“First Thought, Best Thought”

Recently, I’ve noticed a renewed interest in the beat poets of the 1950s. Namely, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady. The interest is not so much about their messages as it is about the spoken word delivered with or without music accompaniment. In other words, the revival of poetry readings popular in the 1960s.

The allure of these readings is the style of the writing. When the written word is spoken, it has a rhythmic quality. Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg described the style as “First thought, best thought.” In literary terms, the style is referred to as stream of consciousness.

I explored this narrative technique in a writing workshop. The subject matter of my exercise doesn’t even come close to the contemplative musings of the Beat poets. Or any other poet for that matter. It’s a simple stream of thought based on the given prompt which was someone infatuated with someone else at an audition for the leading lady role in local theater production.

Oh, my gosh, I’m so nervous; remember, he has no idea how I feel about him, he’ll never think I’m expressing my feelings for him so relax and get a grip, I need to channel my feelings into the character, if I don’t, I won’t get the part and won’t get the chance to hang out with him during rehearsals; he’ll give it to his regular leading lady, Janice, she’s been in the lead role for the past two productions when he’s been the director, maybe there’s something going on between them, but they don’t seem flirty when they are together, all business when they interact, and I’ve never seen them together outside of the theater, she’s never joined us after rehearsals or any other time we get together at the Irish Cue; where I fell head over heels for him, attracted by his charisma, he was so charming when we talked, especially when we talked about theater, remember he invited me to the audition for this production, I hope he doesn’t think I’ll sleep with him to get the part; That’s it, Janice is sleeping with him; that’s why she always get the lead roles; Oh my gosh, I have to stop psyching myself out about this audition.

The fun part of this technique is it is actually the internal voice in your mind. A friend once made a comment about how she maintains her dedication to daily exercise. She said she stops talking to herself about it. This perspective resonated with me because I’m constantly talking to myself. Hence the name of my blog, Idle Ramblings. Internal dialogue with myself is a part of everyday life from mental to-do lists to developing strategies to execute said list.

On the creative side, I find myself contemplating story ideas on a regular basis. These thoughts are usually prompted by various accounts I follow on social media. My mind drifts off pondering the what-if scenarios, which happens to be another creative writing drill. To continue the stream of consciousness exercise, I’m going to dictate my thoughts to see what comes out of them. Come back soon to see the results.

Copy Editors

 The following is a writing assignment in my latest class, Copyediting Certification.

What exactly does a copyeditor do? Many people think a copyeditor and a proofreader are synonymous. Both roles involve correcting grammatical and spelling errors. Thus, they both require a comprehensive understanding of the English language and its usage. However, a copyeditor’s role encompasses much more. 

Let’s start by exploring the publishing process. In general, there are three steps to publishing a novel: the writer and editor make changes to the raw manuscript; the copyeditor makes sure the manuscript is free of grammatical errors, is easy to read, and conforms to the publisher’s style; the proofreader performs quality control to ensure the manuscript is formatted correctly and free of errors. Before going to print, a reader with a fresh perspective may give the manuscript one last quality check.

Now let’s take a closer look at the role of a copyeditor. First, a copyeditor is responsible for performing the initial check for any grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. Next, a copyeditor fact-checks to make sure everything is accurate and correct. The spelling of names, places, and organizations are double-checked as well as the accuracy of facts, dates, and statistics. Finally, a copyeditor fixes any problems with style and tone to ensure the prose flows and no awkward sentences.

Like other professions, both hard and soft skills are necessary to be a successful copyeditor. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communications,  or other related field. Copyeditors are passionate about the English language and are often skilled writers themselves. They must have a keen eye and be detail orientated. Good communication and interpersonal skills are needed since copyeditors interact with both the writers and editors too. Exchanges with both of them must be civil and courteous.

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Addendum

Included in my Mom’s log were pages with the MAFOR weather forecast. They were one of my favorite things about the boat. I loved to watch my Mom get the forecast and watch her use shorthand, the ancient art of taking dictation. My Mom was awesome at shorthand!  It didn’t make it into her log, but that’s how she took the forecast. Then she must have translated and written it out in her notebook.

Wednesday, July 6 forecast, page 1
Wednesday, July 6, page 2
Thursday, July 7

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Part 4 (final)

I recently found my Mom’s logs from our family vacations on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

Our 1966 trip was to the North Channel in Ontario, Canada. Part 4 includes days 10-15, and it is the last installment for this trip. We spent many summers cruising the area, and I have fond memories of this time and place.

