So here's the story of my little Pearson
Electra, "The Flower". (Just in case anyone would like to know). I wrote this back in January after my friend's death. I've been getting ready to refit
her & it got me thinking about my old buddy & this amazing little boat. I hope it puts a smile on everyone's face & let us all know just how connected we all are.
So I guess it's time I shared this story since it's a done deal. I've know Tim since about 1996. I met him at the Ft. Myers Yacht Basin when I was living on my sailboat there. I was an eager, free, & "bullet-proof" 20 year old. I had seen Tim prancing around the marina, always happy & smiling. He just had this aura about him & I wanted it too! I introduced myself to him one day & was initiated into a custom that became synonymous with "Brother Love": the introductory hug. As long as I knew him, he never shook someone's hand when he met them. It was always a hug.
Tim & I got to be very good pals & spent just about everyday, at some point, hanging out or getting into some type of debauchery. Now mind you, Tim was old enough to be my dad, but he was in as good or better shape than me. I remember his bicycle (favorite form of transportation for us sailors) getting stolen one night. He was devastated. I ended up taking him to meet my Dad & step grandfather & hooking him up with a "new" red bike with side-saddle baskets to boot! He loved it & we spent many a night cruising to & from the downtown bars & restaurants. One of the nights also led to him getting me my first bar tending job at one of our favorite local hangouts.
Over the next few months, we lived each day like there was no tomorrow. We sailed up & down the Caloosahatchee River & sometimes, out past Sanibel to the Gulf. Many of these times were spent aboard his pride & joy, "The Flower", a 1963 Pearson
Electra 22'. This was the little beauty he lived on in the marina. It was small, but had the largest heart of any of the other bigger boats on the water
. it was built by the Pearson brothers, who were the first people to ever build fiberglass
sailboats. A pho-pa in the days of wooden boats. This boat was built like a tank because they had no idea of the life expectancy of the new "plastic" boats. A short time later, I decided to sail off to the Florida Keys
in search of adventure.
In 2000, Tim's nephew Jake Wilson (aka Pud Din Head) decided to move to Ft. Myers in search of adventure, as well. Tim had since purchased a larger sailboat to live on & sold "The Flower" to Jake. Two years later, Tim let me know that Jake wanted to bring the boat to the Keys & was wondering if I would take Jake under my wing, as he had done for me years earlier, & show him the ropes & find him a means of making enough money
to live & eventually get to the Bahamas
on "the Flower". I eagerly agreed & they set sail from Ft. Myers on what was to be a 6-day sail to the Keys. They arrived in what is fair to say, Hell-atious conditions. A winter northerly that had them searching for cover. I ended up meeting them about 45 mins down the island chain to rescue
them with much-needed food
& alcoholic beverages. Jake ended up staying in the Keys until about 2005 or '06 & decided it was time to head
back to the high country of Colorado & decided to sell 'The Flower". He & I went out her for one last sail, an epic sail, & he sold her to a man from Marathon & was off to the Rockies. I never thought I would see that beautiful, memorable boat.
Flash forward to a month ago. I was on Craigslist searching the sailboat adds for fun & came across a 1963 Pearson Electra that bore a eerie resemblance to "The Flower". I examined all the pics & then sent the link to Jake & Tim. They were convinced, as I, that it was her. Tim informed me back in June when I last saw him that he & Jake were coming down for a visit in the Keys this week of January. He told me to check up on the boat, see if it was REALLY her, & he was going to buy her when they came down. I called tim on Christmas
Eve to wish him a Merry Christmas
& he sound weak & raspy. I thought maybe it was the flu. he quickly informed me that he had gotten pancreatitis & it was doing a number on him. i told him I knew people that had had the same thing & had turned out all right. he then floored me with the news that he had had colon cancer for a year & things had been better but this had really been a "one-two punch". he told me he had lost
20 pounds. He's about the same size as me & I knew that wasn't good. I quickly told him I would be over to see him as soon as the holiday was over, the next weekend. I told him I loved him, hung up, & started balling my eyes out. He called me on Thursday & said he didm;t think it was going to be a good time to come over since he was going to be in the hospital all day & not able to visit with me. He said he would let me know Friday if I should come. He called me & said it was a no go. I respected his wishes & said "I'll see you next weekend, then". He agreed & we said our goodbyes & "I love you"s.
