picked up my mother and Ted finished the cruise alone.

Later, my brother Jake was born. A few years ago, my dad drove me down to Owl’s Head during a visit home for the holidays. He showed me the house that had helped Ted, and told me the story.

And so, in some ways, it isn’t all that surprising at all that I slept in Owl’s Head and woke to the engines and wakes of fishermen headed out for their morning haul.

Ted died a little over a year ago. He would have been 101 years old this week. Partly because he had the wisdom that comes with being very, very old, and partly because he was  sailor, he would not have been surprised a bit that his youngest granddaughter took her life to boats, at least for a spell.

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