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Sailing Away On A Lost Memory

by Terrye

If I could live anywhere, I’d live…

I wish I were sailing away.

My first thought was that I’ve always wanted to live on a sailboat and sail the oceans, seeing the world. When I was 20, I was working full time at the US Army Directorate of Contracting as a Procurement Assistant, going to school part-time (working on that elusive journalism degree), and enjoying the single life. Because mom and I worked in the same building (she was a contracting officer across the hall from where I worked), we commuted to work and it saved dad a ton in gas; they considered it my exchange for living at home.

One evening, at dinner, dad mentioned that one of the guys he worked with was selling his 26 foot sailboat for the incredible price of $20,000. The way he brought it up made me guess that there was an ulterior motive. He’d done the same thing to me when we had gone car shopping. He was driving a brand new Le Baron but he’d always been more of a 4 wheel drive kinda guy (wonder where I got that from, huh?). I ended up bringing home a Dodge Dakota when I’d been looking at a cute little 2 seater.

I asked where the sailboat was located knowing that the Port of Anchorage only hosted cargo vessels and the occasional cruise ship. Heck, the nearest small boat harbor was in Seward. Yep. Turns out it was in Seward. Dad’s plan was for me to buy the sailboat and live on it. One small problem, it’s a two-hour drive from Seward to Anchorage and another 30 minutes to Fort Richardson, where I worked.

Did he let it drop? Nope. For over a week he would bring up the sailboat. Finally, I told him if I did buy the damn thing, he’d have to drive mom to work again. That was the last I ever heard of it again. Years later, I found out that growing up, dad had spent his teen years working on a rather large yacht on the Great Lakes. After he had died, I was going through the old pictures and found one of him and a bunch of his friends, all shirtless, standing in front of that gorgeous boat looking tan and smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Those summers were some of his favorite times in life.

I asked mom about it and she told me that he had hoped I would have bought it so that he could have taught me to sail and we, as a family, could have explored the coastline of Alaska, and maybe the world. If only he had told me. I would have happily driven those 4 extra hours a day.

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