Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tiny Dancer on the ICW

A few days before leaving Toledo we had a nice dinner with George and Kathy Schoonmaker and George’s big question about the planned trip was, “But what are you going to DO?”
I think George wondered how we will fill up the hours of the days for the next several months. Will there be days when we are so bored that we just stay in bed, read romance novels, and eat Fig Newtons?
In fact, there is much to do and the days pass very quickly. For instance, we must always know where we are and which way to point the boat. One of us must then steer the boat in that direction; the boat must be kept in good working order; meals must be prepared; dishes washed; laundry done; Annie must be reminded to finish her book report or algebra assignment. Some of those tasks take much longer on a boat than they do at home (laundry alone takes a few of our hours).
On the other hand, more time is freed up. We watch no television, so we have much more time to read, play games and bond.
While steering, I enjoy listening to the radio. If a traveler in North Carolina presses the auto-tune button, there is a fifty percent chance of connecting to country music, about a 25% chance of hitting a rock/pop oldies station, about a 10% chance of hearing a very earnest Baptist pastor, and we’ve always been able to find National Public Radio. Most of the NPR feature stories during the past two weeks have insisted that in today’s election the Republicans are bound to lose control of the House, Senate, Supreme Court, and the Universe because President Bush is so stupid (not smart like so many liberal New Yorkers).
If I got tired of hearing that story over and over, I could turn to one of the oldies stations and discover that CCR’s “ Bad Moon Risin’” is just as popular in North Carolina as it is in Toledo (even though John Fogerty is now receiving Social Security benefits). But the favorite tune on the Carolina Coast (based on a very unscientific survey) is Elton John’s version of “Tiny Dancer” and I enjoyed the first 5-6 times I heard it in the past three days, but I woke at 5:00 this morning with the words “hold me closer tiny dancer; count the headlights on the highway...” running through my head (it’s a weird song). I quickly reached over and turned on the radio (to get “Tiny Dancer” out of my head) and it began to quietly play, “I see a bad moon a’ risin’”.
There are also continual new sights on the near horizon, which moving at six knots we have plenty of time to enjoy. We see a wealth of animal life along the ICW. Dolphins have become common, but still a pleasure (they seem ignorant of the Flipper dialect and never respond when we squeak and click at them). We’ve seen deer and goats grazing along the banks and many birds: abundant Great Egrets, a Cattle Egret, Louisiana Herons, a Royal Tern, a Little Blue Heron, many Osprey fishing, increasing numbers of Brown Pelicans and quite a few birds we couldn’t identify.
Aside from other duties, Sam studies calculus in preparation for his next semester of engineering classes.
Annie wishes me to include that she spends much time cooking and washing dishes for the family, and Sam adds that she should spend more time and effort on these tasks.
So the days pass quickly; we’re in South Carolina now and should make Charleston in a couple of days.