SHIP’S LOG
Monday, July 11 (day 10)
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Awoke about 4:30 am to the hum of the mosquitoes. About 5:30, there was a thunderstorm brewing to the north of us but it passed us by. Finally got up about 8:00 am. Did a little casting by the lily pads but didn’t get a thing. Had breakfast and prepared to get under way for Killarney. Saw the tail end of a forest fire on Prince Edward Island as we were going out. Got to Killarney and saw the Ex Dividend and Bewitched tied up to the Killarney Lodge dock. Pulled into the Sportsman’s Inn.

Good ole Deacon was there. Tied up, and even before we completed the operation, the girls had got off and run to pet Deacon. He sure has gotten old. He can hardly walk this year, and if he lasts another, it will be a miracle. The girls found another friend though. A basset hound name O-to-O. He sure is a funny one.

LEFT: Good ole’ Deacon
RIGHT: My Dad and O-to-O, the basset hound
My sister and me with the Killarney dogs, Deacon and O-to-O, the basset hound

Walked up to our famous little store Jackman’s, the only one in town. They didn’t have very much in the way of food but we got a few things. Got some steak for dinner, and for some reason, Dad (my Grandpa) has a phobia about the food in this place and sure enough he found fault with the steak. Spent a nice quiet evening. Talked quite a while with some people from Charlevoix. He owns the furniture store and his name is Hess. Nick had his birthday without a cake again.

Woke up this morning very warm. It is going to be a very hot day. Had a little excitement this morning. There was a sailboat in distress off Badgeley Island on Maxwell Point. He went on the wrong side of the red spar and hit a shoal. He was taking water on rapidly so he decided to beach it. A couple of boats from here went out to help bail water with buckets until we could locate the gasoline (fueled water) pump. It should have only taken them about 10 minutes to get there but they missed them completely and were on the other side of the island. Had to back track, and after about an hour, they finally located them. The man and his wife were holding their own with their pails, but they were getting mighty tired. The pump finally reached them, but they had trouble starting at but finally got it started and they were able to get enough water out to take it in for repairs.

SHIP’S LOG
Tuesday, July 12 (day 11)
Woke up this morning very warm. It is going to be a very hot day. Had a little excitement this morning. There was a sailboat in distress off Badgeley Island on Maxwell Point. He went on the wrong side of the red spar and hit a shoal. He was taking water on rapidly so he decided to beach it. A couple of boats from here went out to help bail water with buckets until we could locate the gasoline (fueled water) pump. It should have only taken them about 10 minutes to get there but they missed them completely and were on the other side of the island. Had to back track, and after about an hour, they finally located them. The man and his wife were holding their own with their pails, but they were getting mighty tired. The pump finally reached them, but they had trouble starting at but finally got it started and they were able to get enough water out to take it in for repairs.

Finally had breakfast about 11:00 am, and the girls went swimming off the dock with life jackets on. Even Nick decided it would be a good idea. I passed up and wash my hair instead. Spend the day reading Hawaii and baking in the sun. Quite a few boats came in, and by late afternoon, they were all filled up. Had our fish dinner tonight and boy was it good especially my big pike. Then decided to go into the bar for a drink. The girls were already up in the TV room watching television.

LEFT: Docks at Killarney’s Sportsman Inn
RIGHT: The big one that didn’t get away from Collins Inlet

SHIP’S LOG
Wednesday, July 13 (day 12)
Got up a little later today. Again the sun was beating down very hot. Thank goodness for the cool breeze. Decided to leave Killarney today and start to head back by way of the Whalesback. Had breakfast and left about 10:30 am. Reached Little Current and bought a few things we needed. Decided to poke our nose into Oak Bay to see what it was like. Water got quite rough just before we got into the Whalesback. It was a little rough to pick up the spars because of the direction of the sun and the waves. Reached the entrance to Oak Bay right on the money. Was surprised to see five other boats moored. Anchored near the mouth of the River. Got settled in and went swimming. Nick went fishing to try out his new Rapala lure. Brought back a nice bass. He and Liz went out again and brought back a pike and a couple of bass. I fished off the rocks but didn’t catch a thing. All I saw was a big fat turtle. Had the rest of our pike and bass from Collins Inlet for dinner. Went to bed fairly early because everyone was pretty tired.