Jake contacted me on Thursday & told me that Tim had gone downhill fast & was already on hospice care. His organs had started to shut down & it was only a matter of day(s) before he would transition. I was devastated. I realized then that Tim had not wanted me to see him this way. Jake called me on Sunday evening, a call I immediately knew was to be a bad one, & said Timmy Flower had passed peacefully. I could't even talk & told him I'd call him on Monday. On Monday, we discussed more & told stories of our beloved Tim. Jake asked me if I had followed up on "The Flower" & i told him that the seller had not return my messages. We were kind of deflated. I persisted & ended up getting in touch with her on Tuesday. I asked if the boat was still available & if I could come take a look? I was pretty confident that this was "The Flower" & I wanted to seriously make her an offer on her listing of "$2000 o.b.o.". I really didn't have the extra cash to do it, but I was going to let lack of finances trump "creative financing". Tim had always told me, "Kid, don't ever worry about your money
or it'll take offense & not come out & play with you!" I took this to heart. I asked the seller where the boat was located in the Keys? She informed me that it was located "behind the Fisheries". I asked her "which fisheries?" to which she informed me that it was Key Largo
Fisheries. I live on the main canal to the Key Largo
Fisheries!!!! We agreed to meet today at 2pm.
I was blown away & this new information about the boat! I got home from work, threw my paddle board in the water
& went searching the main canal & the side canals of it. I didn't see it. As I came back past my dock
I happened to look down to the end of the canal directly across from my house. Surely, there's no way it would be down this one!?! As I strained my eyes looking down the canal, I noticed this little, "bikini blue" ( as Tim had painted her) sailboat tucked away in the corner. I paddle feverishly toward her. As I arrived, a local musician/friend, Allan Truesdell comes out onto the dock
next to the boat. I asked him if he knew who owned this boat & he said, "my roommate". I then asked him if she was for sale
& he said yes, for about a month. I immediately got my phone
out, texted her & told her that I think I had found the boat & it's location in reference to my abode. She then called me & I finally told her this story (in a Cliff note's version). She was amazed! She told me to go ahead & climb on her & check it out to see if this was indeed her! My heart raced! I stepped aboard, slid back the companionway hatch
, & immediate recognized the inside layout, colors, & familiar features. This was her, "The Flower"!! I could barely stand. I sat down inside her, started laughing & sobbing uncontrollably & immediately called Jake. We sat there on the phone
describing ever little intricacy of her.
Tim had done it again!! He had put us in "the flow"! I let the seller know that I intended to buy her today. So all day long, I sat home, staring out the sliding glass doors, looking right down the canal across from me, looking at this beautiful little piece of magic, & thinking to myself how could this have happened? I eagerly anticipated 2pm. When the time came, I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I drove a half a mile around to get to this dock 100 yards away. Now I've never believed in destiny, but here I was undoubtedbly staring at mine in the face! I met Cindy, the seller/owner, immediately gave her a hug, & fought back tears & I elaborated on this wild ride of almost 20 years. Tears were shed, stories were told, & in the end, she basically gave me the little blue "miracle". So as I sit here, typing this account of one of the most extraordinary times in my life, I am the proud new owner of "The Flower". Jake is coming for a visit in a couple days & we plan to take her out for a sail. Timmy had a plan for me & his pride & joy had been sitting there........ waiting for me this whole time. Thank you, Tim, for all you ever did for me (and continue to do!)& know that I miss you more than words will ever let me say. Peace.......
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