Farewell to the boat

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We started with a great plan. We would buy the boat, fix it up and go sailing.

We divided responsibilities, my friend and I. He had the money, so he paid the bills. I was broke but good with tools, so I would do the repairs, maintenance and stuff. And we would sail. It was perfect.

For seven years, the boat lay in Key West where we worked on her, outfitted her and sailed her for endless days and nights through that unbelievable turquoise water. My friend looked forward to the day he would retire. He would take the boat on long voyages, grow a beard and drink rum. I would sail to exotic islands and sit in the harbor and write the great American novel.

Then one day we got the word that the place we kept the boat had been sold, and we had to move. We sailed northward along the Florida coast to Titusville where we found a new anchorage at the city marina.

Then my friend’s daughter died tragically of cervical cancer. To even the score, he started an ambitious foundation to hopefully end that dreaded disease. He no longer had time to sail. Gas prices soared making travel difficult for me. I, too, stopped sailing, and the boat sat in the marina idly measuring the tides day after day. My friend finally put a For Sale sign on her.

Last week someone bought her, measured the work to be done and made plans to go sailing. They’ll take her to the Bahamas, they say, as soon as they make her seaworthy again. A neglected boat ages quickly.

She was good to us. I pray she will be good to them.

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