Many years ago my dad watched a movie with sailing ships in it. The next day he was a seasoned veteran of the sea. A week later he bought a small 2 person sailboat. It was more like a ½ wooden wine barrel with a bed sheet for a sail. It was nowhere near the sailing ships he had seen on tv, but I wasn’t about to burst his bubble. “Anything that’ll get you out to sea was fine and dandy by me.”. That guy never smiled at my comments.
So I’m sitting on the beach with my mom and younger brothers watching my dad set sail for the hundredth time in his little sailboat. And for the hundredth time no one would accompany him. We were more excited about watching him because that’s where the money is…we’d take bets on how long or short it would take him to flip the boat over.
“The captain always goes down with his ship.” My dad had a unique approach; he did it more often than anyone.
From the shore we’d see the boat flip with my dad being tossed into the water. Someone would walk by and I’d say, “No, no, he’s not waving to us. We don’t even know that weirdo.” Person, “You don’t think he’s calling for help?”. Me, “Naaah, that’s how he swims. Kinda like a cat in knee-deep water throwing a fit in a Speedo.”
I’m pretty sure he didn’t read the sailing manual properly because he wasn’t doing anything by the book. He was making it up as he goes…
Step 1. Push boat off shore and into water waist deep
Step 2. Jump into boat
Step 3. Lose balance, boat flips over, dad gets tossed into the water.
Step 5. Dad comes up for air, looks at my mom for her approval. (You know when a dog does something that makes you laugh…and the dog looks at you like it did something good…wagging it’s tail, all proud and everything…..yup that was the same look on my dad’s face)
Step 6. Dad swims to opposite side of boat and uses his weight to flip the boat back up, the boat keeps flipping up and over until it’s now flipped to the opposite side.
Step 7. Mom and kids laugh at dad.
Step 8. Dad comes up for air and looks at my mom for approval…then swims around the boat…and the cycle repeats.
Apparently, sailing has a huge swimming component to it.
Eventually we had an audience chanting, “do it again”. A community coming together for the free entertainment… My dad was recognized everywhere…kinda like a youtube video gone viral.
The next day was a time to recover. He was always complaining about his muscles aching. My mom had sore ribs from laughing. My throat hurt from yelling a gazillion times. , “Man over board!”.