By Allan Gillis
At the behest of the lovely and gracious Mrs. Gillis, I begin here a posting – the first in an upcoming regular series. She mentioned that much of what I write or highlight is – or could be construed as; “negative”. I respond to her by pointing out that it is my inclination to be vigilant and always aware of current “conditions”. Conditions that may engender discomfort, irritation, danger or peril so that one may be prepared and/or be able to avoid such pain or loss. (“mostly it’s a guy thing”… is what I usually tell her). But here I digress. I must yield to my better-half’s always-good counsel. In an effort to continue to promote domestic bliss and mutual understanding here at Chateau Ghillie’, I shall hereto and forthwith begin an offering to you dear readers of a regular series of postings that I shall dub “Little Blessings”.
Yesterday, I took an old, old friend sailing out on my little J/24. It was a glorious day. I mean just glorious! The winds from the southeast just shot me out of the inner harbor on a “beam reach” past the airport and then they shifted to a sweet stiff 5-10 knots – veering further from the south. Heeling slightly after wolfing down a couple of hard-boiled eggs and French bread (washed down with a wonderful, cold Roman Frascati), we made our way speedily past Spectacle Island and then past Long Island to the waters off of East Weymouth and Hingham.
The wind then seemed to quiet a bit and we were moving out toward Hull and the Nantasket Roads, past the southern shore of George’s Island when we got hungry again. So, out came the pasta salad, the bread and humus and the fried chicken! (more Roman white wine – then we busted out the Argentinean red). Moving out of the “outer harbor” we were working against a strong flood tide… slowing us to a crawl. So, we took advantage of the sweet warm n’ strong sunlight to bathe in the cool salt water as we barely moved with my “doused” mainsail a-top the cabin roof.
Being two old goombas, being two husbands, both of us fathers and grandfathers as well as two brothers who know well the saving grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ – we were both just relishing the gift of the day.
The scene around us – always shifting, with the clouds building high (we made it back to the dock safely with plenty of time to spare before a squall with a deluge of wind and hale!), the sea sometimes calm, sometimes white-capped – sometimes grey, sometimes green – all the while the sun up high and strong (GREAT conditions for good sailing wind). The waters where busy with many, many pleasure boats, both power and sail. People greeting one another warmly and happily as the day seemed so fine. One just had to be so thankful to God for His creation – as we made our way north again – returning along the same way, the winds shifted easterly and we “reached” up to Castle Island at a good and comfortable clip. John yanked out his old guitar from below deck and we sipped some dark rum singing old songs and marveling at the day.
I doused the mainsail again as we approached the dock and we glided in perfectly – sailing in on the jib only – to my spot – without firing up the little 4 horse motor at all (I really do pride myself as an excellent helmsman!). Tying off the stern, bow and spring-lines, we struggled like two old tired men flaking the jib and rolling and covering the mainsail.
We noticed that it was quite warm on land as opposed to what we felt out on the water as we then just sat on the boat – hot, tired and happy. We finished the provisioned libations as a nice refreshing mixture of freezing-cold San Pelligrino sparkling water and cold white wine. Talking more about the kids, the wives, our jobs, old girlfriends and how sweet and sour it can be as we faced middle age.
I laid in bed later, recalling the day to my Sweetest before we slept and I told her how I felt. I felt like my seams were bursting with gratitude to God for the beautiful day and for her sweetness and all that I have in my life.
To whom much is given – much will be expected. May God have mercy on my soul.