So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Roads Not Taken
It’s funny how life is full of little zig zags. You start out doing one thing, then something else entirely comes up. Off you go into another new and different adventure. I’ve been reflecting on a few of of those times when life could have gone one way but went another.
I’m not talking about the inadvertent things that derailed my plans. Life is full of those. This is about a few of those choices that resulted in roads not taken.
The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Notice he took the road less traveled and that it made all the difference. However, there’s no value judgment if that road turned out better or worse. In that spirit I think I’ll mention a few roads not taken.
Back around ‘93 or ‘94 my lovely wife and I came close to buying a building and opening a bookstore. We knew there wasn’t a lot of money in it, but we do happen to love books. The only way to make the numbers work was to be able to purchase a building on the cheap. There was one in our price range. The building looked like it could work. One of the things that killed the deal is that I discovered that the septic system was subpar -and actually located on the neighbor’s land. We never did find the right conditions for a bookstore.
Then there was the time we were tempted to buy a campground. That venture might have financially broken us had we gone forward. One thing I didn’t like is that lovely wife would have to work full time while I managed the campground. That didn’t look like much fun.
Once I came dangerously close to buying an old VW microbus. I spent a good while haggling with a husband and wife about their bus. We were only a few hundred apart, but I refused to go up and the wife refused to go down. The husband wanted the cash in my hand so bad, but the title was in the wife’s name and she wasn’t budging. In the end I walked away as the couple was in the middle of nasty marital spat. Instead of buying that bus I bought an old Mercedes diesel and got into vegetable oil fuels.
There were a lot of roads not taken when it came to boats. We were offered a free 40 foot wooden ketch in sail away condition. The couple had it based out of Rockport Maine and were looking to give it to couple younger then them who would keep it sailing. I was sorely tempted, but my lovely wife said no. In the end I’m thankful she put her foot down as a maintaining a wooden boat is a full time job.
Then I refused a free catamaran that was offered to me after our shipwreck. It only needed a good cleaning. The owner suddenly lost his storage and I could have had it for the price of moving it. Too bad my lovely wife wasn’t quite ready to get back on a boat. Had I know she’d get over it in less than two weeks I might have said yes.
This past summer we were tempted by a couple of boats. There was a Pearson 26 that was clean and looked good. However, I discovered the keel boats were little piles of rust. We would not have had much time to fix it and I was leery of doing a rush job on something so vital as a keel.
During that same shopping trip we inspected a British Westerly sailboat that had bilge keels. It was a stoutly built boat and the information on the Internet looked good. We happened to look at the boat after a heavy rain. There was a good four or five inches of water sloshing around inside the cabin. Then there was the little issue of the trailer. One of the draws was that fact that such a seaworthy style boat was on a trailer. Once we got there we discovered the owner never actually launched from a ramp. He always had a crane launch and recover the boat. For me, the whole idea of a trailer was to eliminate things like lift fees. So between the wet cabin and dodgy trailer we moved on.
Oh well, such is life. Those are just a few roads we did not go down. We probably could have made any number of those decisions work -or at the very least we would have learned from them. One thing about life, while you can go down a lot of paths, you can’t go down all of them.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.