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TALES FROM THE CARIBBEAN

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When Dave awoke and rubbed the sleep from his eyes he realized that he had overslept. He scrambled on deck to find his dad with one eye half closed and the other focused on the compass. Dave was confused because they were on a totally different heading.

"Sorry Pop," I didn't mean to oversleep like that.

"Not to worry son, you had a lot on your mind last night and I'm glad we talked about it. A problem shared is a problem halved, nobody has all of the answers but two minds are sure better than one. I wish more than anything my Dad was still living so we could talk like you and I do."

"What was Grandpa Paul like?" asked Dave.

"Ornery, best describes him. My dad was ornery as carnal sin. His Dad (Clyde) was a farmer--honest as the day is long. He had a farm at a place called 9 Mile and after my mother died, I lived on the farm with Grandma Tessie and Clyde. Clyde's passion was prime beef. He bought feeder cattle in the spring, put them out to pasture in the summer, penned them up and grain fed them in the fall and then slaughtered and sold them at his locker plant at Ossian, IN.

When I was about your age, I moved back in with my Dad and worked for him. He paid me a hundred dollars a day. We're originally descended from English cabinetmakers and so carpentry was always in our family. Some people might say he drank too much, but every good man has his faults. There's a bit of bad in the best of us and bit of good in the worst of us, but he worked hard, finished what he started and was good at what he did and he laughed (cackled) a lot.
One time it was raining and he was drinking beer at a place called The Hideaway in Waynedale. The owner wasn't bringing the old man's beer fast enough so he threatened to go to the liquor store and buy himself a six-pack, bring it back and drink it.

The bar owner (Ken) pulled out a club and said, "By God if you do, I'll break everyone of them." After a while the matter seemed forgotten. The owner (Ken) was restocking his walk-in cooler and his wife (Donna), was serving the beer. Dad asked Donna to bring him a six-pack of beer so Donna bagged up 6 bottles of beer and Dad sat them in plain view so when Ken came out of the cooler he would see that bag of beer. Ken did and he fetched his club and broke every bottle in the bag. Dad said, "I haven't paid for those beers yet and since you broke them, I'm not going to—Dad always had the last laugh. But that nevertheless didn't keep them from barring him—he got barred a lot."

"Another time at the Hook and Ladder, Big Woody, the bartender, bodily bounced him out in the alley next to the bar and although he was skinned up and sore, he never complained so, he must have had it coming? There's no end to the funny stories I could tell about Grandpa Paul, but it's time to strike the skull and bones and run up the stars and stripes.

I changed course while you were sleeping and it added about 12 hours to our voyage, but I suddenly got a bad feeling about running directly towards the inner-costal—I've learned not to ignore my intuitions. I skirted east of the Biminis and then cut west towards West Palm Beach. We've already passed Great Isaac Rock and before long you should see the mainland. When you see the shore head south for Ft. Lauderdale and it will appear that we are coming from West Palm Beach instead of from the Caribbean. The Joint Task Force works out of the Coast Guard Station on Peanut Island at the entrance to West Palm Beach so we want to be just south of Peanut Island. I asked you to leave your iPhone with your mother because it's too easy for the government to track them—Jesse gave us these pre-paid ones that are registered to his environmental company, but don't use it before we arrive at the Marina—cell phone traffic is closely monitored out here.

"What Marina are we going to Pop?" asked Dave.

"Were headed for the New River Marina and by the time we get there the new radial cut Spectra sails and Perkins 4108 diesel engine should already be there."

"Pop, I can't wait to call Aura!" "I'm going to invite her to sail with me in this year's "Sweethearts of the Caribbean Race," exclaimed Dave.

"Aura is an outstanding, intelligent and beautiful girl," said the captain. "And your mother believes the two of you are a good match so, what can I say? Love is what makes the world go round. Without love and lust there would be no children and without children there would be no future, but suffice it to say, some things are beyond my comprehension--Love is one of them. Poets say: It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but sometimes love stinks. I take it, that you want to buy your own sailboat and dinghy?"

"Well yes," said Dave. "Of course, I wanted to run it by you before I made the final decision."

"Did you hear about Laura Dekkar?" exclaimed Dave.

