Sunday, April 6, 2008

Captain Jack

The past week was one in which a good friends Uncle who I knew and another friends dad passed away then on thurs night another good friends brother in law Capt. Jack lost his battle with cancer a mere 6 weeks after being rediagnosed.Capt Jack was just 62 but his passing has hit me the most.The first time I met Jack was at my friends cottage in Port Bay east of Rochester.I had heard stories of Jack this prankster who also left gifts under my friends daughters pillow at the cottage.I was talking to his sister Jane about the guy she was with Jack when a light went on over my head and before I could say anything she said"It's just like Kentucky around here!"For Jack was my friends wife's brother and Jane was his sister.They had both lost spouses and they made a perfect couple.Over the years I did not get back to Rochester much in summer but in fall after boating season was over.Jack had two different beautiful sailboats but after a bout with cancer that nearly killed him several years ago he traded the sailboat for a 35 ft. trawler.After labor day he would move the trawler from Port Bay onto the Erie Canal in Fairport, New York next to our town of Pittsford.This fall on the last day the canal was open for boat traffic my friend Tom(Jacks bro in law) and I went with Jack on what turned out to be his last cruise.We took the boat down the canal from Fairport to Macedon where it spends the winter out of water at a marina about a 45 minute ride.It was a really crisp cool day with big puffy clouds and the sun getting ready to set.Despite living by the canal growing up I had never been on it.Now I see why canal boats are so popular in Europe.It was so cool just putting along.Lots of wildlife,birds and fascinating things along the canal.In parts the erie canal looks more like a river with natural banks and ponds than it does a canal.There were places with cottages and trailers right along the waters edge.We waved to several people as we went sliding by on the bridge of the trawler.I wished that afternoon could have lasted forever.Jack talked about how he wanted to take the boat to Florida some winter soon but now he won't get the chance.He really was a certified capt and the kind of guy you hear about in Jimmy Buffet songs.It's just not going to be the same going home and not seeing Jack.I know he's out there with a fresh wind blowing and the Stars overhead.

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