Deep in the heart of the Ozark mountains, nautical spirits abound. Eager to visit family, despite swearing off another winter in Missouri, we aimlessly swapped sand encrusted flip-flops and faded shorts for barely used, old boots and coats to go land sailing. Arriving just ahead of a winter storm, our trip to Missouri is somewhat like foreign travel. Two sun rats with stocking caps pulled down over the ears, we are in vacation mode. Soaking up warm Midwest hospitality, sleeping under an electric blanket, indulging in country food, watching birds feed, and reminiscing about days gone by. Reminiscing and milling about my parent’s house, items with a connection to the sea are popping out, claiming my attention in a new way.
Mileposts mapping my childhood, select pictures, photos, and stories that I grew up with were familiar to the point of going unnoticed. This week, I re-discovered them: plaster of paris busts of sailors that once hung in my grandmother’s home; watercolors by my father; and concrete pelicans my grandmother gave my mother as a souvenir from Florida. My grandparents were so attached to their farm, that I never noticed or considered they might like the ocean.
Aside from visiting family, I was also excited to see my kitty, Francis. A desert kitty, he has thrived at winter camp. Not so sure my parents can say the same thing. He is quite the handful. We will be taking him back home and keep our fingers crossed that time has helped him mature into a boat kitty.