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Old 11-15-2012
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Re: The Cruising Community

My first trip on a sailboat was a month long trip around Lake Michigan. We left Chicago, headed for the Michigan shore, sailed up north to Mackinac, hitting harbors along the way, and came back through Green Bay and along the Wisconsin shore, our last stop being in Milwaukee before heading back home.

I already knew boaters were a great bunch of people. I had already seen that in the harbors in Chicago. When we stopped at the first harbor on the trip, it was the same thing. And the same at the next and the next. If there was anyone near on the docks, they would be there asking you to throw them your lines. At times I would see a boater running over to help.

I was in my mid 20's at the time. A time of life when one can be somewhat self-absorbed. But the boating community was teaching me how much better it was to give, to help, to be open and friendly. I grew up on the south side of Chicago. Some neighbors I knew, some I rarely saw. Boating was such a different experience.

At first I didn't think of the differences. I just loved the friendliness of the marine community and didn't question it. But when I did think about it, I thought maybe the difference comes from the fact we are all challenged by the same thing, Mother Nature. At times she can be pleasure and at times she can be your worst enemy. We all know this and that becomes the tie that binds.

Whatever it is, I don't care. I love the community and I miss it a lot.
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