You beg, you steal, you borrow

Waiting in the service lounge at the Naples Hyundai dealer, I’m contemplating what a $1,000 radiator might look like. I’m beginning to feel like Della Street, in a swanky restaurant, asking Perry Mason what they could possibly do to a cup of coffee to make it cost a dollar. Stay tuned, Della.

It’s getting hot in the Humble Hyundai. The air conditioning gave up in Pensacola while we were looking at an interesting catamaran with an even more interesting broker. While discussing the fine points of in-boom furlers I mentioned our good friend Danish born Willy (name withheld to protect a checquered past). The broker knew him well because he’d had a sail loft in Pensacola. The last of the hand made old timers. He wasn’t kidding.I spent many hours watching and helping him on hands and kness, on his loft floor. Spellbound spent several years right beside his loft in Fairhope Al.

We used to stay on his schooner on the Magnolia River right out in back of his cantilevered house. Every morning I would take one of his beautiful wooden row boats for a spot of rowing up the Magnolia River, which has the last daily delivery of the US mail by boat in the US. At night he’d regale us with stories about when he was in the French Foreign Legion, and was told that the next evening he would be parachuting into Dien Bien Phu with over 75lbs of ammo and supplies and would probably not survive the jump, (breaking an ankle or a leg was the equivalent of a death sentence) only to be told at the last second that it had been over-run and the French were pulling out. Or beating up a guy trying to sell his daughter into slavery at a Medina in Morocco where he was on guard duty. He laughed about the day his time was up and he was turned out with a fancy gold watch, a new suit, and some gold coins. He had lost all track of time and didn’t know it was his last day.

Willy learned his trade from his father and worked for Ted Hood, eventually supervising the bending on, tuning, and tweeking of Hood sails on Mega yachts. He’d lay down on the deck look up at the mast and order the crew to take up that turnbuckle and loosen whatever. “Ok…dhaats goooodt,” then he’d get up, smile and pack his bags. Definately my most unforgettable character.

Well, miracle of miracles, on our way to Miami the air conditioner decided to cooperate and worked perfectly. Maybe things are looking up.

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