Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Remembering Jim Dorton


I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield (1878-1967).
(English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)

"Yo no soy marinero, soy capitán, soy capitán...."  That was my Jimmy. Seaman, Captain, Marine Surveyor, funny guy, story teller, adventurer....to name a few of his talents. 

He loved tall ships.  He sailed interisland Hawaii on the remake of the SS Endeavor and climbed the masts of tall ships at every opportunity.  Either he was a tall ship sailor in a former life or his appreciation and knowledge of the world of boating enticed his interest.   After he passed away, six years ago today, I tried to continue to live in Hawaii, but that was Jim's paradise.  I found it to be too difficult, faced with memories everywhere I went and with everyone I spoke to. Of course there were lots of good friends and happy memories too, but I couldn't see them through the cloud of grief in which I was immersed.  When I came to Mérida to look for a house a year later, in my paradise -  the Yucatán - this house was the third one I looked at.  The hand painted tile(s) above hang proudly in my carport.  I leaned against the house, thinking about it, and a piece of the house fell into my pocket. Then I noticed the tiles. I decided that Jim must have picked out this house for me.  Search over, let's sign the papers.

Jim loved México, it was our first topic of conversation when serendipity struck us. He loved adventure and travel, and so did I.  During our twenty plus years as a couple, we accomplished more than some people do in an entire lifetime.  We sailed around the Hawaiian Islands together. A few times. We sailed from Hawaii to Swains Island, American Samoa, Western Samoa, Tonga and Fiji with two good friends of his, the crazy brothers Eric and Mike. He drove tourists on sailboats for sunset and whale watching sails, took private sail charters, did a lot of boat repair and building with his good buddy Rusty on Oahu.  He and I taught diving and he drove boats in Maui, Kona, Fiji, British Virgin Islands....and he had the opportunity to sail to Fiji and Australia to help a sailor friend, plus two trips through the Panama Canal with good friend Dave.  On the first time through, he was on a 64 ft yacht. They were side tied to another sailboat. As they went through the locks, the other yachtie somehow got his boat going around in a circle, so Jim, Dave and the unknown couple went through the entire canal backwards.  Stern to!  I wasn't there for that adventure but I saw the photos.  Hilarious. But successful.

We didn't meet until we were in our 30s. Neither of us had been married or had children, other than me and the cat I dragged to Hawaii from Akumal, México.  He was a loving husband and mate.  He was my best friend. He was my soulmate.  And I thought we would live happily ever after.  

We struggled financially throughout all of our years together because we preferred fun jobs to 'the grind'.  We only worried about money when we wanted to hit the adventure trail...then we worked our asses off for it, sold all our stuff, and away we went.  We started over more than once in a new home, on a new island, with all new (used) stuff.  I loved my life with Jim.  I think about him all the time, I still talk to him.  I have his 'treasure chest' here with a few of his favorite things, and what I have left of his physical self, a few of his ashes.  

He died about this time of day. I miss him.
Jimmy, I will always love you.  But life must go on and I must survive.  For you. For us.  In all my travels I have never met another person like you!  You are missed by many and loved by many more!


Telling Our Stories, Creating Our Narratives said...
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Telling Our Stories, Creating Our Narratives said...

All day yesterday I was touched by this posting; just as I was when I first read My Aloha Forever -- years ago, and it made me reach out and make a friend. And then later after getting to visit you in Merida, and even meeting Carol and Russ this holiday in Oahu was like icing on the cake. When Russ mentioned Jim soon after we sat down in their house, he got choked up and couldn't talk for a second -- THIS is the impact of a wonderful friend, man, mate, sailor - no, Capitán who you can barely capture in words! Yes, his spirit lives on as I was so moved reading your passage that I could not find an elegant and meaningful way to put words together to say how I too was to tears yesterday while reading it. Tears of joy, condolences, sadness, pride, etc. It is a joy that you had this great opportunity that most folks in the world miss - being with a true soulmate! It is sad that he is gone and I deeply carry condolences for this and you, even though I never got to met Jim, and reading your words of his voyages and ship building (which Russ told us stories of as well) made me swell with pride. Pride for a person who had gumption to really swim in the sea of Life!
Just know that as frikkin' busy as we all truly are, my heart goes out to you my dear friend during this remembrance.
Love you, Co
P.S. You have just given me a replacement passage for one of your pieces in Survive with this-- thanks you heartfelt wordsmith you!

Carlos Q and Pat Q said...

Truly a beautiful remembrance. Thank you for sharing.