“A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.”
Our first landfall was made, well, a while ago now in Jacksonville, FL. We have family friends there, the Burnetts, who we planned on visiting. Mr. Dick and Mrs. Joan Burnett are high school sweethearts. My father-in-law, Mr. Frank, has known the two since high school. To put this into perspective, Mr. Frank is 73 years old now. It’s not everyday that two people married out of high school stay together for that long. It’s not everyday that people maintain high school friendships into their 70’s either. So yes, the Burnetts are family friends that I was fortunate enough to inherit through marriage.
The morning we turned into the inlet in Jacksonville, FL from a 3.5 day offshore passage, we were exhausted. Having to navigate in the wee hours of the morning so close to shore, and a busy port of call, left us with little more to wish for than a shower and some sleep. Daylight broke while entering the inlet. We curved around the St. Johns River, finding a suitable anchoring situation so we could catch some Z’s. Ren pulled Nila Girl into a small cut in the river where other boats had been anchored for the night. Nila Girl came to a halt, the anchor went down, and it was now shower time.
Our showers on the boat (since we have removed all elements of the head including the toilet, shower, sink, etc.) have been bucket showers. We run a bucket full of hot water, soak some soap and our loofahs in a separate pot with hot water in it and proceed to crouch down in the cockpit “showering” ourselves out of the bucket. Yes, you can feel completely clean after a shower like this. It’s just that you really start to miss out on the wasteful running of hot water down your head…mmmm….feels good just thinking about it!
After the showers we passed out on our respective settee cushions. Since the v-berth was still loaded up with stuff for passage making we were sleeping on the settee cushions, held in with lee-cloths. Nap time was glorious. Starving after having woke up from a 5 hour nap we phoned our good ol buds and made arrangements to be picked up from a marina and brought to their house. Waiting for us at the house were bowls of the most delicious fare you’ve ever seen. Having been just a few days after Thanksgiving, Mrs. Joan had all kinds of leftovers ready to fatten us up with. Let me preface our meal by saying that Mrs. Joan is an excellent and gifted chef. One glance at the walls in her kitchen and you see proof of her cooking skills through prominently displayed newspaper articles and pictures highlighting her knack for cooking, especially wild game. So yes, after a few days on the water we were bellied up to the Burnett’s table eating roasted venison in gravy, dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, and other fare which I can hardly remember since I barely looked down to see what I was eating. It was just scarf, scarf, scarf, seconds, scarf some more.
Eating well wasn’t the only thing we managed to do while visiting our friends. Their son, Tommy came by and drank beers with us. We ran errands for the boat, we did laundry, we checked the internet!! It was a much needed two-day relaxation extravaganza for the Chapmans. Little Oreo passed out on the living room floor and didn’t budge for hours, even when the neighbors came by to visit. Three strange people coming over into a strange house and our exhausted little watch dog failed to announce their presence. Oreo, falling asleep on the job, literally.
Another thing I really want to mention about the Burnetts is Mr. Dick’s insane artistic abilities. He paints, he carves and he is a collector of artifacts. Stepping into their home is taking a stroll back in time. The Native American image is represented in all forms. Mr. Dick has been painting Natives for years. Looking up from the foyer area is a chandelier made of antlers. Looking left from the foyer area is a skull of the extinct stag deer from the British Isles. Man has since wiped the animal out of existence. The Burnetts are lucky enough to have a HUGE piece of history hanging up right in their living room. If the artifacts and paintings do not impress you the carvings will. Mr. Dick has been carving wood for, well, ever. He carves walking sticks, wooden plaques, everything. It is an artform that is becoming lost but is ever impressive. Check out the pictures to the left of a few pieces of his work.
Long two-day story short, we stayed at the Burnett’s. They fed us, the watched football with us, they gave us a huge, soft bed to sleep in and we love them. Can’t wait to see you guys again!!