The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 48
Sam phoned Rich at 10:15 and asked him to come in to his office at 11:00. They met on the first floor, made their way through the noisy press room, and out to the cold parking lot.
They slid into Sam’s cold Mercedes sedan and drove a couple of blocks.
“Are we going far enough for the car to warm-up?” Rich feigned exasperation.
“No,” Sam immediately chimed in.
“I walked seven blocks in the cold to get here and you didn’t give me enough time to warm myself,” Rich said
“You sure like to complain,” Sam said smiling. “Get a car.”
“I’m thinking of starting a union,” Rich said feigning seriousness.
“You’re fired,” Sam smiled
“Then take me back to the office,” Rich said.
“Get out and walk,” Sam said jerking his thumb up.
“I’ll stay,” Rich said. “I was kidding about the union.”
“Would you like to learn how to sail?” Sam said.
“Sure,” Rich said. “Funny, I’ve thought about it.”
“Well I want to show you something,” Sam said.
“Like what?” Rich said.
“It’s something special to me and I think you’ll like it also,” Sam said.
“What?” Rich said.
“Let’s wait and see,” Sam said grinning.
“I hate suspense and surprises,” Rich said.
“Only God has the luxury of living without them,” Sam said. “And even then I think he’s surprised at how inept we mortals are.”
“Is that supposed to make me all the sudden like them?” Rich smiled.
“Of course, I’m your mentor,” Sam said. “You’re supposed to hang on every word I say.”
“Does that mean someday I’ll hang?” Rich said.
Sam smiled and shook his head.
Sam turned the car into a boatyard. He stopped the car next to a sailboat. “Lets get out.“
“You get out. I’m cold.” Rich got out of the car smiling.
Sam sauntered to a sailboat named The Odyssey. He ran his hands and fingers over the hull almost as if reading brail. “It’s a good boat,” he said quietly. “Have you ever sailed?”
“No,” Rich said. “I did spend a few summers on Lake Erie with an uncle. He had a small cabin cruiser.”
“There is nothing like it, you know,” Sam said mesmerized by the boat. “I could teach you how to sail.”
Rich was silent. Sam’s mood was strange, reverential beyond what one might think with a sailboat. Rich was not even certain he was talking to him or anyone for that fact.
“That is, if you want to,” Sam said.
“Sure, I’d like to learn,” Rich said.
“First we have to get her sea-worthy,” Sam said. “She needs paint and varnish and a good cleaning out, some new sails. As soon as we get some warm days can you help me with her?”
“Sure,” Rich said. “I’ll be looking for something to keep me busy.”
“Climb up and take a look at her,” Sam said pointing to a ladder against the hull.
Rich climbed the ladder and popped the fasteners loose on the canvass, from the cockpit and pulled it back. He climbed onboard and ducked into the cabin. Sam followed. It was cozy and quaint. The distinct odor of the cabin brought back fond memories of his days on Lake Erie.
“Some call it musty,” Sam said. “but it is not. It is rich wood, preservatives, and the life blood of this earth - salt water.”
“I accept the challenge,” Rich said. “This is cool.”
“The Odyssey is a 37 foot sloop,” Sam said and pointed to the features in the cabin. “Galley, starboard and chart table with a communications table port. That table can be removable. The benches on each side can be used as bunks. The fore cabin with the louvered door has two bunks with a closet starboard and the head is port.
Sam spoke with delight what was needed to make the vessel seaworthy.
For the next few weeks Sam took every opportunity to talk about The Odyssey. He gave Rich books about sailing. He sent Rich to the boatyard to talk to men who refurbished boats.
Rich’s assignments at the newspaper became more meaningful and the instruction Sam gave were increasingly intense and instructive.