SHIP’S LOG
Thursday, July 14 (day 13)
The wind blew in all directions last night and it cooled down considerably from yesterday. This was the first time we started out the day in long pants. Liz and Nick went out trolling a little before breakfast but didn’t get anything. It was my turn next.

Trolled along the north shore and into a large bay. Got a big small mouth bass in there. Went all the way down near the end where we found another fairly large bay with an old house in one corner. Trolled near the weed bed and got a snag. Nick thought he had one too but it turned out to be a whopper. We never saw it though because it took a dive under the dinghy and took his lure, lead shot and all. Boy was he ever mad. We decided to try a couple more passes and had one but lost it. Got a small one and threw it back and finally landed a large one quite unexpected. It was caught on some weeds and when Nick pulled the line to break it loose, there was a pike on the end of it. Made a few more passes but nothing. Started back down toward the boat, and at the point of one bay near a large rock, Nick had a strike. He thought he had had a good size bass but it turned out to be a good size pike. Trolled back to the boat and had some lunch.

I was all fished out so Liz took my place while I did a little reading in swimming with Suzie. She isn’t afraid to let go of the ladder and is getting quite bold in jumping off from the second step. Nick and Liz came back empty-handed. Before he got even out of the boat, he decided to take the girls to see the Indian farm. They came back elated with the fact they had horses on their farm. Got the weather and tried to get the Moroda (another boat?) again with no luck. Nick took the girls and all the fish on shore to clean them. Had dinner and took the dogs on shore for awhile until the mosquitos landed and headed back like lightning for the boat. Lifted the dinghy and made ready to leave early tomorrow morning.

SHIP’S LOG
Friday, July 15 (day 14)
Left Oak Harbor about 8 o’clock after a light breakfast of cereal. Headed for the Whalesback. Water was smooth. Had a little difficulty picking up Little Detroit but managed to find the marker as we got nearer. Met the McCreadys and another boat from Flint as we were coming out of the Whalesback. Headed for Meldrum Bay and the water was fairly smooth all the way. Got into Meldrum, had lunch and went up to see the peacock (no picture) at Tom’s Wildlife Sanctuary. Got grand tour. Shopped at Ivan Trick store this time. He has a lot more than the little one near the docks. Decided to spend the night here because the wind was picking up and getting into Pilot Cove would be a job. Nick’s cold also came on with vigor and he went to bed with a couple of aspirins. Spend a nice quiet evening. The Normac came back from Blind River and a couple of other small boats came in. Water in the bay flattened out like a pancake.

SHIP’S LOG
Saturday, July 16 (day 15)
Got up about 7:00 am and left Meldrum Bay about 8:20 am for Cheboygan. Still very calm in the harbor.

This installment concludes our family trip to The North Channel in 1966. I want to thank my Mom for taking the time to document our trips. Although a few years are missing, there are other trips to share coming soon. Trips to other parts of the North Channel and Lake Superior.

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Part 3

I recently found my Mom’s logs from our family vacations on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

Our 1966 trip was to the North Channel in Ontario, Canada. Part 3 is days 7-9. We spent many summers cruising the area, and I have fond memories of this time and place.

SHIP’S LOG:
Friday, July 8 (day 7)

Got up early again and headed for Little Current about 7:00 am. Had a real nice ride. Pulled up to the dock about 9:00 and we set off for Pickey’s store and some more supplies. Brought about $11.00 worth and on to the gift store for souvenirs. Nick met a doctor from Gaylord who knew Pid (family friend) real well. He had even bought Pid’s house and cottage in Gaylord.

Set off shortly after noon for Collins Inlet. Went through Killarney which hasn’t changed a bit and out into the bay and the beginning of Collins Inlet. Weather holding, but wind picking up. Meet 5 cruisers coming out of the inlet. Cruised a little way down and decided to trawl a ways. Not even a strike for 3 or 4 miles. Came to Mill Lake but decided to go to the end to see what it was like. Entered Beaverstone Bay but decided to turn around because the wind was whipping up the bay pretty good. Tied up to some rocks just passed the Russian settlement and Nick and Liz took the dinghy back to the old barn to look for ruins. Found nothing so we decided to head back toward the fishing camp near the Rock of Gibraltar. Asked the boss (I have no clue who “the boss” is) if we could tie up to his dock and he said okay. Had some dinner and Nick and I went across the other side near the weed beds for pike. Didn’t catch any pike but I caught a huge Calico bass and of big small mouth bass. Decided to call it quits around 9:30 because we were being carried away by the mosquitoes. We even had a few of the dive bombers (mosquitos that buzz your ears when sleeping) around after we went to bed.

