AM I THE ONLY ONE…..who gets into sticky situations?

The Man With Two Sailboat
By: Donna Hale Chandler

I was sitting home alone AGAIN.  Watching TV alone AGAIN.  It had been a little over a year since my husband passed away.  Was I always going to be alone?   Did I want to find someone?  I sat there mulling over these questions in my mind. 

As I sat there so deep in thought, my phone rang.  Caller ID told me that it was the ‘older gentleman’ that we’ll call Jack, who lived in a condo unit near me.  When I answered, he asked if I was busy.

Since I serve on our condominium Board of Directors, I assumed that he was calling with a question, or more likely, a complaint about something to do with the Condo Association.

“I would like to talk with you for just a couple of minutes if you’re not tied up.”

“That would be fine.  I’m not busy.”

“Great, I’ll be right up.”

“What?  What did he say”, I asked myself, as I stood there stupidly holding a phone receiver with no one on the other end.  He’s coming here?  I thought he was going to talk to me over the phone. Oh my, oh my, oh my.

Before I could clear my confused mind, there was a knock on the door.  There stood Jack, all dressed up in what looked like a new shirt and brand new suspenders. 

He made himself right at home on my living room sofa and started making small talk.  I sat across the room in my favorite chair hoping that he would soon get to the point of his visit.  That he would spit out his complaint and I would tell him that I would check into it the first thing in the morning.   

But as Jack continued tell me about himself, about losing his wife, and about wanting to find a nice female companion, I realized that he, as my mother would have said, had come a-courting. Realizing that Jack was at least 20 years older than me, I was polite and smiled at all the right times, while wondering how I was going to get out of this without hurting his feelings. I didn’t want to be ‘courted’.   

Then Jack said something that caught my attention.  He was explaining that he had moved from Jensen Beach and that he missed the beach very much.  He went on to tell me that when he lived there, he sailed every day. This turned my thoughts toward a new direction.  Sailing.  I’d never been sailing.  Would that be something I would like to do?  I can’t swim (which will be the subject of another story) so would I be afraid?  Humm, maybe I’d like to go out on a sailboat IF Jack knew what he was doing. There’s only one way to find out, ask, “So Jack, how long have you been sailing?”

“Oh years, it’s something I truly enjoy.  I have two sail boats.”

Now the little hamster in my head is really running on that wheel making the thoughts swirl faster and faster.  “Really, do you still have your boats?”

Jack very proudly said, “Well, of course.  I could never get rid of my sailboats.”

“Now that you don’t live on the water anymore, where do you keep them?”

Jack appeared confused by my question and answered, “Oh, they’re both downstairs on my back patio.  Would you like to go with me sometime?”

Now the poor hamster on the wheel is confused.  He doesn’t know whether to run faster or stop completely. I hardly even realized that he’d asked me to go sailing with him. “On your back patio?”   I don’t know much about sailboats, so I was asking myself, do they fold up?  No, that didn’t seem right.  How big is a sailboat?  I truly had no clue but I knew how big Jack’s patio was and I couldn’t imagine that it was big enough for TWO sailboats. 

Finally, I asked him how big his sailboats were.  And honestly, I don’t remember his answer but the sailboats he had been telling me about were REMOTE CONTROL BOATS.

I didn’t want him to know that I thought he was talking about REAL sailboats.  Just about that time I was feeling relieved that I had dodged a bullet by not jumping at the chance to go ‘sailing’ with Jack. he asked another surprise question.

“Well, I haven’t had dinner yet. Would you like to go to Dale’s Bar-B-Q with me tonight?”

This was my very first Date Question since the passing of my husband, and was such a huge shock to me, that I leaped from my chair and flew into the kitchen.  It was evidently some sort of reflex action because once in the kitchen, I still didn’t know what to do. I hardly even knew how I had gotten there. But I knew I needed A Plan.  So, I opened and closed the oven door, LOUDLY, walked as calmly as I could back to the living room and said, “That’s awfully nice of you to ask Jack, but I have dinner in the oven for my mother and I.  I was just checking it and it’s almost ready.”  I blundered on by saying something about taking it to her and I’d better call her to see if she was ready and …. whatever else I said is a bit of a blur.  I can remember thinking that I needed to shut up and stop rambling but, just couldn’t seem to get control of my mouth.

Jack probably knew that I was lying through my teeth but I had no idea how to handle the situation. I decided that being alone beat sailing any old day.  And that IF I was going to ‘date’ at some point, I’d need to handle it a LOT better than I had on this night. (My dating disasters continued.  I evidently need quite a large ‘learning curve.’)



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