Tag Archives: sailing

The Teapot On the Floor

small-delft-tulip-teapot-lgI was considering today the word “consideration.”  It can mean so many things. Careful thought, given over time.  Maybe it means “a fact or a motive taken into account in deciding or judging something.”  Something for your consideration.

Being considerate to each other–kindness.  Giving careful thought to something–much consideration.

Here’s another story from that rainy vacation in Maine.  Our room was in the East Lodge, upstairs (because we were spry enough to climb the steep and narrow stairs).  The other guest room in the East Lodge, on the main floor was occupied that week by a quiet elderly couple from Boston.

On a drippy afternoon, I went down to the parlor to find a book from the “take one/leave one” shelf.  As I walked across the large room, a drip of rain plunked on my head.  I stopped to investigate.  Another and another and another…a leak in the ceiling.  I looked around for something to catch the water and protect the rug until I could tell the owners about the situation.  The only container available was a little Delftware teapot on the mantle.  I took the lid off and positioned the teapot under the drip.  Plink, plink, plunk.

I went upstairs to get my boots on so I could walk over to the office…no phones in the East Lodge.  When I came in the room, Richard stirred from his nap and asked what I was doing.  I told him about the drip and the teapot then I went on my way.

Well, a while later when I made it back to the East Lodge from my errand…the teapot had been moved.  It was still positioned under the drip from the ceiling, but it rested atop a small side table.  OK….

Richard rolled over and smiled at me when I came through the door of our room.  I asked him if he had been downstairs and he answered,  “Yeah, I was worried that the older couple in the room below us might not see that little teapot in the middle of the rug, so I put it on the table.  They won’t trip over it now.”

Consideration was one of his dearest qualities.  He gave much careful thought to situations and solutions.  He took the time to be considerate of others and their needs.

We did get to enjoy one pretty day near the end of that rainy week, when we got to take our little boat out of Linekin Bay and sail around the point into Booth Bay Harbor.  And it just so happened to be the day that a Tall Ship Regatta was moored there.  While huddled low in the boat (I never could trust the lurch of the boat and spent most of my sailing time pressed as close to the hull as I could), Richard and our instructor took our little boat in and out among the three-masted great ladies.  Even if I was barely peeking over the side of the boat, my heart filled to bursting, like a sail catching the wind.  I felt like a mouse in a teacup, sneaking into the ball.

A Ship In Harbor

East Cottage at Linekin Bay Resort

East Cottage at Linekin Bay Resort

This cozy spot is at Linekin Bay Resort, a magical place in Maine where Richard and I took our last vacation together.  We had come there to sail–Richard had fond memories of a week his family had spent there when he was a kid.  At Linekin Bay, “all-inclusive” means a room with a view, world class dining AND a 16′ sailboat of your own and lessons each day, out on the waters of Booth Bay.  Weather permitting.

Nine years ago this week, I was sitting in one of those spindly chairs doing an ancient jigsaw puzzle atop that table by the window.  Richard took a nap.  The puzzle was missing a few pieces but assembling it under the quaint yellow light from that lamp soothed my cabin fever.  Incessant rain pelted the balsam trees outside.  A cold June fog settled in so thick that we couldn’t see Cabbage Island.

I had read both books that I had packed for a two week trip.  There were no TVs at Linekin.  No pool table or XBox.  The resort offered many activities–sailing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, lobster bakes, hiking…weather permitting.  We had already gone shopping in the nearby towns.  Richard wasn’t usually one for sleeping, but that was about all there was to do.  We didn’t know that his energy was so low because of the leukemia.  I read, he slept.  I did puzzles, he slept.  We ate lobster for lunch and dinner.  He cracked and peeled mine for me because I found it ooky yet delicious.

Linekin Bay Boats

Linekin Bay Boats

The resort’s fleet of twenty sailboats lay moored just past the dock, but invisible in the fog.  I cracked the side window an inch so I could listen to the music of the halyards ringing against the masts.  A halyard is the rope with metal clips that lifts the sail up the mast.  This inland girl had never heard that term until a few days before, but I adored the sound of the word itself and the sound made by the thing, too.  To this day, that sound of wind flapping metal against hollow metal takes me back to Maine.

My puzzle was complete–minus the pieces lost years before–and there were several rainy hours to fill before dinner.  I opened the only book I could find in the guest room, a coffee table book about yachts.  Along with the dizzying pictures of boats slicing through the deep sea, my eyes so hungry for something to read found page after page of quotes about sailing and boats.

One stuck with me, that day as we floated in a fog dream, Richard already fighting an illness we couldn’t name and me anxiously pulling at my anchor.

A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.
John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928

We thought we were safe that day, but we weren’t.  I thought boredom was my greatest challenge that afternoon, but it wasn’t.  This quote came back to me a year later when I was a widow at 36.  Steering my own ship, venturing out from the harbor.  Finding out what I was built for.