Letters from Mike – Angels…, First Date

by Michael Beebe – Rockport, Texas – USA


Angels watching over me. I’ll share with you just three, no make that four experiences in which I should have left behind some body parts. I would make a good OSHA example of what not to do. The first mention goes back to very early twenty’s, maybe 22 at the time. On the big island of Hawaii working construction we were felling some small trees. To build horse stalls I think it was.

Carelessness got the better of me, that and plenty of non-experience. Well, the chain saw got a mite too close to my leg, up around the pockets area. Ouch. It happened so fast I could not say how it happened. The chain, running mind you, caught my Levi’s just at the right pocket cutting through the outer layer and both layers of pocket to just kiss the thigh leaving a reminder to ponder the rest of my life. A scar, yes but no stitches. I think I was done chain sawing for the day.

Years later while nailing off joist hangers twenty-five feet up, the plank I’m standing on starts to go. Letting go the hammer and nails I step off the plank to the cross braces, saying ‘thank you, Jesus’, while the falling plank hits the one below it and crashes to the ground.

I hollered for the helper to get me up another plank. By this time, he was kind of excited and going in several directions at the same time. That Saturday a couple came by to visit, and during the visit says they heard I almost died. When was this my wife wanted to know. I hadn’t even told her.

After retiring, with still all my digits on both hands I almost donated my left thumb to the cause. I guess other things were on my mind, and a new table saw don’t help matters much. The working conditions were not ideal to begin with, no excuses though. I was ripping wood on the table saw and for some reason wasn’t using a push stick. Yep! Left thumb pointing down to the table top. Dead center through the blade.

Bummer! Linda’s in town, both neighbor’s I saw left early that morning and weren’t back yet. Gonna have to drive myself. A stiff one ton dually, a mile plus of a rough dirt rutted road to the pavement, then twelve miles into town. It was a slow go. I stopped by a friends briefly looking for my wife. At the ER, the nurse said have a seat. Then asked to see. “Oh!” She says, “Follow me.” No waiting. It didn’t look so good. A retired fire captain told me it’d be a year before I could use it again. It was.

This last honorable mention I seemed to stop short of open heart surgery. The picture shows the slice in my pull over, at my left breast. A friend in the area stopped by a few months back with his thumb in a bad way. Said he was changing the line on a weed eater with the the bugger still plugged in, and he stepped on the trigger. Sliced it right open. Chills up the spine.

Well this morning the angle grinder needed switched over from grinding to a metal cutting blade, those thin carborundum blades. It was cradled in my left arm as I plugged it in. Zing! That was quick! It was cold this morning or I would not be typing this just yet.

I don’t like to write about this stuff, but to think I’m exempt from the foolishness of life or to act like it never happens is worse. I’m reminded of my realizing years ago, I may be doing stupid things from time to time, and while they’re new to me, I’ve got no corner on the market, it’s been done before.

Welcome to humanity.

First Date

Took her out the other day, first time with the little Summer Breeze. She wasn’t quite ready last October or I would have introduced her to some friends there at the Port Aransas plyWooden boat show.

She was placed on hold while the Paradox took her place. She lingered, my fault. All my fault, actually. Her slowness of build was my procrastination. But now she was splashed a few days ago, just before this 25 degree weather settled down upon us.

In just a day or so the warm will be back and will go again. She behaved nicely, lifted up her skirts she did, and scooted right along in the light airs. A few places the buildings and or parked tugs create small wind canyons is the best I can explain it.

Over in Venture Harbor in California, the summer afternoon breeze when coming in to the guest dock , at times, seems to increase by about four or five knots just when you don’t want it to. Coming in over the port quarter with the dock to starboard. The solution was to shoot past your desired tie up, come about and come into the dock with the wind now over the starboard bow, allowing an easy drop of the mainsail.

Well that’s the kind of wind I had on this first date. Fickle at times, then depending on the relationship of buildings and such, we got to see a bit of speed. Very promising. She’s lite, and although she’s no Fox, she’ll be dancing to her own music. Her leeboards worked fine and I’ll be adding a secondary line up forward to help with setting them, port and starboard. The tiller I may switch over to a half yoke, push pull type of thing, with a long tiller that’ll put me mid ships. I do believe she’ll need some drinking water up forward, maybe 60 plus pounds, unless of course there’s another vying for her attention as well, along for the ride.

I’ve already done most of the Texas two hundred in her, if only in my mind. Oh the plans, the plans, or dreams as some may call them. She’s decked over up forward, and has a small enclosed after deck with flotation as well; both to be used as storage. The pictures show what seems to be her self-steering in the light airs, and I guess she is. I think though she was headed for the beach.

She’ll be a fun little boat. She can carry three times what a back packer could, so she’ll also be earning her keep.

I’ve a niece coming to sail this coast with me in a couple months, I’ll make the introductions, I’m sure they’ll get along fine. The niece is a crew on big boat racing up in the Seattle area. I’m libel to ruin her with these small boats of mine. She’ll never look at a micro cruiser the same.

After all, that’s what the Summer Breeze is, all 11’8″ of her. Can you imagine two of these in the next Texas 200? Why there’d be a real danger of the two of them just sailing on east, never mind turning left at Port O Conner. Call the wife, will ya. Pick us up in Florida.


  1. the quote that goes something like “no knead to ask how i know”… comes to mind

    no telling how many times i have read or written it

    this post caused me to reflect on some of my own personal stupidity and some of that which others have inflicted upon me

    Mike, it amazing that some of us live as long as we do, are able to walk upright and have all our digits… 😉


  2. Mike,there’s this nice property I’ve been trying to buy for years. It goes down to a tidal river in a gentle slope, has an old barn (still solid) that would make a perfect boatshop and is in a quiet area by the Chesapeake. Would it be OK if I took out a life insurance policy on you? 🙂

    Seriously though, glad you made it through all those incidents.

  3. My bloodletting occurred when I was tired, underneath the AF4 I was building, and instead of crawling out from under to go get the right tool, I reached for the convenient tool — the portable power belt sander. Next thing I know two of my fingernails are gone, three fingertips bleeding. I wrap my hand in a dirty towel and rush up the stairs, hollering to my son, thinking he could drive me to the ER. Well he’d recently passed his Red Cross first aid course, so he took me to the sink, washed out the wounds, put some antiseptic goo on them, and wrapped them in gauze and tape. Then I poured myself a double scotch. Went to the doc-in-the-box the next day, and after unwrapping the digits, he said his job would have been neither than my son’s, but no better. There’s a moral in there somewhare.

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