Beatitude Point # 7

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“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven “. . . Matthew 5:1

He is driven by a strange desire . Someone is calling . It could have been George Harrison – yes , from The Beatles , those ” long-hairs ” this middle age man detests – it could have been George with his guitar , his tune dropped on Dave’s dad from the clouds above Charlevoix that might have drifted like a paper boat from across the Atlantic .

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping

While my guitar gently weeps

I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping

Still my guitar gently weeps .

I don’t know why nobody told you

How to unfold your love

I don’t know how someone controlled you

They bought and sold you .

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning

While my guitar gently weeps

Every mistake , we must surely be learning

Still my guitar gently weeps .

I don’t know how you were diverted

You were perverted too

I don’t know how you were inverted

No one alerted you

I look at you all , see the love there that’s sleeping

While my guitar gently weeps

I look at you all

Still my guitar gently weeps .

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Here lays the port of Charlevoix , named after a French explorer who stayed one night during a harsh storm.

Charlevoix , where fossilized corals from the abyss have been rounded into pebbles by rivers and seas . Here Dave Sr. stands on the dock , stands looking out at the Great Lake , stands tired after driving his car for eight hours , stands in his shiny wing tips , rakish in appearance , a furniture salesman , standing small and often being mistake n as Italian with his dark angled face , large nose , black hair – the “bad-boy” image still imprinted from his younger days . He stands like he once stood searching for planes while a private on a Navy ship during WW2 . Just the previous year in 1971 an air force plane had crashed right here in these waters during a practice bomb run , exploding on impact , nine crew men died .

Where is his son ? …his oldest son named not only after him but also his own father . He knows they have planned to pick up a spare part here for their boat . Who is this son now that he has left home , left the dinner table and the golf course they both love . He worries yet feels pride rising like a singular wave at this boys independence and courage . This is the paradox of having adult children , this is the pain and pleasure , the oldest daughter , the one he doesn’t understand but who owns his heart , just married , pregnant with his first grandchild … his other son a “screw-up” with no job , lazy attitude , sleeping till noon … And then the joy of his ” late-in-life” little angel girl , a gentle resettling .

He stands with a head ache , loud like the sea singing hallelujah , memories annoying his mind , memories of the party the night before the boys left . He stands and hours pass , his gaze from sea to ground and he hangs his head and sighs , a slight tremble in his hands . A tremble like a mistake that won’t leave him troubles him , has troubled him for a long time . He thinks of his wife , still angry with him with a silence as cold as winter rain . Lost in anger , lost like a dropped handkerchief in a dark movie theatre , she has forgotten the attraction of their first meeting , his being the same age as their son is now . They met at the roller rink , her looking like his favorite actress , Lee Remick . He was wild , she was calm . But now she is weeping behind their bedroom door over his bad behavior at last weeks party . The party she so carefully prepared for with an overly clean house , new tablecloth to match the draperies , appetizers ordered from the chef at the country club , good silverware polished and a new dress bought from that boutique downtown that makes her look like she belongs in that new movie , “Diamonds are Forever”. . . and music chosen , a surprise to him that she likes Diana Ross and the Supremes !

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He stands , feeling his heart tumbling , tumbling like dice at the memory . He stands on this grey dock . Is that smoke he spots over the water … is that the devil ? He silently recites the Lords Prayer , the only one he ever says . He sits on the empty beach but the earth is a swelling ocean and he will find himself feeling seasick for many years .

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Showing up three hours late , the guests already eating , the music playing , the girls in mini-skirts chatting like a group of hungry seagulls , he enters . “OK ” , he shouts , throwing his overcoat on the floor , his eyes glazed like a deep ocean shark from the earths belly . The room is silent , the room is embarrassed at this fathers humiliation . He is drunk , he is late for his sons Bon voyage and he is drunk . Many there are unaware of his affliction and the pastor from the church stands now , watching with compassion at this disease of this mans soul – this poverty of spirit . Heard like gale warnings from shore , Dave continues from the center of the room  , ” OK , OK everyone , if any of these boys make a phone call home , anyone of them , do not refuse their calls , do you all here me ” ? He smiles , smiles trying to seem agreeable . ” I don’t know how they are going to cook and eat , they are just boys and don’t know much “!

