Author, Actor, Playwright, Excellent Parallel Parker

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Dancing on the Widow Walk

On Saturday, The Mister left for six weeks. He's one of four crewing aboard a sailboat racing from the Canary Islands (off the coast of Morocco) to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Others aboard Summer Song include Sam, the captain, Sam's wife, Alex (first mate, appropriately enough), Graham's nephew, Will (aka Galley Slave) and my husband, Graham, who for some reason, will answer to the  name of Powder Monkey.

 At 59, Graham is the oldest by a good 25 years. Although he has spent many an hour on the Chesapeake Bay aboard his own Hunter 34, and is no stranger to a 79 knot squall, the ARC race isn't on the Chespeake Bay. It's on the Atlantic Ocean. The deep part. Blue water.

There be Dragons here.

I get asked how I feel about this. I feel great! Those of you with a bucket list know the joy of realizing a lifelong pipe dream. By the way, what's a pipe dream and why is it called that? Anyway, yes, the trip is dangerous. (What isn't?) It will require endurance and courage. But I would no more interfere with his plan than he would object to me performing in a play Off-Broadway (which is a long held pipe dream of my own). As you might expect, they have safety and communication equipment out the ying yang so I expect to hear from him every few days, when he's not, say, climbing a mast with a knife in his teeth, or delivering gun powder to others defending the vessel from dragons.

239 boats from 26 countries will race. Summer Song, a Sandler 34, is the smallest. Graham says smaller boats go slower, so he doesn't expect to win the race. That's probably not the point, anyway. For me, it would be, but for Graham, it's all about the experience. If you'd like to follow along as Summer Song races toward the Caribbean, the captain's blog is an excellent way to do it. Sam and Alex have been at sea for several weeks already, and arrived in the islands a week early. They made good time coming down the coasts of France and Spain. Graham arrived last night (he called) and will spend the next few days taking some brush-up courses, learning things that would scare the bejesus out of me. But Graham is fond of saying, "The difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude."

How do I feel?

Not envious. Where attitude is concerned, I fall under the ordeal category. But I'm very happy for Graham, who gets to be inside something that will bind him to the others on board forever, and not incidentally, make him a better sailor.

How do I feel?

Excited. Anxious. Proud. I'll get lonely, sure, but I have a list of my own, and when he comes back, I'll roast a beast in his honor. In the meantime, I dance on the widow walk and play my pipe of dreams to the wind that fills his sails.


  1. Oh Irene, what an adventure. I think I'd be in the "ordeal" category, but think it's great that Graham can fulfill a wish. We look forward to hearing about their progress.