Sunday, September 1, 2013


Early one morning during our last trip, while we were riding at anchor, I was making the first morning coffee and my mind went off on this tangent. I make coffee every morning for Junie and me. It is a ritual that involves getting the coffee, the creamer, the sweetener, brewing the coffee, getting the appropriate mugs, getting out the daily medicines (which, fortunately for us, only involves OTC supplements of our choosing), pouring the coffee and starting the morning. It is the same on the boat as it is at home. It is a small thing but a constant. Something that keeps you from drifting away amid the chaos. It is an anchor.

'Anchor' can have many different definitions but that is one of my favorites. These little psychological anchors can come in many forms. It can be parking in the same parking spot at work everyday. It can be a park bench that eases your mind. A walk by the ocean. It may be some ritual like making the coffee.

There are also people in your life that are 'anchors'. They provide the strength and consistency to keep you in place when the currents threaten to sweep you away. Sometimes through their honesty, sometimes through thoughtfulness, sometimes both.

We just lost our neighbor, Jack, to a long battle with cancer. Jack has been there for us over the years - watching out for us, keeping track of us when we went off on our early ocean adventures, welcoming us home after misadventures. He wanted to know what we were doing. He was always willing to laugh at us but he was always the first to help. Jack was an anchor. For us and for a lot of people. We are going to miss him.

So, as I finished making the coffee that morning and came out of my deep philosophical trance, I made a note to myself to write this down. There is a lot more to 'anchors' than heavy metal things attached to chain. And anything that keeps you from drifting away is a good thing.

Maybe, at some point in the future, I will explore the alternate definition of 'anchor' - something that holds you back and keeps you from moving. I have to be more careful about those early morning tangents.


  1. Good job, Duane.
    Very moving statements.

    I miss Jack too.
    Everyday, I see the 4'Oclock flowers that bloom from the bulb he gave me and they remind me to smile.
    When the next hurricane comes, I will remember how he tirelessly helped us "newbies" put plywood up on our windows.
    I laugh to think of Jack walking with his cane. Not using it, but just carrying it, because they said he couldn't walk without it!

    We love you, Jack & will see you again someday.

    Harriet McRainey Barr

  2. so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs your way!