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Date: 6 January 2015. Holiday Invitations (Christmas 2014)

janice142
 

A common misconception I have too often seen stated online is: "When you go into a marina after a voyage you will be welcomed with open arms. Everyone will invite you aboard to feed you and ply you with drinks in return for telling them sea stories." Although I have only been out six years currently, I have yet to find an open invitation to any boat. I matters not if I am in a marina or at an anchorage populated by other boats. Newbies should not count on the generosity of fellow boaters.
 


 

Memory Lane: Quite frankly, the previous scenario has almost never been true in my experience. I had about 15,000 miles at the helm from the age of ten onward and probably at least double that when too young to steer our boat. The only time you were warmly received is when returning to a port you had been at prior to the journey.
 


Even the couple I met who first touched the US after having left 17 years ago were not "feted" though folks with vehicles did haul them to a grocery store. Truly, what you can most expect as a traveler is for folks to want to come aboard your boat and see it.
 

We will want to learn what you have had success with along with failures experienced. And we want to see it first hand.
 

The locals will look over your equipment, ask questions and such. But as for invitations? That is far less likely than the online world would have you believe.
 

Then come the holidays... and out of the woodwork invitations arrive from folks who have never invited you anyplace before. Suddenly you are alone and they can "spare" you the agony of being an unwanted soul. It sucks.
 

And believe you me, those of us who are solitary do talk about those invitations. We wonder why you only appear in the days before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Where were you weeks ago?
 

 

Christmas Gifts 101

 

Recently a few friends and I were chatting about the invites we had received to join folks for Christmas day. Some were from virtual strangers and others from people best described as *nodding acquaintances. We laughed about the interesting gifts received from folks ashore...

*Nodding acquaintance: Someone you nod 'hello' to in passing. Usually this is an individual with whom you ave never had a penetrating conversation and could not name if your life depended upon it.


 

This is a list of gifts received by sea gals:

  • Perfume or scented lotions (most of us have our favorites)
  • Bath bubbles and soaps (we don't have tubs on our boats)

  • Candles (not every one has flames aboard their boat)

  • My aunt gave us a set of 8 breakable glasses with the Canadian maple leaf in gold on the sides. They were large, did not stack, and, well, we remembered our manners. I had to write the thank you note for those gosh-awful things.



 

Of course men are not spared. Boat guys can expect to find items such as:

  • Neck ties with a nautical motif, especially prevalent when the boater wears primarily tee shirts without a collar
  • Shaving cream and brush (usually gifted full-bearded men)
    and/or
  • Baseball caps
     

While we appreciate the thought, the reality is for some of us a bit different. We are simply not interested in gift exchanges with anyone we do not particularly know well. What I would most like is a phone call  and invitation to ride along when you are headed to a distant store.


Plus the thought of spending Christmas with strangers is less than enticing. Frankly, the idea is intimidating and a bit scary too. I would rather not, you know?
 

What made the holidays nice however was an invention from the previous century. The simple telephone allowed many of us out here to touch base. Throughout the day I enjoyed catching up with other singles. Everyone I knew who was both without local relatives and a soloist opted to enjoy the day alone.
 


 

And although I did not ask, from the discussions of gifts (see lists above) we avoided by staying home, it was a unanimous decision. All had invitations elsewhere and chose our destiny. By late afternoon however several of us admitted to missing the leftovers.
 

I still treasured the time to think back to earlier years. Many happy memories were shared, especially with my friend Irene. Irene is a great listener who has lead an interesting life.


It was such fun to tell stories about when the children were young, and so were we. Where did the years go? It seemed to me not so very long ago that I had my duo.


Here are Son and Kidlet on the tow boat my dad ran for a while down in the Florida Keys:


 

I made several calls, and received some too. It was fun. And to my good friend who had cheesecake for breakfast? I'm seriously jealous. That sounded just about perfect.
 

When speaking with Kidlet I was pleased to know that her family's Christmas morning included Cheese Danish. That is something I started when she and Son were young ones. Publix bakery supplied it. I would definitely recommend the Publix version if you are near that grocery store chain.
 

Without outsiders we soloists were all free to spend the day as we pleased. I read a couple of books. Have I mentioned lately how very much I like my Kindle? It truly makes all the difference in my happiness quotient -- I should have bought one long before. If you are curious I read again T. Tembarom, and The Box-Car Children.
 

 

Christmas aboard Seaweed was quiet. It was quite pleasant too.
I rearranging a couple of shelves in my canned goods locker.

 

 

← 18 one cup canning jars fit to the left of my pressure cooker. Stacked two high, they will not topple.

But it was the stuffed green pepper (bottom left jar) that caught my attention. It became dinner aboard Seaweed on Christmas 2014. It was delicious too.

 

I enjoy making treats for myself and was particularly happy to have made these last year. The recipe can be found in the Canning Stuffed Green Peppers article. The best time of the year to make them is when the babies are in season -- the little ones fit into the one cup wide mouth jars. If you have bigger jars, disregard the previous sentence.

 


Among those I spoke with on Christmas day was a universal joy at being afloat. Also there were a few regrets. Many of us missed the plethora of food choices offered on holidays. Even though I cook for self, there was not the great variety of good things to eat. Have I mentioned leftovers?!?
 

Plus I had forgotten to buy apples for a pie. Christmas without apple pie just is not the same. Mother's apple pie was one of my favorites...
 

Frankly though I cannot see inviting a single fellow over to Seaweed for food and drinks who just arrived in port -- not unless there was to be a large gathering of people. And as a single woman I am careful. Out here all we have is our reputation.
 

You, collectively, and me too -- are nothing special. We are living our lives and should be prepared to be self-sufficient. Holidays are no different.


What did you do for Christmas dinner?
Is there any holiday tradition you look forward to enjoying each year?
 

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