NOTE: I have search far and wide to find more information about the fishing camp, the Russian settlement and the Rock of Gibraltar. To date, I have found nothing, but my quest will continue!

LEFT: Seascape moored at the fish camp dock
RIGHT: Seascape at the outer dock

SHIP’S LOG
Saturday, July 9 (day 8)

Slept in a little this morning- 8:00 am. As soon as Grandpa stirred, Liz was up and ready to go fishing Suzie got into the act too so Grandpa and the girls headed for the fishing camp to rent a bigger boat. By the time they got back, the rest of us were up and ready for breakfast. Took time for food today and had bacon, eggs and good fried toast. Suzie decided she would rather wash dishes than fish so Nick took her place. Suzie did the dishes with Grandma’s help and then we walked up the hill and into the fishing camp and talked with the owner about the old town of Collins.

The original town stood where the fishing camp was and some of the buildings were the original ones. He told me how to get back to the lake so Suzie, Elmer and I set off along the path he indicated. Got back there with (not) too much trouble. Quite a big lake from what I could see. Took a few pictures and headed back.

LEFT: Some of the abandoned buildings
RIGHT: Elmer investigating the remains from the fire
LEFT: The logging lake
RIGHT: A long view of the logging lake and the dam
Close up views of the dam at the logging lake. This little waterfall was a great source of family fun.

The fisherman came back empty handed a little later. All Nick caught with a couple of bass which he threw back.

Had a little lunch and Liz, Nick, Suzie and I went back to the lake to see what we could catch. Nick caught a little catch. Headed back for the boat but Liz and I decided to take a side road up to a deserted house. It was an old tree house, an old wagon, sled, plow and logging sled. Walked past and on up the road and we found an old barn where they must have repaired the equipment because we found a bench and a lot of screw. Headed up to the road and we found the old dam with a couple of waterfalls. Decided to walk across and see what was on the other side. Climbed up the hill and the lake goes way back and there is a stream or river off a bay a good ways back. Came back across the falls again and back down to the main road. Decided to see where it went. Walked a good half a mile and all we saw was rubbish piles in a family of chipmunks. Came back to the boat just in time for steak dinner.

LEFT: The old treehouse and what looks to be part of my shoulder
RIGHT: My 5 year-old self in front of the plow
LEFT: The original barn in the old town of Collins
RIGHT: The original boarding house in Collins

Weather is brewing up something. Things look a little wild down the inlet. Had a few sprinkles as we were trying to pop our Jiffy Pop but that was all. Nick and I decided to make use of our rented boat and we went trolling for pike. Got all the way down to the entrance of Beaverton Bay with only one small bite. Headed back because the sky looked like we were in for a good storm. Wind picked up all the time. Just about reached the boat and you wouldn’t know it the motor ran out of gas. What a job to get the few yards back to the boat. Made it through in started to batten down for a good blow. Had a little lightning, no thunder, a little bit of rain but lots and lots of wind. In for a rough night.

SHIP’S LOG
Sunday, July 10 (day 9)
Woke up this morning to a bright blue sky, and our friend, the wind. Still blowing. Had breakfast and decided to take everyone back to see the waterfalls. Sun terrifically hot. Tramped all over the falls and took a lot of pictures. Was very hot so I decided to take a shower. What a refreshing feeling. Everyone decided to get into the act so we all had a good bath. Too bad someone didn’t think to bring the soap. Scoured the rocks for stones with garnet or silver in them. Found a huge boulder with quite a silver vein running through it. Liz spent the better part of an hour trying to chip out a piece. (And gashed her wrist, leaving a scar she had her entire life.) Did pick up some beauties though.

LEFT: My Dad taking a shower with me looking on
RIGHT: My Dad and me after our showers
LEFT: Grandpa and Grandma cooling their feet in the water as Dad looks on
RIGHT: A upper blurring picture of the vein of silver my sister was determined to get a piece. All she got was a massive gash on her arm and a lifelong scar as evidence of her determination

Came back to the boat and had lunch. Everyone tried to rest a little but the waves were coming in a little bigger as the day progressed. Nick decided to try and get the anchor out a little ways and pull the bow off so we could start up the boat and try and find a smoother spot. Everything went well and we started down towards Beaverton Bay. Found a nice quiet place just around the bend where it takes a sharp curve. Anchored off some lily pads and started to fish. Fish for quite awhile and the girls and Nick were swimming. Almost decided to stop when I thought I had a snag but when it went under the boat, I knew I had a fish. Nick rush up to the bow with the net and sure enough it was a huge pike. With trying to land it and the flies biting, boy we had a time but Nick netted him just fine. We estimated that it weighed about 5 pounds.

