Tribute To A Friend

 He was an entrepreneur, and he enjoyed the good life. This goes hand in hand for me. It might have for him too, it didn’t show.

We didn’t go out and chase chicks together, but in some other lifetime we might have. He already had an awesome wife by the time we met, and a daughter roughly my age, and a son roughly my brother’s. That didn’t prevent him for being my wing-man from time to time. Well, he tried. It wasn’t his fault I wasn’t willing to pursue anything but instead talked to him. There was enough time for girls, I thought. I hope he wasn’t too disappointed in me.

We met one spring day on the outskirts of nowhere, where heaven met earth. You can’t get your car there. You can get a boat, but only if you’re willing to swim last couple of meters – no piers. Peaceful and nurturing – heaven.

He just called in some favors, built a house during winter and bought a used sailboat. Did I mention entrepreneur?

I was just coming back home from a walk to the beach with my brother when friendly but unfamiliar face stopped us and asked for help. He offered us money and the deal was done. Misjudgment on his part, I would have done it for free, I see more value in relationships than money and meeting a new family on the block could be priceless. Good relationships can easily lead to good money and great experiences and good money rarely leads to good relationships. Finding good money on your nightstand won’t make a bad relationship any better. I get it, though, he really needed help and he made it so we didn’t get a chance to say ‘no’.

Few cups of sweat and a couple of hours later, we got home. Our parents were less than pleased about the new guy who uses “child-labor”. Reminding them who was the main muscle on the house they were in didn’t really help either. I’ve worked before so I still don’t get what the big deal was.

They met him the next day and concluded he was ‘ok’. One day more and they were friends. How’s that for judge of character?

Remember that used sailboat? It needed to get in shape in order to sail, so a new deal was made. I was gonna sail for the first time!

He was more eager to get the boat out of the harbor than me, so it wasn’t more than a half hour of work before we started the engine tried starting the engine. Another half an hour of tries later, auxiliary engine was out, and half an hour more and the auxiliary engine was running, you’re welcome.

If a fairy farted, she would have created more wind than there was that day, so let’s fast-forward to another, windy day. All of our sails started the same, so you’re not missing anything ­čÖé

Wind in the hair, beer in the hand, salt on the face and warm sun on the skin. Good life.

In the middle of the canal, half-way across the sea, we decided we could go faster if only we tightened the ropes on the main sail. Hop, hop, main sheet in hand, feet to the ground-sill, weight back, pull. Boom went more and more parallel with the boat. Boat went faster. Suddenly. CRACK!

Ground-sill’s gone to wood-chips!

Boom widened, boat slowed down almost to a stop.

Miles from coast, wind in the hair, beer in the hand, salt on the face and warm sun on the skin. What the frack are we going to do now?!

Wind started turning the boat, and the boom was about to go “boom”!

“Sails down!”

By that time we were well-oiled team so there was no additional harm done. Phew!

The repair was gonna be costly, but this wasn’t the last time we hung out. There were other, much more life-threatening situations that we pulled through, but that’s a story for some other time.

He calmed me down and assured me everything is going to be alright. If you’d known him, you’d know it was a tough feat to pull off. We set up the jib and sailed back to harbor in a much slower pace. Wind in the hair, beer in the hand, salt on the face and warm sun on the skin. Life was good!

You’re gonna be remembered, Danijel!

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