Thursday, December 2, 2010

Remembering friends

For the past few years Skip and I have been remembering two good friends who died in the days just following Thanksgiving. John Turner was Skip's long time friend and a friend to me for the few years I knew him. John and his wife Jan, who we still count among our close friends, were sailors whose schooner, Eastern Passage, was well known in Newport as well as up and down the inland waterway and into the Bahamas. Jan's shared remembrances of their adventures along the path we're now taking have been a continuing source of information, humor and enthusiasm for us. It's great to have Jan's insight on the places we're going and to hear stories about their experiences in their many years of sailing along this route. John and Jan's dinghy is now our dinghy and we've given this little boat our big-hearted friend's name "John H Turner" to honor the memory of John. It's traveled these waters many times and we're glad to have it come along with us.

The other friend we remember is Sara Jo Matthys, a close friend for many years. Sara was a uniquely creative person whose bright and generous spirit made her the center of a large circle of friends. We used to joke that Sara's creative mind left little room for every day activities, like driving. Our boat name "Saralane" was inspired by a ride on the highway with Sara one evening... not realizing that her lane had merged with the adjoining lane, Sara continued driving along on the shoulder of the highway. It was only after several "Sara, you're driving on the shoulder" comments from the rest of us in the car did she notice this. We dubbed the shoulder (or wherever else she decided was OK to drive) "the Sara lane" and this eventually came to mean the happy way Sara moved through her life. Head sometimes in the clouds, mind off on some creative tangent but with her friends always there to help keep her grounded. This year of sailing feels like that to us - we're off on a bit of a tangent and aren't exactly sure where we're going, but we're still connected to all that matters by our friends and family.


live, laugh, love, Linda said...

I finally had a chance to read through all your entries. I'm hooked!!!! It's so great that you and Skip are doing this (Hi Skip!) adventure. I'm pretty jealous and yes, I realize that it's not easy, but what an experience and what memories you're creating!!! All my love, stay safe and I'm anxiously awaiting the next entry! :) I'll e-mail with more of what's up later.

Cindy Barnard said...

Oy.....this post did me right in. Wept many tears for John who I barely knew but KNEW through Skip - and Sara who I did not know at all but KNEW through Maddie. Two stellar human beings who left far too soon-- but you have found beautiful ways to keep their memories very much alive. Way to go.
Sail on John and Sara. And pass the tissues, please.

Dan Barnard said...

Madeline, you are such a wonderful writer. Your tribute to John and Sara brought tears to my eyes as well. I knew the story behind Saralane but now you have given me the visual to go with it. I remember John (and Jan)as key participants in my first ever offshore adventure with Skip. Watching John scamper up the mast to untangle something made me think he was part monkey. Thanks for bringing all that wonderful stuff back.

Kim said...

Maddie and Skip - this is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.