Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Over the Christmas holiday all eight members of the Tillerman US clan gathered at our house for traditional Christmas fare and merry times together.

Eight! How did that happen. All of a sudden I'm the patriarch of a family of eight. Me and the beautiful Tillerwoman, two handsome sons, two sons' gorgeous partners, and two adorable grandchildren. OK, my younger son's fiancee doesn't have the same last name as the rest of us until that wedding by the water planned for next September but as far as I am concerned
they are all family.

In my new role as patriarch (I like that word) I feel it's important that I establish some family Christmas traditions.

  1. All the family, however large it grows (and we wouldn't complain about a few more grandchildren in the coming years) should gather together under the same roof at Christmas for at least one night. Yeah, I know there are the in-law families to consider too, but with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and Boxing Day, not to mention weekends before and after, I don't think it's too much to ask that we find a way to synchronize plans so that we can all gather together once at Christmas. Hey, if one of the eight of us ever becomes rich and famous (or just filthy rich for that matter) we could even have our family Christmas get-together at some resort in the BVI at his or her expense.

  2. Granddad should always receive some sailing-related presents. This year I receive two real doozies. The C-Vane and Dave Perry's Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012.

    • The C-Vane is the very last word in wind indicators for Lasers. At least, until someone else comes up with a new last word. My current wind indicator is Web 1.0 to the C-Vane's Web 3.0. My current instrument was even laughed at this year by a certain Laser Sailing God. When the gods laugh at you it's time for a change.

    • And Dave Perry's book is the last word on interpreting the Racing Rules. At least until they change the rules again in four years and poor old Dave has to write a new version of his book and every serious racing sailor has to buy the new edition. Poor old Dave.

      It's fantastic to have a world-class Racing Rules expert like Dave to explain the new rules to me. I'm hoping I can find material in the book which will be an inspiration for some more wonky posts here in the same vein as Both Leeward and Both Starboard where I can show off my truly awesome understanding of the Rules.

      So on Christmas Day I found a quiet corner and sat down with the book and, with my usual arrogant attitude, after only thirty minutes had discovered one definite mistake and one area where Dave's interpretation of a rule didn't make a lot of sense for Laser sailing. Should I write poor old Dave a polite note or should I write a scathing review of the book on the blog in a series of increasingly wonkish, impenetrable, argumentative posts?

      Hmmm. Tough one.

  3. My final new Christmas family tradition is that everyone in the family should share their aspirations for sailing for the coming years. This one is a bit of a stretch as the only confirmed sailors in the family are myself and my two sons... and son #2 hasn't done much sailing since high school. But in the last few days I made some good progress in establishing this tradition.

    • Son #2 volunteered, out of the blue, that he and his fiancee plan to take some sailing lessons next year with a view to chartering a yacht during their honeymoon in September.

    • Aforementioned fiancee expressed her approval of this plan. Wow.

    • When I mentioned their plans to Tiller-daughter-in-law the next day she said that she planned to take sailing lessons when her daughter Emily (currently three years old) learns to sail. Double wow.

    • Son #2 also expressed an interest in getting involved in some big boat racing series.

    • Son #1 a.k.a. The Whippersnapper was dreaming about buying a Flying Scot and teaching his kids to sail in it, and also racing it competitively on the local circuit. He even had me checking The Google on The Internet Machine to find out the prices of new Flying Scots.

    So that just leaves Tillerwoman (a lost cause as far as sailing is concerned I fear) and Aidan who is too young to have an opinion on the matter, and everyone in the Tillerman clan has expressed (or had expressed for them) some kind of aspiration to do some sailing at some (not always well defined) date in the future.

    Hmmm. A tradition has started.
Life is good.


Anonymous said...

Don't you mean 9 family members, what about the dog?

Tillerman said...

Maggie, just because you're the only dog in the world that leaves comments on Blogger, it doesn't make you a member of the family. Anyway, in doggie years you're older than me and we can only have one patriarch.

O Docker said...

If Son #1 got a Flying Scot, I'll bet grandad would crew more often than not.

Maggie could fill in as afterguard on non-race days.

But, yikes - those new boat prices!

Tillerman said...

Exactly O Docker. I did use the word "dream" to describe the Flying Scot aspiration. "Hallucination" might have been more accurate.

I do not imagine that son #1 will actually be acquiring a new Flying Scot in the near future, but I would not be surprised to see him ease into it via crewing on some someone else's boat, and then finding a good deal on a second-hand one in a year or two.

And Maggie's status in the crusty old patriarch's eyes as a family member may well depend on how strong a commitment she shows to sailing in 2009. A picture of her actually sailing would help her candidacy a lot.

Zen said...

makes me all misty eyed, sniff

Zen said...

I also started a tradition this year, but it has to do with my Kung Fu class, Sake , Tai Chi , meditation and kicking butt.

But that's another blog


Pat said...

Tradition, tradition! Without it we'd be as unstable as ... a foredeck hand sent up the masthead on a stormy reach without a bo'sun's chair. Or a novice sailing a Laser by the lee in big waves while trying to remember what Dave Perry said about boats sailing by the lee on the same tack.

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

[[[hugs]]] You're a gorgeous husband, father and father-in-law! Enjoy.

Post a Comment