Where'd Dad Go?

March 9, 1999

The stage was set the players were ready.

The problem was however, that there was no music.

Well, Ok, there was music. But not my kind of music. I wanted presence, clarity, force, emotion, carnality, and percussion.

This day there was soft melody, the stuff of elevators called muzak.

I paced back and forth. Fortunately no one takes note of one pacing on this stage. It is expected. Well, maybe not expected, but understood.

I kept looking around, hoping, pacing. I wanted to scream to the heavens, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TURN OFF THE MUZAK.

Muzak can be nice mind you, but it belongs in elevators. Can you imagine, playing some music with drama in an elevator? Doors open to the 1812 Overture or Bolero plays on the express elevator to the 133rd floor.

I decided to rest. I lay back, closed my eyes, felt the warm sunshine and bolted up after a good - 30 seconds or so.

Some days you gotta have music with a beat, rhythm. I wanted something to move the soul and make my heart race, not more muzak.

Finally, I thought to myself, "I surrender - just how bad can muzak be?"

On the shore my harness and lifejacket lay in a crumpled bundle. The Hobe-Cat was angled into the wind, sails lifeless. Waves rolled lazily on the shore, devoid of energy. They were steady, and boring, maybe one to two feet in height.

A young boy sat half buried in the sand, making a sandcastle.

"Wanna come?" I asked.

"Nah… Weenie" he said.

The boy's father grabbed one life jacket and threw it over his right shoulder. Sitting on the back of the trampoline he tore loose the straps on the waterproof sandals and threw them on the harness. Golden sand now covered everything. Who needs foot protection when you are going to ride in an elevator?

The boat was angled down toward the water. Grabbing one of the guy wires I dragged the reluctant traveler off of the shore. The shallow water was tinted brown from the churning sand.

Taking off on a northwest heading the sails caught the southwest breeze.

Life! The boat was coming alive as I threw myself up and onto the trampoline. There was to be no harness this day or tying the mainsail rope to the lifejacket. Clip, Clip. The life jacket was safely put to bed on the trampoline, clipped to one of the ropes.

August on Lake Michigan. The warm breeze filled the sails and the boat began to move with a bit of seriousness. As soon as the shallow water was cleared the rudders were locked into place and I leaned back into the afternoon sun.

I turned my head to shore just in time to see the boy wave and walk up the beach toward the swimming pool. Tough life, I thought, a young boy spending a couple of weeks of summer on the Lake Michigan beaches.

Daylight had already entered the 4th quarter.

Soon the launch onto the lake turned into a moment of magic. Sunlight sparkled across the water and transformed the lake into a sea of diamonds.. A few high cirrus clouds rode on the horizon, the sky overhead was a hazy pale summer blue.

Whoa, I said to myself. Floating just inches above the water, the angle of the sunlight and the angle of the wind was perfect. The best wind was had by sailing right into the sparkling water. Lazy swells, inky blue water, and a billion sparkles of light lay ahead. I cleated the rope, pulled out the tiller extension and stood up on the trampoline. With my right hand on the tiller and left on the mast support wire, I stepped out onto the left pontoon.


A gentle breeze, pale blue sky, and diamonds on the water. I stood and sailed and sailed and sailed. I did not look back for the longest time, because I did not want to break the magic of the moment.

It was not a sail into the sunset, nor could it have been. It was not a sail into a pounding and snarling sea full of high drama. I was however, a sail into timelessness when wind and sun and water came together in a gentle melody of life.

I was still sailing, long after the little boy had looked out on the lake and asked his mother "Hey Mom, Where'd Dad go?