LEFT: My Mom’s pike on the stringer in the water
RIGHT: The one that didn’t get away on the back deck of the boat
LEFT: My Mom proudly posing with her big catch
RIGHT: My big sister and me with my Mom and her pike

After that, there was a real scurry for yellow flatfish and three poles started casting off the stern. On the second cast, Nick hooked one but just as Dad (my Grandpa) was getting the net ready, it took a dive and believe it or not the snap where the hook goes broke in two and away went Nik’s pike with a lovely yellow lure lodge someplace in him. Nick decided to do some trolling so I went with him. Trolled all the way down into Beaverton Bay with only one strike. As it neared dusk, the mosquitoes took over and we were forced to make tracks for the boat, trailing a horde of hungry ones with us.

Got back in the nick of time and Mom (my Grandma) was cooking pork sausages and baked beans. While eating we heard a loud hum which we couldn’t figure out for a while. It sounded like the inside of a bee hive. Then we noticed the door and windows. Swarms of mosquitoes Chase the dirty critters half the night before we could get any sleep.

The story continues with the fourth and final installment of ‘On Board Seascape 1966‘.

Writing Styles

This week, I’m posting some of my writing. The following paragraphs are from an exercise for a class I’m taking. Writing style is the voice an author uses in a piece to tell the story. There are many different styles. The following pieces are examples of deadpan (The Catch) and stream of consciousness (The Audition).

THE CATCH
With the hook set, I knew I had a good catch from the fight the fish put up, and it took close to an hour to land it. About the same time it took me to land Julie, which should have been a clue about the tenure of our relationship. But she was a fine specimen, just like my tournament catch. She bolstered my standing in my long rivalry with my bro, Joe. Like Julie, my catch was going catapult me to the top of the leaderboard. At least, that’s what I thought. Before I held it in my hands. Once I got the catch onboard, I knew it was not trophy material. Like Julie, it looked beautiful, but lacked the substance to elevate my status. Like Julie, I released my catch and moved on to my next conquest, confident I would land the catch of my life to beat Joe in the tournament. (word count: 156)

THE AUDITION
Oh, my gosh, I’m so nervous; remember, he has no idea how I feel about him, he’ll never think I’m expressing my feelings for him so relax and get a grip, I need to channel my feelings into the character, if I don’t, I won’t get the part and won’t get the chance to hang out with him during rehearsals; he’ll give it to his regular leading lady, Janice, she’s been in the lead role for the past two productions when he’s been the director, maybe there’s something going on between them, but they don’t seem flirty when they are together, all business when they interact, and I’ve never seen them together outside of the theater, she’s never joined us after rehearsals or any other time we get together at the Irish Cue; where I fell head-over-heels for him, attracted by his charisma, he was so charming when we talked, especially when we talked about theater, remember he invited me to the audition for this production, I hope he doesn’t think I’ll sleep with him to get the part; Oh my gosh, I have to stop psyching myself out about this audition. (word count:192)

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Part 2

Introduction
I recently found my Mom’s logs from our family vacations on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only corrected spelling, added punctuation or added other notes about my recollection of events or additional information about the story. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained.

Our 1966 trip was to the North Channel in Ontario, Canada. Part 2 is days 4-6. We spent many summers cruising the area, and I have fond memories of this time and place.

SHIP’S LOG
Tuesday, July 5 (day 4)
Got up about 8:00 am. Weather over cast and a little bit windy. Weather report didn’t look too bad. Grabbed a Cup of coffee and rounded up the girls. They met Arnold on shore and were following him around. The people from Lea Lee Lynn were going to Drummond Island and wanted to follow us. Pulled out of the harbor about 10:00. Weather still overcast and drizzling. Seas running about 3 feet outside the harbor. Nick (my Dad) put engines up to 2500 rpm and we were riding pretty good. As we approached St. Martin’s Reef lighthouse, our port engine started acting up. Seas running a little bigger now, naturally. Engine couldn’t seem to get enough gas. Finally it quit all together, and then did we start to rock and roll. I took the wheel and tried heading into waves running four to five feet and sometimes about six feet, while Nick got down to take a look. Tried just about everything but no dice. Suzie (my 5-year-old self) was scared to death and made no bones about hollering it out (I watched a movie about the Titanic over the winter with my Dad, and I knew exactly what happened to all of those people. They died! And in my mind, we were going to die, too!). Elmer (family pet; male dachshund) also had a wide-eyed look. Dad took him and Girlie (family pet; female dachshund) into the cabin and rode it out.

