02 January 2012

Taking Our Time: The Tuna and the Tuba

Cocktail time

We’re trying to find the rhythm of our new life.  On the one hand, we need a bit of structure: to make plans, get stuff done.  On the other hand, we need to adapt to, and appreciate, a new pace.  It took a tuna and a tuba, together, to teach us a lesson about time and serendipity.

We still have a Piling Problem that prevents us from parking at my mom’s house.  We are working on getting the offending piling removed, but in the meantime, Joy is docked at the Treasure Cay Marina.  For a few days, we were a too-short dock-walk away from the Tipsy Seagull, but as much as I love the Tipsy, we asked for a more serene spot.  Mike the Marina Manager set us up WAY down the harborfront, past the hotel.  Instead of the Tipsy Seagull at our back door, we now have a view of a quiet vacant lot.  Much better. 

As it turns out, we have inserted ourselves into one of those peaceful places where men of a certain age gather to pass the time.  A few mismatched old lawn chairs are set up under the coconut trees; the guys come and sit for hours.  It feels like we are intruding, but at least we offer entertainment.  They watch as we raise and lower our dinghy, as we zip around in the dinghy or my mom’s golf cart, as we haul groceries on and garbage off the boat… and best of all – the big show – is when we take Joy out for the day and, later, return her to the slip.  Someone’s always there to hand us a line when we come back.  But most of the time, they’re smokin’ and jokin’; or just contemplating the universe, maybe; or drinking a soda.  These gentlemen seem to have all the time in the world.  We just don’t know what to make of it.

The vacant lot is also used as a place for the local brass band to practice.  This group of eight or nine young men (with perhaps five or six instruments to share among them) has been preparing, we guess, for some New Year’s Eve event.  They have been playing a mix of popular music and auld lang syne.  They practice in the dark, so we can’t see them very well, but we hear at least one French horn, a couple of trumpets, a trombone, and, of course, the tuba.  They play without sheet music, and on some songs, they are sloppy and loose – on others, tight and quite impressive.  In addition to the practice sessions near our slip, the boys have been marching up and down the dock and playing at the Tipsy.

Our slip, C26, is on the same dock as the marina’s fish cleaning station.  We hadn’t seen much action there, until one afternoon, just before the New Year, when we heard a couple of small boats approaching, with several people aboard, making a lot of happy-noise.  On that afternoon, as it happens, we were hanging out.  Just like the old men under the coconut trees – only with books in hand, sitting in the salon, with the late afternoon sunlight streaming in the wrap-around windows, and a soft warm breeze blowing through.  We looked up from our reading, bright-eyed and curious about Something Happening.  The old guys abandoned the lawn chairs and the coconut trees to investigate the Something Happening.  It was A Fish!  A 175-pound yellow-fin tuna, to be exact, caught by a guy who said he’d never caught a fish before, in one of those 24 foot fishing boats that C & C Charters rents by the day.

As we enjoyed the hullabaloo that came with The Tuna, we heard The Tuba.  Seriously.  The tuba player, down the dock, was messing around.  All by himself, oom-pah, oom-pah, blowing at random intervals: it made us laugh out loud.  The old guys, waiting under the coconut trees: they know what to do with Tunas and Tubas.  We are awestruck.  How much JOY can there be, in the world?  Lesson learned.

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