FINDING A CHRISTMAS PRESENT for my wife has become more difficult now that we don't have a boat. It used to be simple when we had a boat. I always got her something that would be practical as well as delightful.
For instance, a few years ago I was wondering if June would like a new anchor rope for Christmas. She had got the old one quite dirty with mud when we anchored at Sucia Island. But of course, even then nothing was straightforward about buying a Christmas present for your wife. There were always those nagging questions. Would she like traditional three-strand nylon, or would she prefer nylon double-braid? Which would be kinder on her hands? And — very important this — which would surprise and delight her more on Christmas morning?
Perhaps, I thought, I could throw in a decent pair of canvas gloves, so she doesn’t add to the number of calluses she seems to be collecting. On the other hand, a really nice present for her would be a new GPS chart plotter, not one of those cheapo Chinese knock-offs, but a really deluxe Garmin color plotter with interfacing capabilities to link up with the radar and depth-sounder I thought she might like for her next birthday. I could justify the cost. She is my darling and deserves nothing but the best.
I already had her stocking stuffer. It was the cutest, top-of-the-range iridium oxide scraper, to help her get the old antifouling paint off, next time we hauled. The expense was nothing. The point is, you’ve got to let your wife know how much you love her. And you want her to be cheerful in the sport she loves so much. I had to work hard at it, but it did give me great pleasure to make her happy.
Now it's even more difficult, and I have to confess I still haven't found a suitable gift. There's still time, of course. Hours and hours. Well, minutes, anyway. It seems a lot better if you think in seconds.
Meanwhile, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the finest greetings of the holiday season. I hope Santa brings you nice new anchor ropes and fresh cans of antifouling paint and some of those fancy yachting shoes with the non-skid treads and the designer logo. It's so nice when you get presents you can really enjoy.
God loveth a cheerful giver.
--New Testament: II Corinthians, ix, 7
“Why do giraffes have such long necks?”
“Boy, but you ask some dumb questions. So they can eat from tall trees, of course.”
“Okay, so why do the trees have to be so tall?”
“So the giraffes won’t have to bend their necks, naturally.”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for a new Mainly about Boats column.)