Decided all we could do was go into Detour on one engine and hope to fix it there. I glad nobody on board had weak stomachs because along with the motor and debris on deck, there would have been more mess. Reached Detour about noon and unloaded a crew that was really happy to be on solid ground especially Elmer and Suzie. Nick took the fuel pump off and found a couple of crystals plugging up the hole. Flushed them out, gassed up and we were in business again.

The weather in the meantime had gotten very overcast with the misting rain, but by the time we finished lunch and ready to pull out the clouds were gone and we were again had sunshine.

Lea Lee Lynn pulled in right after us in stayed until the weather had cleared. Then they headed for the yacht harbor on Drummond island. We took off for Pilot Cove on the eastern side of Drummond Island and reach there about 5 or 5:30. Much to our surprise we found three boats anchored offshore. Pulled in next to them and try to settle down. Nick and girls went fishing but Suzie was back in a flash as usual. Had dinner and watched a little television. Bedtime fairly early especially after the day we had gone through.

LEFT: Seascape anchored with her bow onshore. There was a drop off about 3-4 feet from shore. Plenty of depth for her props.
RIGHT: My sister and me in front of the beaver house. They were not happy about visitors and swam around the cove slapping their tails on the water.

SHIP’S LOG
Wednesday, July 6 (day 5)
The day started about the same time as usual 8:00 am, about an hour earlier than I wished for. The night was spent very restless due to my bed being Grand Central Station. Suzie was her usual squirmy self, and Girlie was restless as the natives. All she kept doing was scratching herself and the side of the boat, and along about dawn, Elmer decided to change beds and in and on top of me he came. Like I said Grand Central Station.

LEFT: Elmer. He lived at another house in our neighborhood. We adopted him because he kept escaping from his house to come see his girlfriend, Girlie at our house.
RIGHT: My Dad, the captain with Elmer and Girlie, who’s real name was Schnoppsy. But we called her “Girlie” becausemy sister and I couldn’t pronounce her real name.

The weather looks clear and a little breezy coming from the southwest. But by the time we had a cup of coffee, the wind changed directions, and the clouds came and here we are marooned again. Nick, the great fisher is on shore along with Dad, the fire builder and Susie. Liz is in the dinghy running up and down creating waves. By the look of things we’ll be here another night.

Just putts around all day. Went beachcombing down the shore and found a lot of driftwood. Picked up an armful and decided I better head back when I turned and saw Girlie. Ended up carrying her and the driftwood back to the boat.

Spent a quiet evening and went to bed early. A boat full of fishermen came in and decided to spend the night. That left all four boats a little uneasy. The night got quite cool with a very bright moon and zillions of stars.

SHIP’S LOG
Thursday, July 7 (day 6)
Got up at 6:30 am, and along with all 3 other boats, prepared to lift anchor for other parts. Water in the bay outside Pilot Cove was smooth as for a change. Everything stowed away by 7:15 and we headed for the Meldrum Bay for ice, water and gas. Our ice was completely gone by this time. The yachts Bewitched from Rochester New York and Ex Dividend from Grosse Pointe followed. As we neared the mouth of the bay picked up 2 more coming from the opposite way. I’ll bet we looked like the Navy fleet coming in.

Ivan Trick’s little black truck came flying down the dirt road as we neared the docks. He sure was plenty busy, so busy in fact that he ran out of gasoline credit card blanks so we’ll have to see him on the way back. He sure is a trusting soul.

LEFT: My sister (top row, second kid) and me (bottom row left) with our friends from Pilot Cove.
RIGHT: The docks at Meldrum Bay. The large boat at the end of the dock is the Normac.

