The Story of Jerry

Remember the man up on the bluff at the entrance to the narrows who hailed us on our second day? The one who said there'd be a 2nd Duck on the river next summer? (We named him Jerry.)

When I tried to find Jerry 2 autumns ago, I think I went down the correct lane. However when I met a couple out walking their dogs, they said that while that man had indeed lived there, that he had moved out west to be near his son, his only family. I was disappointed; was looking forward to the beginning of a fleet.

Monday I stopped in to the Variety Store while waiting for the library to open. As I went to the counter to pay for my mousetraps, the cashier looked at me searchingly, then asked, 'Are you Helen Opie? The one who sails the little boat?'

I acknowledged I was. She, Amy, was thrilled. She said her husband had talked to me and got so excited about building a Puddle Duck Racer. Since he was the only person who hailed us, I knew that he was 'Jerry' and had not moved out west! His real name is Blake.

Turns out Blake had a stroke more than a year ago and although he has healed well with only a little weakness remaining in his left side, he now struggles with depression. On the weekend, Amy convinced Blake to get himself outdoors and clear some snow with his snowblower. When he came in, he thanked her, saying he felt a lot better.

This made Amy consider what else might stir his interest, and something clicked in the Variety Store to get her to approach me. He doesn't (and won't) use computers, but will look at things she finds for him. She showed him the PDR web site and he got excited again. So I have his phone # and will give him a call as soon as I have the energy. That time has arrived; I have reduced my activities to a level I can do without getting raggedy pulse. At the beginning, I went into atrial fibrillation, now it is only raggedy pulse and what I call the thumpeties because my heart thumps so strongly. Anyhow, we shall go forward, he with building a PDR and I with rebuilding MK to resume my Grand Cruise, for however many more legs I can manage. I might do the rest in 1 day, or 2, or 3, in shorter day trips if not one longer trip. Jenny & Jayar have said they'd pick me up, if they aren't off re-enacting.

Anyhow, I thought you'd like to know that Jerry is alive and on the east coast (N shore of Annap River) and living under his real name, Blake.

Helen O.

Since then, I have learnt that Blake has a brother, another sharer of that same cottage, who did move out west. However, it is Blake who conversed with us. I also learnt that in winter they live on the other side of the river and are friends with the woman who comes to clean for me every 2 weeks. Her 13-year-old son fixed up a derelict canoe someone gave him; another river-player in the area.

AND, a BIG BIG bonus/encouragement: Sandra Phinney and Sue Hutchins want to come along in their canoe again! We had so much laughter as well as deep philosophical conversations and a gourmet supper. And of course their moral support when MK lost her leeboard was invaluable.