Listening to Baseball on the Back of the Boat

The hurricanes. Now devastation comes in threes. Julie has spent her days trying to help our Key West friends both on and off the island stay in touch, find who and what they needed to make it through, ease their hearts.

We are ever grateful to those of you who checked on us. Your caring sustained our shocked hearts as we waited with only thoughts of the worst — as did everyone.  Thank you.

As of today no one is allowed back on the island for probably 7-10 days. There is the overwhelming need to tend to roads, bridges, provide clean water, deal with sewage, restore power, bring in gasoline, medical supplies, food, assess damages. The teams on the ground are making amazing progress. But it’s hard to wait to return.

And of course at this time, most everyone is thinking about how it could have been worse and how many millions are worse off than those of us who are getting up this morning to another day with food, shelter, pets, friends.

Here’s a poem I composed to somehow fit with the disaster–

Listening to Baseball on the Back of the Boat

The Pirates are up 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth.
An hour ago, I watched a rehabbed houseboat
being towed across the bight and into its slip,

the owners Pittsburghers who wandered down
into the sun and humidity of Key West. The water’s
dappled oblongs of light ripple laconically and

the sky is all but gull-less. Tonight the saved
boat’s owners will couple again—perhaps—
the same sun setting its lower light through

their new windows. Now it’s the seventh inning.
I don’t know why I’m listening. Maybe I am
twelve. Maybe they are seventeen again finding

themselves in an old new boat, surprised
that saving it has maybe saved a twitch of
them even though this was never in the plans.

A Dodger just homered with two on
making it 3-2. I look back across the water,
watch four cormorants dive, surface, dive.

–Jack Ridl

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14 thoughts on “Listening to Baseball on the Back of the Boat

  1. Yes..the right poem…the hope of “coupling again” …the hope of being re-paired with that beautiful haven, the cormorants, the ease…

    Sent from my iPhone


    • So good to hear this, Colette. Soooooooo good.
      I know how happy you are about all you have
      added to your already beautiful ability to see.

  2. Morning, Jack, in Maine we call cormorants shags. Any word on your boat; the noaa image shows ours afloat but that could be misleading. I know this will all come to pass but in the meantime…………………….. Love to all blair and the bean

    • Hey you two! How we miss you and how we worried for you and all
      of us ne’er do wells on the pier!
      In the meantime and all the time, love to you and Beanie
      Manatee Jack

  3. Classic Jack Ridl, only new!

    But I didn’t know you were a Keys person. Prolonged physical distance and a stroke or two will either block knowledge or take it away. Regardless, I am glad you and yours are OK. I too was expecting a count of three(s), but being from Georgia (just north of Haiti), I reckoned the eclipse as the first of a triad of “signs.”

    All the best from Maryland plus a picture you’ll appreciate even if it’s not the Pirates. Since the original tune was an English drinking song, we gave it an authentic-sounding interpretation.


    • So good to hear from you, Alfred. Laurie and I often exchange
      our gratitude that you are in our lives.
      So appreciate this from dear good you.
      Manatee Jack

  4. It is reassuring to get your note, Jack. I have been hoping and praying that your beautiful houseboat made it safely through the hurricane. I do care but was nervous about bugging you with emails at a time when I figured both you and Julie would be so busy trying to communicate with friends and relatives. I did bring Carrie’s painting to class on Tuesday to celebrate the Hem. house and the cats making it through relatively unscathed. Best wishes as you continue to deal with consequences. Stephen

    • Thanks, Stephen. I really botched that post and have followed it up in hopes
      of preventing any more misunderstanding leading to dealing with extra stuff. Ugh.
      My bad!
      Lots of “grace under pressure” going on there and here.
      I’ll tell Carrie. She will be so pleased!

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