Wednesday, January 14, 2009


My favorite winter ritual - spectacle, really - is the Parade of Lighted Boats. I first moved to Annapolis in November 6 years ago, I was living on the boat alone while Dan finished his teaching contract for the semester in Michigan. He arrived after a snowy 12-hour drive with our cat and dog on a Friday night in mid-December and I said, "Guess where we're going tomorrow." My glassy-eyed spouse said, "Whatever," so next evening we bundled up and staked out spots on the dock of the Chart House overlooking Spa Creek, not quite knowing what to expect.
We were absolutely dazzled by the elaborateness of the displays, some serious, some humorous, but all generous gifts of the skippers' time and energy to the community. Proof that the holiday mood is indeed contagious, the restaurant staff came outside and served us all hot chocolate - unexpected, unasked-for, and hence doubly warming.
Sailboats are naturals for decorating with holiday lights, with their tall masts and rails to hang lights from. Ours sports a swirl of green rope lights, a sketch of an Xmas tree topped with an anchor light in lieu of a treetop star - a sort of nautical visual pun. But that's nothing compared to the extraordinary energy put into the displays for the parade. One of my marina neighbors explained just how much energy. Christy had been a liveaboard until she reluctantly gave up the liveaboard life in 2005 when the long hours demanded of her job as a lawyer made the commute to Annapolis ridiculous; she still describes herself as a part-time liveaboard. She volunteered her boat to do the parade for the Singles on Sailboats club simply because it was an opportunity to do something different. "I've never been in a boat parade before. You can keep your boat pristine and perfect if you keep it at the dock and don't do anything." Christy and fellow club member Frank Florentine began work on the display in September, for a project they described as "simple" compared to that of previous years. Frank's day job is as lighting designer for the Air and Space Museum, so he had perhaps an edge and he brought those tricks, as well as with meticulous computer drawings of the planned display. and 10 club members worked every weekend for the last few weeks to bring it to completion.
photo caption: Members of the Singles on Sailboats club Ron Pence, Jody Hutchins, Terri Craig, Mary Ann Bleeke, Christy Tinnes work on a display for tonights parade. Frank Florentine is up the mast.

No comments:

Post a Comment