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Boats, archery and dixie-land jazz

What do all of these things have in common?

My grampa, James K.  He was gentle and patient and always seem to be humming, or at least that’s how I remember him.  My three brothers and I would drive from San Antonio, Texas to Aspen, Colorado to go and visit my grandparents and aunt and uncle.  It was where I learned to ski with the Powder Pandas, and where we would go for endless hikes through the mountain fueled by Baba Lily’s inexhaustible supply of starbursts, craisins, and sandwiches with buttered bread.  We would get into all kind of trouble running around and playing in rivers and scree slopes and when we fell, twisted an ankle, or managed to get a tiny pebble shoved under our toenail (no judgment, Poobah) James K would sort us out, wrap us up, or poke a hole and fish out said pebble.

He would also help us make boats out of popsicle sticks or twigs, he taught me how to shoot an arrow from a bow and not thwap myself with the string, he could play a mean trumpet and trombone, and he always had ice cream in the freezer.  I find myself thinking of him often while I’m here, when I catch myself humming, when I build robots, and when I think of getting back to Idaho and bowfishing.  I try to be patient and kind and gentle, and although I know I fall short I keep trying to be the kind of person that he was.

I had a dream about him not long before he died when my family was visiting him in the hospital.  We were in the big park in Aspen where we used to watch the 4th of July fireworks, next to the gazebo, and I was looking up at the moon being sad.
“Why do you look so sad, Sophie?”
Suddenly I’m six years old again and my hand is lost in his,
“Because I don’t think I’ll ever get to go there”
And its the saddest thing I can think of, a heart-broken little girl who just want to go to the moon, but he laughs, all deep and rumbly, and as he says “Sometimes things look difficult or far away when really they’re just within your grasp” he swoops an ice cream cone through the sky, catches the moon and gives it to me.  It’s the best orange-vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted and just like that, no more sadness.

And so in honor of my grampa, I made one more popsicle stick boat.  The six-year-old in me would be proud, for I’ve combined all of the things I’ve learned these past 20 years and put them into a design that Kevin Costner (Waterworld rocks!) and James K could be proud of.  Zak helped me 3D print the parts and I can now present to you, the 3D design for crown jewel of the Martian Naval Force:

The Knobber Bobber

Pontoon style sailing ship, ready to be tested on the  open waters of sMars
Pontoon style sailing ship, ready to be tested on the open waters of sMars

The actual Bobber has been constructed and pictures will be taken as soon as the long-awaited 6 hour EVA commences.  Check back for pictures and such then.




2 thoughts on “Boats, archery and dixie-land jazz

  1. Oh Sophie What an amazing beautiful tribute to James K… You are truly a gifted Lady in sooooo many ways.. Thank you soooo much for sharing with me…have read and re read it so may times… And have sent it on to Craig who I know will really appreciate it to…I have printed out the boat and framed … So great… In a few weeks you will be landing on earth…. Safe LandingCongratulations on an amazing venture… It .has been such a joy to reading your..blogs 30 of them arrived in the middle of May… I was so happy to receive them… Be well and happy mary


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