"Only bits and pieces, but the last I heard, she had gone missing, did they find her?" asked the Captain.

"I'll say they found her," said Dave. "But not before she circumnavigated the globe. She was born on a sailboat in New Zealand. Her mother is German so Laura holds 3 citizenships one in New Zealand, one in Germany and after her parents separated she moved in with her father in the Netherlands where she also has a citizenship. She spent the first 4 years of her life at sea. At 6 she owned her first sailboat. She bought her second boat at 10 and named it Guppy. Most recently she bought a 38-foot Jeanneau sea-going Ketch and named it Guppy two. She dreamed of being the youngest woman to ever circumnavigate the world, but the Dutch authorities objected to her plan and the Child Welfare Office got involved. A judgment was issued that placed her in shared parental custody with the Council for Child Care who stopped her departure. The judgment was supposed to expire in 2010 but it was extended to the year 2012. Laura finally decided the issue when her parents reported her missing. She left a farewell message to her father, withdrew 6,000 U.S. from her bank account and slipped away. She later turned up in Saint Martain in the Virgin Islands, but after she had already circumnavigated the globe," explained Dave.

"I'll tip my hat to any sailor who has sailed around the horn, regardless of their age," said the captain. Sailors have a saying, 'there's no law below the 50th but there's no God below the 40th'. It's tough sailing down there—we've never been there.

When most kids run away from home they're found within a matter of days but if they're sailors, own a boat, can navigate and they have their own money—forget about it, they're free spirits. Most people view the oceans as a barrier, but to us they're super highways."

"After Laura circumnavigated the globe," exclaimed Dave. "Another Netherlands court ended her shared parental supervision because she had broken no Dutch laws and it was not within Child Protective Services legitimate authority to protect a child who is not being physically or sexually abused...Child Protective Services overstepped their legal authority."

"Laura and her Dad sound like me and you," scoffed the Captain, I've had my battles with them too. The landlubbers looked out at our boat and saw you in the water all of the time, even before you could walk, and insisted the barracudas or sharks would get you, so for your own good, they insisted somebody else should have custody of you, they thought they knew what was best for my son—what they really wanted was control. I would never encourage you to endanger your life, but if you wanted to sail around the world, I would support your decision—no matter what.

"After we get to the New River Marina, we need to find our way to a used car lot and buy a light truck, put a dealer tag on it and take care of businesses. Right now, your aunt is at their home on Sanibel Island and that will save us from making the Chicago trip-the sooner we do the conversion and wire Jesse his cut the better, but I would strongly suggest that you keep a prudent reserve of gold escudos to hedge against inflation. It's only a matter of time before our currency becomes so inflated that the government switches from the green back to the Amero dollar.

When they call in the green backs it will leave the people holding large stashes of hidden cash with worthless currency. The military does it with military script so; it's only a matter of time before the government does the same with green backs. Of course, the new money will cost a 1.10 per Amero so the government will gain on the switch, but if you have a weasel stash of hard currency it won't matter—history doesn't repeat itself, but government greed does.

When Richard Nixon's administration stopped backing the American dollar with an ounce of silver it was the beginning of the end for U.S. currency. I used to make a hundred dollars a day in the 1960-70's and I could buy one hundred silver dollars with those 100 green backs. Today it takes 35 paper dollars to buy a silver one so, I would have to make $3500 a day to make equal pay. Harvard, Yale and government economists claim my way of looking at economics is wrong, but I think it is the double-talking, stuffed suits, that are wrong, the only time they ever tell the truth is if it made a better story?"

"Pop, I can't wait to get there, but being landlocked isn't my thing, in that respect Laura is like us too. I can only stay ashore so long and then it's time to go sailing. I'm attracted to the water like a magnet," said Dave.

"I'm all in son," said the captain, "Take us on in and if you need help wake me up. The two best parts of every journey are casting off and dropping the hook. I can hardly wait to get home and for us, wherever we drop the hook is home...

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John Stark
About This Author
The author of the "Tales from the Caribbean" fictional column. He attended school at Waynedale Elementary, Maplewood, Elmhurst HS in the Waynedale area. John had 25 years of professional writing experience when he passed away in 2012.
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