I've never found Texas, Texans or Texas-ness very amusing. So in my increasingly desperate search for something to take my mind off being stuck here, I bought a boat a few years ago. It is a classic 1966 O'Day Daysailer with teak trim. I bought it with high hopes and the best of intentions. I have a passion for wind and water and I have sailed a great deal in my life. But this is my first boat. I've never had it in the water.
I bought it from an old guy whose bald head still showed the scars of recent brain surgery intended to help calm some of his Parkinson's symptoms. His wife told me the surgery helped, but it would never help enough for him to sail again. Selling the boat wasn't easy for him. He clearly loved it and had sailed it everywhere he ever lived, from the bay at Corpus Christi when the boat was new, to lakes in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, then back here to the lakes around Austin when it was old, having it hauled by truck to the places his job took him. He lived a well-traveled life and it is a well-traveled boat. And the trip was nearly over. I could see it in his face. He was sad to sell it.
I understand his sadness. It's not easy for me to sell it either and I've never sailed it anywhere. The older a man gets the more things he is forced to abandon by health and circumstance in the full knowledge that he will never do them again. I could see it in him. And it's happening to me already and I am nowhere near the age of the man who sold be the boat. Still, I know there are trails I won't hike again, mountaintops I won't set foot on again, places I won't visit again, people I won't see again. And waters I won't sail again. The trails, mountains, places, lakes, oceans, and many of the people are still there, but I am beginning to fade and "again" has begun to lose its meaning.
It is hot in Texas. It has been 100+ degrees for more than 54 days here this summer. There is a drought. The lakes are low. I still am not amused. I am parched from the long effort of being here all these years. Soon I am going back to New Mexico to live. Again. For the last time. Before the meaning is lost completely.
The boat is for sale in the driveway.