As we left Meldrum Bay, the wind picked up a little but we had a little luck in that we had a following sea. Suzie fell asleep as usual after a few minutes of riding on the bow. It was so nice that even Grandma decided to give it a try. After a while, things got a little boring just sitting so Liz and I decided to take off our shoes and dangle our feet over the side in the waves. We had to wait a while for some big ones but when they came, we sure got it. Sometimes it would splash right on the deck. After a while Suzie joined us and were they ever having fun. Seas were running about six feet at times. After about thirty miles of wave crashing, we decided things were getting a little rough and all three of us were slightly drenched. Batten down the hatch and rode the rest of the way in the cockpit. Suzie didn’t seem to mind the waves today.

As we neared Crocker Island, we had to turn broadside to them and things got a little rocky. Picking up the reefs without any trouble and entered Crocker Bay around 3:00 in the afternoon. Tied the anchor to a tree and dropped a second off the stern. It was a pretty good way to tie up except getting back on, it was a king size giant step. All dogs and girls were put on shore and us folks tried our best to have a liquid refreshment in peace. Didn’t quite make it as usual.

LEFT: The view from Crocker Island
RIGHT: My Dad, sister and me on the rocks where the boat was moored.

Girls decided to go swimming. There was a little sandy spot right next to the bow of the boat. And I hadn’t taken any movies. I thought this would be a very good time. Nick went in for a swim so I wasn’t going to be left out so in I went. Water was just wonderful. Kept losing my rollers so I have straight hair again.

Nick saw a couple of fish under the boat so in went the line. Caught a nice rock bass. On shore again but this time the worms and fishing poles went too. Suzie still has a little to learn about rocks. You can’t stop when you want to. (I have no recollection of what happened so it must not have been too awful). Things were fine until I got a snag and lost my lure. Back on board again. Reset my line and off again. With all of the effort I put into it, I didn’t even get a strike. Nick caught a nice one but Elmer decided he wanted to have it for supper. Caught him just in time. He already had it tucked nicely away in his mouth. By that time food smells were coming from the boat so onward the tribe for supper. Nick and I decided to troll around in the dinghy after supper. Didn’t get a thing.

Got to bed early but had to get up again because the wind change and the boat was banging up against the rocks. Anchored out in the Bay instead and had a little rocking and rolling the rest of the night.

The story continues in Parts 3-4.

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Part 1

Introduction
I recently found my Mom’s logs from our family vacations on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named ‘Seascape’. The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only corrected spelling, added punctuation or added other notes about my recollection of events or additional information about the story. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained.

Our 1966 trip was to the North Channel in Ontario, Canada. Part 1 is days 1-3. We spent many summers cruising the area, and I have fond memories of this time and place.

SHIP’S LOG
Saturday, July 2 (day 1)
Arrived in Indian Rivers 5:15 am. Traveled all night because of the weather. Traffic was pretty heavy all the way much to our surprise. Mom and Dad (my Grandpa & Grandma) arrived about 10:30 am. They also had a lot of traffic. Weather very hot, about 94 degrees and humid as can be. Stowed away all of our supplies and gear and left the marina for Mullet Creek in Mullet Lake about 3:30 pm. Swam at Mullet Creek until earlier evening. We were going to have a wiener roast, but the flies and mosquitos were horrible. Had stuffed cabbage instead and watch TV. Early to bed for everyone.

The moon came up about 9:30; big, red and full. Tried to have a quiet cup of coffee after everyone was bedded down, but the fish flies refused to cooperate. Decided to call it a day.

SHIP’S LOG
Sunday, July 3 (day 2)
Everyone up early – 7:00 am. Again, the sun was very hot and our friends, the flies were hungry so you couldn’t sit on deck. Had to return to the marina because yesterday while swimming, Nick (my Dad & captain) checked the props and discovered a chunk missing out of the starboard prop.

Returned to the marina where upon strong insistence, it was changed in record time. Had breakfast at the Indian Trail Motel and left the marina again at 11:25 am. Wind beginning to increase from the southwest. Went through the locks (on the Cheboygan River) like a pro. The straits were rolling as usual, so we decided to go into McLeod Bay to spend the night, but the wind was coming directly into the bay. Decided to head for Mackinac Island instead.

Got there just before supper time. Only a few slips left. Kids (my big sister & me) were wild, wild, wild. Took them to the Indian Museum and walked up the hill to a small glen in the woods. Rested in the shade and started back down for dinner. Burned sparklers on shore and met a great big St. Bernard named Arnold.

Weather was a little mixed up. Cloudy with a pretty good wind blowing.

LEFT: Seascape docked at the Mackinac Island Yacht Harbor.
RIGHT: The view from the dock. The Captain and Fort Mackinac on the bluff overlooking the harbor.

