Up the Coast to an old Ship

It was a trip that many of us have taken. Perhaps quite a few times for some. Jack and Julie decided to go North and become relaxed by the worlds containment of perhaps a third of all the fresh water on the planet.

A brief stop at the entryway to the North Shore, Canal Park in Duluth. It was a Thursday morning and there was hardly anyone around and parking was a breeze.

An automated parking meter had issues and would not complete its given task. We tried to talk sense into it but the last thing we tried worked. Like a vagrant with an attitude, it wanted money, folding money and not plastic money. Jack understands that as he was a street busker in The City. If you have been there, you know where that is. Square card processing is not an option when you are sitting on a sidewalk, much as the meter was doing.

There was limited entertainment forthcoming, but it was adamant about the cash. It pulled in the bills and was satisfied and permitted our car to be parked next to it for 4 hours. We went into the basement coffee shop and got

coffees and scones and went up to the second floor to the violin shop. Old friends of a sort own it and they operate on Jack’s instruments. A tale was told by Chris about the guitar shop on the same floor. An interesting character was there buying a 1920 Martin D28 guitar. He paid cash and stood out side the violin shop with the guitar in his left hand, leaning on the stair case balustrade with his right. No one paid any attention to him as Duluth is rife with odd men. It was Willy Nelson, in town for a gig and unrecognized and not fawned over either he finally just strolled down the stairs and out the building. Perhaps another busker in from the cold.

Neat story and Jack and Julie left for highway 61 to go north. Another famous guitar player wrote a song about that highway. Jack’s odd mind was now peculating along with the lyrics that Bob Dylan wrote back a few years. Something about Abraham and his son Isaac.

It was easy to find the cabin they would have for the better part of a week. The really good ones are on the east side of the road (that’s where the lake shore is)Forget about the three story mansions in town with widows walks and turrets and fantastic land taxes. The quest the Gators was on did not consider mansions and bling. It was easy to find the cabin and after acquiring a smoked whitefish just before.

The cabin was as close to the shoreline as physically possible. About 25 feet or so and the same above. It was perfect. One room with everything you would need. Toaster, sink, king size bed, table. The civilized things.

Stunned by the almost exotic view, they got everything out of the trunk and made it home there. Jack made some toast and coffee right away and Julie went down the boulders to the shore. There was some wind and left over waves from somewhere and the crashing waves and foam worked their welcome.

They slept with the window cracked and the heater cranked. Two quilts and a wool blanket and they were sound asleep as pillow rearranging was done. The crashing of the waves was a familiar sound to Jack from his Navy days. The oil on board below Jack’s compartment made rushing noise as the ship rolled at about 12 knots steaming. It is akin to a wind sound but the regularity is the key. The bed was not rocking Jack to sleep as it did aboard the old WW II tanker, but the rush of the waves did the job quite well. Eight million gallons of bunker oil that was heated by the steam pipes made the ships deck nice and warm in December too. It was all there in Jack’s deep memory and he was asleep for the night. The waves never stopped all night and through the next morning.

A hot cup of coffee and the fingers of foam rising up from the black rock below was mesmerizing and the anxiety of civilizations rush began to fade fast. Nothing to concern yourself as eternity calls us away. Thousands of years on those chiseled rocks. The agony of time, rolling on and on. Wearing away our world one channel of rock every century. It roars and leaps and then there is passive swirling as the next impact swells up and in five seconds, crashes again. Eternity and the soothing of time in small increments. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

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