The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 105

A Meal With Salty

“I heard you sailed around the world,” Rich said. “I plan on doing the same thing and I was hoping for some advice.”
“Hmm,” Salty said and sipped his drink. “I’ve been around the world, but never sailed it. It’s funny how things get all stretched out of proportion. It’s always been a dream of mine, but it never came about. In 21 I started out and got as far as Barbuda. I was skidding around the Caribbean. I got the grippe and beached my boat there. Some fisherman came to aid me and I told them I had the grippe and stay away. I told them it was better to let me die. I recovered there in the boat on the beach. I was too weak to continue me trip. With the help of four mules and a dozen fisherman we moved the boat to dry land and propped it up. I said I’d return in a year and we’d set her to sea again. I never returned.”
“That’s an incredible adventure,” Rich said. “Why didn’t you go back?”
“Love, family, and old age,” Salty said. “So that’s the extent of my voyage. I wish I could help you some, but from what you told me of how you handled your boat on the way here you’re as good a sailor as I was back then.”
“But not now, right?” Rich said.
“I got it upstairs, but the legs are wobbly and arms tire quickly,” Salty said. “I’m not much good on the water anymore.”
“I plan on heading out this fall,” Rich said.
“Are you going east or west?” Salty said.
“I really haven’t made my mind up yet,” Rich said.
“I planned west,” Salty said. “I wanted to go through the Strait of Magellan early in the voyage. I wanted to get the worst over with and not worry the rest of the way. And I thought the boat might be weaker after a couple of years at sea. I wanted to sail the Strait when both the boat and me were at our best and strongest.”
“What sore of food did you take?” Rusty said.
“I had some canned food,” Salty said. “Take cabbage, apples, and pears, they keep a while. Jerky is good. And don’t forget plenty of water. And take something you like. Don’t forget to take plenty of aspirin.”
“That’s something I never thought about,” Rich said.
“And don’t take any rum,” Salty said. “The temptation is too great to overindulge; you can’t do that at see. You must always be alert.”
“My lips are already numb from the drink,” Rich quipped.
“I’m not saying you shouldn’t take a few beers, but watch it,” Salty cautioned waving his finger.
“What about fishing?” Rish said.
“You will have fish jump on your deck,” Salty said, “Flying fish, they eat good. Bring butter.” Salty rubbed his chin and the stubble on his face sounded like scraping sandpaper. “Protection, you are going to need protection. You ever used a rifle?”
“No,” Rich said, “but I have a revolver.”
“Take it with you, lad,” Salty said. “There’s evil men on the seas; men with no souls or consciences. Get a rifle; one that can shoot a sand flea off a grain of sand at 400 yards. There’s still pirates out there. They look for easy prey. Once you show ’em it ain’t gonna be easy they ease away.”
“That’s something I didn’t even think about,” Rich said.
Salty talked more about sailing and the sea. He liked building and repairing boats. His knowledge was vast and intellectual about how boats should be constructed, maintained, and repaired.
“When you’re out on the water you have to be the master of everything, being a jack won’t do,” Salty said. “You got to think beyond reason. You have to create.”
After an hour and a half Salty said, “Our cups are empty and so is my belly; let me fix you a meal. I never send a man away hungry.”
“I’d like to have a meal with you,” Rich said.
“It’s modest, but filling,” Salty said. He went to the refrigerator and pulled a cooking pot out with a lid on it. “I fixed a vegetable beef soup yesterday and figure it will be perfect today.”
He sat the pot on a gas stove and lit it with a match.
“She’ll be piping hot in five minutes,” Salty said. “We’ll have it with bread and butter. We can finish the pot of coffee with our meal.”
“It’s very good of you,” Rich said.
“It’s a small price for good company,” Salty said.
“And two bottles of rum,” Rich added.
“Yes, by all means,” Salty said.

They dined and talked more.