Memories of Far Away
Sailing brings out childhood memories of far away. Steve and Colleen Hamlin of nearby Suffolk took their children on a local vacation to see the Williamsburg sights. They went sailing along the York River the day after Tropical Storm Hermine blew through, so the winds were brisk and steady. Their son Tyler had experience on a friend’s Hobie Cat, so he took the helm and had things firmly in grasp. Heading out, we saw dolphins in Sara Creek. One of them dove straight up out of the water in a lovely arc.
“My parents have a house in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” Colleen recalled. “It’s very remote with nothing but a dirt road in. It takes a lot of planning to get there. You don’t just run out for groceries, because it’s more like provisioning.” I asked her about my definition of civilization, which is a nearby 7-Eleven. “No, there’s no 7-Eleven anywhere. Not even a Tim Horton’s.” She was referring the donut shops that speckle Canada. I asked how they endure the harsh winters of the Upper Peninsula. “They spend the winter at their other house, in Texas.”
We sailed past a Kirby Co. freighter that actually was a barge with a tug tucked in behind. We could see the crew lowering a dinghy, and soon they sped away toward shore, perhaps to a 7-Eleven. Steve observed, “They’re by the book, wearing life jackets and hard hats as they should be.”
Everyone enjoyed the peace and quiet even though the boat was heeling 10-15 degrees in steady winds and whitecaps. “My buddies with big fishing boats ask me to go out of Rudy Inlet in Virginia Beach to go offshore fishing. They race out toward the Continental Shelf in all that chop. I prefer this instead. Or I’d rather play golf.”
Steve admitted to carrying a 10 handicap, and his capable hands on the wheel attested to that.
In the afternoon Meghann Wilson returned from a sail with her friends earlier in the summer. This time she brought her parents and two brothers and a date with one of them. Her mother Lydia Burger marveled at the diversity of their children. Meghann is married to a Navy SEAL and her two brothers have remarkable careers.
Joel Burger is a Foreign Service official with the US State Department. He was stationed in India and is now cramming a five-month Spanish course to be deployed in Argentina. We talked about Benghazi and whether Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was remotely responsible for the tragic death of the US ambassador to Libya.
Grant Burger is former Marine and now a woodworker who’s studying at the North Bennett Street School in Boston. The curriculum has been maintained intact since the 1920s. He was enamored by Colonial Williamsburg and talked with craftsmen at the Hay Shop and the Wheelright Shop. “I asked the cooper how he calculated the difficult angles of the making the cuts for the wheels and barrels, and he said he simply does it by eyeing it.”
As the sun began to set, we contemplated life’s memories from far away.
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