SHIP’S LOG
Monday, July 4 (day 3)
Decided to spend the day because the wind was blowing hard and right into the harbor. Like being on a merry-go-around. The sun was hot, but the air was a little cool and the humidity dropped. It made for a real pleasant day. After a couple of nice peaceful hours on deck, the kids were talked into bike riding. Started around the island on our usual trip, but decided to head inland at the British Landing. Boy, it was up hill ¾ of the way, but when we reached the top, we sure did go down fast.

When we reached the boat, everyone was tired and glad to sit down for a while. Had dinner and Mom & I (my Mom) went into the drug store for a tablet (not an iPad). Looked at the store windows and after picking up our usual box of fudge headed back to the boat. Watched fireworks from the dock and about 10:00 pm the kids were ready for bed.

Talked to some people from Grand Rapids who had a sail boat in the slip across the way. They were headed to Beaver Island the next morning.

Moon came up like a big red ball. Weather calming. Decided we’d better get to bed if we are leaving for the North Channel tomorrow.

The story continues in Parts 2-4.

One Person, One Vote

I recently submitted the composition below in consideration for a freelance writing job. The prompt was provided by the company.

With the 2020 Presidential election quickly approaching, whether the US Electoral College should be abolished has entered the national debate, again. Ratified in 1804, the 12th Amendment to the US Constitution provides for the election of the President by the Electoral College. A candidate needs 270 of 538 electoral votes to be declared President-elect. The primary reasons for the continued debate are the 2000 and 2016 elections where the winning candidate did not receive the popular vote.

In 2000, Democratic candidate, Al Gore won the popular vote, but not the required electoral votes for victory. He only received 255 votes with his Republican opponent George W. Bush receiving 246 votes. The election hung in the balance for weeks, the accuracy of Florida’s “hanging chads” ballots the primary issue. Ultimately, the US Supreme Court halted the Florida recount, awarding all of its 25 electoral votes to Bush, making him the President-elect. The 2016 election pitted Democratic Hillary Clinton against Republican Donald Trump. Although nearly every National news poll projected a decisive win for Clinton at the end of election day, American voters awoke to the stunning victory of Trump. While Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 2.8 million votes, Trump was declared President-elect with 304 electoral votes.

Most US citizens probably don’t realize they cast their vote for the electors pledged to the candidates. In most states, it is a winner-takes-all structure where whatever ticket gets the majority of the votes receives all the state’s electoral votes. Opponents of the winner-takes-all scheme content it undermines the principal of “one person, one vote”. In particular, National candidates aren’t compelled to campaign in states where the outcome is inevitable. Consequently, both traditional blue and red states are ignored by the campaigns. In other words, nominees only campaign where they can get the vote. Consequently, nearly all the political events for 2016 election were in only 11 swing states where the political races were extremely close. The result was the candidates pandering to the issues meaningful to only the constituency of these states.

A solution gaining strength with bipartisan support is the National Popular Vote, an interstate compact.  Where the 12th Amendment creates the Electoral College, Article II, Section I of the US constitution permits the states to determine how their electoral votes are awarded. The bill preserves the Electoral College by not requiring its abolishment as well as state-controlled elections. It only replaces the problematic winner-take-all method with one that grants state electoral votes to the candidate with the most popular vote. It ensures the Presidency is bestowed upon the candidate with both the required electoral votes and the most popular vote. Coincidently, 270 electoral votes are required for the bill to become effective. To date, sixteen states have enacted it into law, totally 196 electoral votes, and it has passed at least one chamber in another eight states with more than 75 electoral votes.

Whether the Electoral College should be abolished is a decision to be made by the US citizens through their elected officials. The consequences of such an action must be carefully considered and thoroughly debated without political influence, an ambitious endeavor with the prevalence of politics in the operation of the US Government. However, the National Popular Vote bill seems be a viable work-around, forcing the candidates to pay attention to the issues and concerns of the entire electorate. Preserving the concept of “one person, one vote”.

Works Cited:

Corbett, Erin. “Why Democrats Want to Abolish the Electoral College-And Republicans Don’t.” Fortune, Fortune, 2 Apr. 2019, fortune.com/2019/04/02/abolish-the-electoral-college-votes/.

Bouie, Jamelle. “The Electoral College Is the Greatest Threat to Our Democracy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 Feb. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/opinion/the-electoral-college.html.