Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The Last Voyage
My father has two things (besides my mom and his children) he absolutely loves--his Cadillac and his boat. The car speaks for itself. It's sleek, sexy, silver and.... it's a Cadillac. The boat is an older Sea Ray with a cabin for cooking and sleeping. Jaws might not drop in awe as we pass people by in it, but it's pretty nice looking. This morning my dad asked me to take a ride down to the marina with him and take a few photos of the boat with my digital camera before I went to work.
After years and years of spending money on boat slips, maintenance, the cost of having the boat taken in and out of the water and transported to his backyard for the winter, and other expenses; my dad has decided to slap a FOR SALE sign on his beloved possession. It no longer makes sense for him to spend so much money on something we rarely use. If it was up to him; he would be out on it every day--fishing, digging for clams, diving off the side and swimming in the bay, sipping coffee and watching the sun set over the water. My mother is not really a big boating fan. If I was retired and had more free time I would want to relax all summer in the sun on my very own little floating house. I can't think of anything better. My mom disagrees. The boat is one big hassle for her but she refuses to allow my dad to go on it alone. He shouldn't be boating alone after having two heart attacks. She might have a point there. What if something happened out there on the water? Unfortunately, he really doesn't have very many guy friends he can call to go out with him. I am always running here and there or involved with work so I don't have the time to go boating as often as I would like. My son is always busy or working and my sister lives in Brooklyn with her husband. He is a boat owner, too. Why would he travel all the way out here when he can drive a few miles to Sheepshead Bay to his enjoy own boat? I feel so sad for my father. I know this is something he loves and it is being taken away from him. He is not being forced to sell the boat but he is trying to be sensible, economical and avoid arguing with his wife. The boat costs too much money, it takes too much effort to maintain, and he never seems to have the time to use it. That is kind of frivolous, isn't it?
So today, father and daughter stood on the dock, snapping photos and recalling all the fun times we have had on his boat over the years. Then dad looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "Want to go out for a spin?"
I glanced at my watch. It was almost 12 noon and I had to get to the office. I was already so behind schedule but I knew how much it would mean to him if we went. "Sure, Daddy," I said. "Let's go!"
We took off out into the bay--full speed ahead. Not a single soul was out there today. The water was as clear as glass and the sun was shining. I didn't even need my jacket. We stopped for awhile, sat there chatting, sipping coffee and enjoying the gorgeous sunshine. It was so nice, so relaxing, and so good to just spend some time alone with my dad. I didn't want to leave. As he started up the boat again to head back to shore he said with a wink, "Don't tell your mother."
Once we were back on the dock, we stood there for awhile admiring the boat. My dad sighed heavily and said," Days like this make me not want to sell it. But we just never really use the darn thing anymore."
"I don't know why, Daddy. You are retired and you and Mom have the time now. My work schedule is pretty flexible. It seems to me that we are all just so busy doing nothing that we don't take time to really enjoy life."
On the drive to the office later I thought about that for awhile. Are we really so busy doing nothing that we are not taking the time to really enjoy life? What is more important than getting out and spending time together, playing and laughing? How much effort does it take to pack a quick lunch and thermos full of coffee and spend a relaxing afternoon out on the boat? Or at the park? How about sitting at the beach or playing cards or board games at the dining room table? Instead we work too much, shop too much, surf the internet too much, sleep too much, watch television too much. We waste time on things that don't matter. We are really too busy doing nothing.
The weather is cool now and summer is over. When next year rolls around, another family will be making their own memories on our boat. Today was my dad's last trip on his prized possession. I am so glad I forgot about work for awhile and didn't discourage him. I managed to complete everything I needed to do today despite the time I took to spend with him. I had the pleasure of taking that last voyage with my father. To someone else, it just might be an insignificant little boat ride. To us--it meant everything.
Time is short. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Seasons come and go. People come and go. My dad will be seventy-three years old this Friday. How many more father-daughter times do we really have? No one knows but God. I never want to be so busy doing nothing that I miss opportunities to spend time with him or with any of the people I love. We might not have a boat to enjoy any more, but we have each other and I don't ever want to take that for granted.
And this is my Daily Cyn...........