Friday, January 4, 2019

Hilton Head Island: cleaner; an appointment in Samarra

        Just before noon yesterday we drove to the boat yard where I found a young man named Jackson sanding GANNET’s bottom.  The yard is doing a better job than I would have.
        Naturally I was particularly interested in inspecting the area of the keel repair.  As expected it appears perfect.
        We drove by again in late afternoon.  The yard was locked and from a distance I could not tell if the first coat of paint had been applied.
        Rain is due this afternoon.  Next week looks to be dry.
        Hopefully GANNET will be back in the water Monday or Tuesday.
        I wrote to a friend:   I take pride in routinely in making voyages no one else would, but I confess that I am sort of like a 77 year old kid, were such a creature possible, in being back at sea level and about to make more ocean passages on GANNET.


        I just finished rereading APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA, John O’Hara’s masterful first novel.   Originally published in 1934 and set in 1930, it portrays the seemingly senseless self-destruction of a young man of the country club class in a small Pennsylvania town.  I last read it decades ago, but had not forgotten that the title comes from a passage from Somerset Maugham quoted at the beginning.

        There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the market-place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.  The merchant lent him his horse and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?  That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was  only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.