Buzz’ mom try’s to cover the awkwardness and responds , ” Buzz is a cook “!

“Well Evelyne , how does he know he’s a cook “!

” Because I taught him ” , she answers , dumbfounded .

Slowly the room begins to move at this fathers pain and weariness , the guests flowing with this new energy of kindness preparing to leave with well wishes for everyone . Something has been endangered tonight – some chose not to ponder this , but for those who do , their thoughts are sobering , just having witnessed a capsizing and hoping for the survival of their friends dignity . A sunken ship they pray will sail smooth and free again . This man , this father , this friend of theirs , an anxious character hiding behind a diving mask .

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The words of Jesus and George Harrison merge from the heavens . Someone is calling . ” The age of the universe is about 13.75 billion years . The diameter of the observable universe is estimated at about 28 billion parsecs ( 93 billion light years ) as a reminder , a light year is a unit of length equal to about 6 trillion miles )”

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Chris’ Journal … Thursday , 9-21-1972

I awoke at 9:00 am and proceeded to relieve myself and do what I could for a throbbing head ache , in that order . I returned from the head to find all hands still sacked out so I too returned to that unconscious bliss . Dave woke me up again at 10:30 looking for a key . For lunch and breakfast we ate the hamburger left over from Glen Arbor , the previous nights supper .

It’s  only a buck seventy-five a night here and Dale put down five bucks figuring through Saturday . Dave bought an ice fishing pole in Manistee and a combination perch and coho pole here in Charlevoix . We found a man at the Fairport radio repair shop to install channels 12 and 14 for the locks at his suggestion . The Irish Mariner will take our boat out of the water and the owner can help us with charts , spare water pump , spinnaker block , spinnaker halyard , sea cock and the installation of the sum log . We also purchased the Great Lakes Pilot , a ships log and a shackle for our new anchor . We still haven’t a light list , but no one else seems to have one either . We’ll probably drop a couple hundred here , but then will really be set . We changed our course again . Instead of sailing across Lake Huron , we’re going to take a longer but more beautiful cruise through the Canadian Northern Passage .

Another sailboat bound for Florida has been watching our progress as we have been watching theirs . They were surprised to see us in Charlevoix ahead of them since they had assumed we didn’t sail Wednesday . There were gale warnings out that we didn’t know about since our radio has no working frequencies . This I found very sobering . Thankfully we will have the channels we need when we leave here .

Dave’s dad showed up here today , taking us by surprise and out to a great dinner . He seemed happy with our seemingly self-sufficient responsibility and resourcefulness . We told him Dave was quitting his smoking and that pleased him no end .

Tomorrow at about nine we’ll have the boat out of the water and we plan on working on it all day . In some introspective self-criticism , I decided I could make life in our confined space more livable with a more amiable attitude . So I’ll be working toward that goal from now on . I hope I’ll be successful . We seem to live together well and everyone is fairly easy going . Everyone had a turn at sailing in high winds yesterday and we all have gained in confidence . If all goes well tomorrow , we’ll leave for Mackinaw Saturday . The winds are high at this hour , 10:30 pm , and cool .

Yesterday we sailed through a bridge that opened for us on signal , one long blast and one short . Our horn sounds sick .

Daves dad said Glen V.O. didn’t believe we could make it from Sleeping Bear Bay to Charlevoix in one day . That made us feel great . I guess we will have a very long run Saturday ; around 80 miles . I really think we are doing alright . I’ll have to write home and Mary soon .

We may have a traveling companion in that blue striped sailboat I wrote of earlier . I guess we’ve got a fairly appealing route . Boy , am I beat again . There are a lot of ducks here .

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Dave recieves the following letter at a future port :

” I wrote to you in the other letter about Dad and how sorry he was about that night and hoped he talked with you , so I hope you have forgiven him … keep praying for him and all of us . Love , mom ”

… and folded inside this : ” If it stays this cold (38) tonight , looks like the end of golf for the year . Great you quit smoking . Get a haircut , shave , clean your ears , don’t wear flair pants .   Dad “