Slim Randles' Home Country
Dreams sail on
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When old Ben
died recently, the town was saddened, but probably not for the usual
reasons. Ben had been widowed for nearly 20 years and had lived
alone in the house where he and Judith had raised their boy, John.
He'd had a lot of health problems, there at the last, too. Things
weren't easy for him.
Sometimes when a guy is in that shape,
people nod and smile slightly at his passing and say, "Well, in a
way it's a blessing, isn't it."
But not with old Ben. There's the sailboat, you see.
After Judith died — and Judith was the most practical woman in
town — Ben started buying and reading magazines about sailboats.
Then he cut the front off the barn/garage out in back, and began
building a boat. He drew crowds with his work for a while. Everyone
stopped by from time to time, and we all know it is to be 32 feet
long and a gaff-rigged — not Marconi-rigged — sloop. Said they look
more like real sailboats.
Eccentric? Well, maybe. Eccentricities last a year or two, but a
20-year project is a lot closer to being an obsession.
[to top of second
When Ben could afford more of the special wood he was using, he
bought it. Sometimes all he'd get were some of those little brass
whatchamacallits to put along the side. But each time something
came, there was work going on out in that garage. Ben took pride in
the project being pay-as-you-go, so he wouldn't owe anybody when he
finally put it in the ocean.
Ben died before that happened, and that saddened us greatly. We
might chuckle a bit behind his back, but we also secretly envied him
and admired him for building that boat.
After Ben passed, his son brought his wife and children to live
in the little house. After a few weeks, we heard activity out in the
garage, and we found John working on his dad's boat. It would, he
said, eventually sail.
There is no statute of limitations on dreams.
[Text from file received from
Brought to you by the new CD "Having Fun in
New Mexico," Fifteen stories by Slim Randles.