SpinSheet Magazine September 2020

Page 55

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Of Books, Boats, and Men By John Herlig

Lots of sailors are dreamers, and so are the characters in their beloved books.


have a copy of Don Quixote that is dog eared and yellowed throughout its 1023 pages. There are no fewer than four bookmarks in it—a proper glossy cardstock one that says “Books for every age and Interest!” and another three that are receipts or scraps of paper that have been conscripted, perhaps, for marking an important passage worthy of later contemplation by the book’s previous owner. “Do you read? You look like a reader.” This came to me from a calm yet teary-eyed woman named Tiffany who was standing on the West Palm Beach city docks next to Ave del Mar, my 1967 Rawson 30 cutter. I had just introduced myself, not really sure why

there were so many people coming and going from the somewhat disheveled looking sailing vessel Capricious that was docked right in front of me. I came to learn that Capricious had belonged to Tiffany’s father, Richard, who had passed away just a few days prior from a particularly nasty skin condition that he may or may not have attended to as diligently as was required. Tiffany had driven down from North Carolina to tend to his affairs, all of which seemed to be tied up in—or on—the boat. “He has so many books,” she continued. “I would love it if you would look through them and see if you’d be interested in any.” I stepped down onto the dock, walked to Capricious,

and pulled myself up onto her decks. A long line of books filled the cockpit, their cracked spines curling upwards in the fading sunshine. I looked through the collection. Most were crime novels of the sort that I don’t often read, but there, at the end of the row, was Miguel Cervantes’s "Don Quixote," thick and worn. I clutched it, long enamored with the stories of the great hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha but not ever having owned a copy of the book for myself. Standing in the cockpit, book in hand, I took a moment and looked around at Capricious. Chaos covered her like a fog. A bicycle leaning on the port lifeline was more rust than ##Capricious in West


##Books of fantasy and adventure color our days and influence our perspectives.

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