Daily Prompt: The Takeoff

The daily prompt is for the Key Takeaway, but Takeoff, a surf term describing the moment of catching a wave, whether on surf board or SUP, is what you may want your blog to do.

If I could only make one suggestion, take the Blogging 101 class.  For one it will engage you with the community.  Your blog will blossom under the guidance of those who know and you’ll build a community by simply taking the class.  If you’ve already taken Blogging 101 then take Blogging 201 Branding and Growth and blast your blog forward fast.

But if you don’t have time for these classes, which pay hearty dividends right out of the gate, then get involved in events, and comment on those who participate.

And if you don’t have time for events, then spend 10 minutes a day, ten measly minutes, and just write what’s on your mind.  Here’s a video from Blogging 201 by Andrea Badgley, who got way busy with work but found ten minutes a day and it worked.  You can watch it here.

If you don’t have ten minutes a day, then I’m sure you’ll do the best that you can.
Key Takeaway

The Pier

My mom was afraid of the pier. It was tall and could carry us way past the breakers where fishermen tossed their lines far into the sea. From below, surfers yelled at each other and rode crashing waves toward the pilings all crusted with barnacles, star fish and bits of fiberglass from the mistimed maneuver. When the waves hit the piles the pier shook like the ocean had some hold on it. But the pier was sturdy and wide with lean white buildings sporting shiny glass windows where life guards kept watch over their flocks. The bait shop had red licorice on racks and anchovies in tanks. They flashed streaks of silver when we bumped the tub with our hips. The bait man’s tiny furry eyes did not want us messing with his fish.

Past the bait shop my mom would not venture. It was over water and there were hooks on the pavement, old men smoking, and kids casting for the first time. It was deliciously dangerous. But it was years before we could go it alone.

The afternoon beach was tuna sandwiches with sweet pickle, wrapped in crunchy waxed paper, cool crisp grapes and soft juicy plums, plus a bag or two of Fritos. The air was thick with salt spray and Coppertone.

sea breeze motel001
The Mackerel, me, and my brother

Our cabin, the Mackerel, was tropical paradise on the outside.  A patio with hand-made wooden chairs, was shaded by dry palm branches. Inside it was creaky plywood floors, painted some kind of brown, peeling from weather, and always coated with sand. Mother moaned of bugs crawling along the Formica counter, pale blue like her eyes. Hot skillet stains could not be cleaned, but it only bothered her. I saw none of this; only a room with the sound of the ocean, right across the street. Every day held the promise of another day at the beach.

 

SERENDIPITY

Serendipity_sign

Photo Credit: Unknown


 

There are literally millions of bloggers in the blogosphere. Some mysterious entity bears upon us and we choose one, or a few, to read. Perhaps the title, the author’s avatar, or ? I really can’t say for certain but I think it was the acronym, SUP. What the heck is SUP? …click!

I begin to read about some guy and his love for the water. Empathy! I was born on a tiny island. I look at one of his pictures. It looks like Maine. “Are you from Maine?” I ask. “No, but I’ve travelled there”, he replies. He talks about his youth, of surfing and summers by the water. I harken back to the endless fun; the crazy boyhood adventures I had during those early years; getting lost in the fog and being carried out to sea in a dory or jumping off the rocks into a tidal pool at the ‘foxes den’. Glorious fun! Instant affinity! I comment. The author ‘likes’ and follows my blog. I decide to dig deeper and realize even though we were raised worlds apart, there is commonality…lots of it!

In 1973 Tom jumped in his sporty yellow MG convertible and took a road trip. He ended up on Vancouver Island, my home for the past 25 years. If you read his guest blog on my site (Stand Up In Victoria BC) he talks of joyous discovery in Victoria BC. He tells of courtship he witnessed between 2 Kingfishers and the lasting impression it made. Just a few short miles to the North, in Campbell River my band played Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” and Jim Croce’s “Big Bad Leroy Brown” for loggers and working girls. They danced the night away amid another type of courtship.

There’s no telling exactly how many times I may have come close to crossing paths with Tom. I remember a road trip of my own in 1980 where I stayed with a friend in Marin County, just a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. My friend Skip was from New York City and he was the drummer in one of the best bands I ever played in, Ajax Blues Band.  Skip later went on to play for Elvin Bishop and then Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.


I remember visiting Big Sur during that trip. Wait a minute…could that have been a younger, more daring Tom out there soaring across those thunderous waves while I stood enviously watching from the shore? We’ll never know for sure.

From these coincidences…cogent similarities, the seeds of friendship are planted. Tom is a business man; I am a businessman. Tom has travelled the globe; I’ve lived in Europe for a number of years. Tom owns a video production company; I owned a recording studio. There are literally millions of bloggers in the blogosphere…what mysterious entity was the trigger that made each of us go…click? Serendipity!

I am grateful to Tomadaonline for the opportunity to guest-blog this article. Thanx Tom!

