"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, January 26, 2009

okay, I get it now....

Finally. A lesson I should have learned many, many years ago finally sank in. I’ve certainly been exposed to this lesson often enough to have figured it out. And, I’ve been subjected to testing from pop quizzes to final exams, which I’ve found is when I really learn.

In spite of all of that exposure, it took a Halibut Cove resident named Kevin and his distinctive glasses to turn on the light of learning so it could shine into the darkness of my thick skull. I first met Kevin last year aboard the Stormbird, which is the tough old vessel that delivers mail to and from the cove every Tuesday and Saturday. The Stormbird also carries passengers, most of whom are residents of the cove going to Homer for a few hours to take care of personal business, pick up groceries, and so on. While almost all the year-round folks here have boats capable of crossing Kachemak Bay, there is one big difference: nothing stops the Stormbird, not the tides, frozen harbors, hurricane-force winds, or blizzards.

For a small annual fee, these people can ride the Stormbird as often as they want. The day I met Kevin, he was with his wife Lucinda and son Bowman. After a great time talking NFL football with Bowman, Lucinda invited me and my traveling companion Patti to dinner at their lodge. This was last January, and the lodge was in hibernation mode until spring.

Kevin was very quiet during the meal, sitting at the head of the table and barely saying anything until I began asking him questions about boats, and the Stormbird in particular. Then he was a treasure mine of knowledge. I knew just enough about things nautical not to make a total fool of myself, or, if I did, Kevin didn’t let on.

After the table was cleared, Kevin sat at the other end with a laptop. On his face were the most colorful glasses I had ever seen, with vertical stripes of varying widths and hues of reds, oranges, and yellows as the predominant colors. I was quite amused with this silver-haired man wearing such colorful glasses, as they were not at all what one would expect to find on a tough, hard-working Alaskan.

He was looking at Google Earth on the laptop, and his subsequent conversation was non-stop as he showed us the wonders of the world through the magic of electronic technology.

A few days ago, I saw Kevin again. This time he and Bowman were getting lengths of rope from my host’s shop to tow a runaway boat shed back to the dock from which it had broken loose during a storm last week. Again, Kevin was wearing colorful glasses, but this time the stripes were in various hues of blue, with aqua being the most prominent. Decidedly colorful.

I mentioned his other glasses, the red ones, and he told me he still had them but was trying not to wear them out.

Today, I have been thinking a lot about Kevin’s choice of eyewear. The reason is that my reading glasses have now been missing for twenty-four hours. I have retraced my steps about a dozen times from the last point of possession. I cannot find them. In order to write this, I have borrowed a pair of store-bought 3.50 magnifiers with thick black frames that my host conveniently left on his desk.

As I ready to start yet another search for my cute little reading glasses—the granny style with thin gold frames that are almost invisible when hiding—I am coveting glasses with frames like Kevin’s. Colorful, readily visible, easy-to-spot frames, the kind that leap out from hidden crevices and shout “HERE I AM!”

I’m due for an exam and a new prescription soon, as soon as I get back to town. And I reckon you know what kind of frames I’ll be looking for now that I’ve finally learned that lesson.


Three hours later.

I stepped out onto the deck to take a photo and snagged my tee shirt on a door catch, tearing a hole in it. I went downstairs to my bedroom to change, then came back up to do some more work. I couldn’t find the borrowed black framed glasses, so I went back downstairs to look for them.

On the floor at the bottom of the bed were my tiny gold framed glasses. They had been missing twenty-seven hours. I am really happy to have found them. Now, if I can just find the black framed ones….

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