Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend With Matthew

I returned tonight from a weekend with my friend, Matthew. Matthew lives in Oklahoma and has a boat on Grand Lake. It's a classic 1960 Chris Craft wooden boat, and Matthew is completely in love with it.

We spent Friday at his house and then left for the lake Saturday morning. We spent the night on the boat after cruising all day, meeting some of his lake friends and enjoying the lake.

Of course, I couldn't resist taking many photos of Matthew. It was hot. We were sweaty. It's not anyone's best look. But, hey, it can't be helped when you're on a boat in a 90 degree plus day. I'm sure you understand.

The boat's name is "Three Wishes." I learned this weekend that it's considered bad luck to change the name of a boat, and a whole process is involved. There's lore and tradition about almost everything connected with a boat, it seems.

Another bit I learned is that the yachting flag, which you see displayed prominently all over the lake, was designed with 13 stars around an anchor because when America was being settled, the sailors would come back after being gone and realize they now had the wrong number of stars on the flag. What we see today is a variant of what the Navy came up with many years ago.

Generally, you fly it on the boat only when someone is on board. That way, people can tell at a glance if the boat is occupied.

Matthew just graduated from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. His goal is to work in a capacity where he would be educating chaplains for hospital work. He worked as a Chaplain at Wesley in Wichita for quite some time and really liked it.

He is very happy in his current avocation as Captain of the Three Wishes.

Matthew is very smart and very kind. He's gracious to a fault and someone I truly adore. We haven't seen each other much lately, and I have missed him.

Matthew and I have traveled many, many miles together.

We've walked the streets of Brussels late at night, hunting for our hotel room that seemed to have vanished. And we've marveled at the "moving arch" in Antigua, Guatemala, near our hotel. We both SWEAR the hotel entrance was on one side of the arch when we first arrived and on the other side when we came back later that day. Even years later we are still certain it moved.

We have wandered the red light district in Amsterdam and been changed by going to the Anne Frank House the next day, which is infinitely more interesting. We have sat on the tarmac in San Salvador watching a flight attendant balancing on a seat banging the overhead compartment closed, and we spent hours talking to a gentleman from Poland talk about his bad experience on the "chicken bus" in Honduras.

Matthew is responsible for one of my most vivid travel memories, and he wasn't even with me - a pre-dawn walk in Paris snow. I was already there and headed out to meet him at the airport. His flight didn't arrive until much later, sans baggage. We've had many adventures and misadventures with airlines and flights.

A Patsy and Matthew travel tip - laugh when they ask you to give up your seat on an overbooked flight until they give you at least what you paid for the tickets. They'll try to get it out of you for dinner. We scoff! Literally.

Only when traveling with Matthew have I gotten on a flight and had the flight attendant look at us and squeal (and it was a squeal), "OH! I remember you!," while brandishing his pointer finger at us. We had ended up in the same hotel bar the night before - it was just us and flight crew pretty much - not that we knew we'd be seeing them at the Managua airport the next morning. That flight from Nicaragua is one of the most comfortable I've ever been on - few people and great service from the crew we'd seen the night before. And, this would be an opportune time to mention that the pilots were NOT drinking the night before.

Matthew and I have shared things we probably never would have done if we hadn't traveled in some unusual circumstances.

Some are funny - he reminded me this weekend that I dyed his hair in Paris once. After he told me it started to sound familiar. I had dyed his hair once before, so that would have been my second time ever. And I was doing it with only French instructions. I speak some French, and read more, but I'm about a million miles from anything resembling fluency. I can only assume he had had far too much wine with dinner to allow that.

Other things are more insightful than funny. Others are more embarrassing than flattering. But travel rule number one is you keep each other's secrets. Neither Matthew nor I have ever broken that rule. Thank goodness. And I certainly don't intend to.

Matthew isn't really interested in traveling much anymore and I'm sorry to lose him as a travel partner. He has always been one of my favorite people to travel with. I will miss sharing time with him in distant lands.


This is a formal plea for everyone I know to please get an account on Facebook. If you're reading this, please go get an account. It's free and I think it may finally be the answer to keeping up with friends and acquaintances when we're not in regular contact, and even when we are.

It's like grown up myspace, but still fun, if that makes sense.

I'm not getting a cut or anything - I just think it's cool. Frankly, I'm only starting to use it, and only know the barest of facts about it so far, but I can tell it has potential. So... time's a wastin' - go get an account

And, you'll know at least one person on there to start with - me. My name on facebook is patsyterrell - the same as it is everywhere. I just can't do all that fake identity stuff - reality is complex enough for me - I can barely keep that straight.

Anyway, I'll add you as a friend as soon as you get an account. So... get crackin'! It would be such a great way to reconnect with people I knew in college and from old jobs and other "old lives" where we aren't really in close touch, but would like to keep up on the basics.

Howard Owens wrote a nice piece about it on his blog...