MY BOATING VALENTINE
By Barb Hansen
When we were dating, Vic told me that he had been in love before. Apprehensively, I waited to hear love stories that didn’t involve me.
The first true love of his life, Vic said, occurred when he was only 12 years old. He had an affair with an older sailboat. He even made a set of sails for it…from bed sheets. Hmmm. Other love stories followed. The objects of his affection were -- you got it -- boats.
I understood that his pre-teen’s psyche had been imprinted with a powerful, though strange, attraction. I married him anyway.
Now fast forward to a few years ago. I turned to the comic strips and went immediately to my favorite, Hagar the Horrible.
From his comic strip barstool Hagar the Horrible was telling his drinking buddies that he had had nine true loves in his life. All boats. OMG, I thought, that’s Vic and he’s channeling Hagar the Horrible.
I’m loving it. I clipped and taped this strip to the refrigerator.
I’m not sure to this day if I know about all of Vic’s earlier sweethearts but I’ve been an enthusiastic partner with him on every acquisition since. The arrows that Cupid released at us were surely tipped with a Love Boat Potion.
When I read that cartoon strip my boating memory kicked in and I started counting up our loves: Dolphin, a 36-foot ketch, was our “home” for four years. Others include two Boston Whalers, a few sloops, several Grand Banks trawlers, and assorted dinghies.
Hagar told the boys in the bar that a man is lucky if he has one true love in his life. A boat owner nine times, Hagar had been lucky nine times. Counting boats only, Vic and I have Hagar’s kind of luck.
Sometimes truth speaks to you from the funny papers. Sometimes it’s from the news section.
Did you hear about the new cruise ship for 3,500 passengers? Impressive specs, this boat: 1, 487 cabins, 3,710 bunk spaces, and who knows how many miles of all you can eat buffet lines.
Those specs don’t impress me. My votes goes for something with two or maybe three cabins, a reliable vessel with a shallow draft that motors smoothly along a placid coastal waterway framed by mangrove wilderness and views of wading birds, dolphins and the occasional family of manatees.
My cruise ship doesn’t have an activities director; it doesn’t have an ATM; it doesn’t have an onboard hospital. In fact, it doesn’t have a schedule unless you say so. If it’s Tuesday, it’s not Belgium, it’s probably Sanibel Island, or Useppa Island, or the most beautiful beach you’ve ever seen on Cayo Costa Island. Cruise ships can’t go there, and that’s a good thing.
On my favorite cruise ship dressing up for a meal means pulling a tee shirt over your swimsuit. Passengers don’t cut into the buffet line to take the last shrimp.
And every evening at dinner the captain sits at my table.