Childhood Revisited: Birthday

My mom lay there on a shiny steel table. I was upside down, paralyzed at the ankles as a man in a bright white coat held me with one hand and examined me with one giant brown eye. Water from his eye slipped down his cheek as he breathed the lingering ether from the general anesthesia. He pulled strips of sticky stuff from my warm red body as I squirmed for a look at my mom, lifeless with a tube taped into her mouth. She didn’t move even when I cried. The man had a soothing voice for such a hard handed grip. He talked to a woman in the corner who wore a stiff white uniform and wrote fast on a hard board. A large round black and white clock ticked and tocked right over her head. The man’s attention turned to flashing red and yellow lights as a pulsating beep brought many footsteps. The man with the big eye handed me to the woman in the white uniform who wrapped me into a warm white towel. I heard my mom moan. I closed my eyes against the bright white lights.

But a year later, hanging from my mother’s hands, I laughed ear to ear as the sea rushed over my sandy feet and brought more joy than any toy. My dad was invisible, working day after day, then there all at once, helping me do circus tricks, flying from his belly with my arms out-stretched as he held my legs real tight. He looked at my mom, who gave him a wink. He just smiled.

In the blink of an eye my brother was born. He was in my mom’s lap, bathed in soft white light from the living room window on Painter Street, sucking away on a large pink breast. Cars honked outside, and there were occasional shouts from the college kids across the street. It was quiet inside, except for the shuffling of feet going by my crib, and the creaking floor boards in the corner where my mom rocked my brother to sleep. I closed my eyes and sucked my thumb loudly, wanting what I could not have.

This memory is vivid, and some say I could not possibly remember that far back, but I do and it seems so real. I think it sticks because I almost lost my mom that day; my birthday. It’s always connected with the ocean though, like a salve that smooths all wounds.

Childhood Revisited

Near Solstice Light

File Dec 17, 7 56 09 PMWinter solstice is right around the corner and the late afternoon light is kind of errie.

My cold/flu/virus/tired-to-the-bone “whatever it is” seems to be waning.  So I walked the 3/4 of a mile to the spot where I’d seen one stand up paddle boarder from my window.  He was still there.

The tide was just starting to ebb so some of the wave’s punch was pulled back.  BUT, there were surfers from one end of the beach to the other.  The light kept slipping in and out of the clouds.  One moment it was on the water, then on the hills, then gone.  I sat on a piece of plywood someone had left on the rocks.  I didn’t take the time to anchor it so I teetered and tottered a bit, which makes shooting video with a long lens a challenge.  There was one guy on a fat orange board who caught one wave while I was watching.  Mostly I was happy to smell the salt air and hear the hollow roar of waves crashing.

I got one shot of the scene as the light lit up the Rockaway Headlands.  That was the last of the light, so I headed home.

First Flirt

This is in response to the daily prompt:  Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.

I would hardly call her third rate.  We’ve been married 29 years.  We have two sons and a grand daughter on the way.  We have a full life, we’re still in love.  But it did not start that way.  It almost didn’t start.

I was visiting friends in San Francisco, May 1983, to house warm their new home.  It was a wonderful flat in the Richmond District, with bay windows, wood floors, and a garage.  I was planning to meet a specific woman, Maria, whom our host thought I would enjoy.  She arrived with a female friend in tow.  My former house mate Rob showed up at that moment, perhaps with a drink or two under his belt.

“Tommy, Tommy” (he’s one of maybe three people on the planet who call me Tommy)”This is Donna, this is Donna.  She’s the one I’ve been telling you about.”

Donna had beautiful green eyes, a big smile, and seemed pleased to meet me.  I thought she was beautiful but was quickly bewildered by two women and a matchmaker friend.  I excused myself to get a snack, and caught Donna’s eye on the way down the hall.  She smiled.  I told the hosts I wasn’t feeling well, and left.

Rob called, a few days later, and sang me happy birthday.  He was sure I’d really like Donna, and gave me her phone number.  I held the number for a day or two then gave her a call.  We planned our first date.

Writing prompt:  Third Rate Romance

One More Wave

The day before I got married in 1986, my brother who was also my best man, went surfing with me. It was a glorious day at Waddel Creek, a few miles north of Santa Cruz, CA. The sky was blue, the wind gently offshore. The waves were moderate and well formed. We caught lots.

It didn’t occur to me, when I took a toilet break and had the runs, that I shouldn’t have been in the water to start, and it was clearly time to get out. But there was surf and my favorite surf partner was with me, if only for one short outing. So I continued, as my throat felt more ragged, as my lungs started to warm toward a burn.

This past week, some 29 years later, I was fighting a cold. It’s been nagging since I returned home from our three week east coast swing back in October. The waves here have been huge. Way too big for me, but on Tuesday it settled down. I hit the surf, caught a couple of little waves and felt unusually fatigued. But there were still waves so I stayed out. The tide was receding, the offshore wind increasing, and when I finally decided to quit, it was difficult to paddle in. I managed to find the shore and stumbled to my car.

Today my cold is much worse. My body is begging for rest. But I have one more thing to do before I can take a break.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt: Flawed

Thanksgiving Moon

The moon sets bright as

thin lines march from the crisp horizon

toward surfers playing faster

than tunes sung by a gull.

 

Slipping and slashing

they trade their tears

for a fast paced

backside beach break .

 

A single session sends

hatred under the bridge,

while winds of change

sweep clean a

purely present breath.

 

First find one,

then another.

 

PS.  Inspiration to write c/o Run Towards Each Other by Katherine Riegel