Monday, May 2, 2016

PHOENIX OF HIROSHIMA: The day she gave me whiplash




     In March, 2007, Leeann Roxx, then-owner of the Phoenix, tracked me down on the net. "You can have her for the amount of the recent dock fees," she told me. "Would you like her?"
     I said no. Long Beach does have a marina but Jerry and I had other projects and interests. I didn't seriously consider it. But I was intrigued enough to ask Jerry if we could at least drive up to San Francisco and see her--his first time, my first in decades.
     The yacht, mastless and otherwise hardly recognizable, still had PHOENIX of HIROSHIMA branded on her thigh. She was at a dock, riding high, and since there was no other way to get aboard, Jerry locked his fingers for me to stand in. I sort of lunged as he boosted and I made a one-point landing on deck--on my chin. I had to see our chiropractor when we got back home, which led to this odd exchange:
     "You have whiplash."
     "I do? I was on a boat!"
     "How fast was it moving?"
     "It wasn't moving. It was tied to a dock!"
     When I turned down the Phoenix, LeeAnn advertised it on craigslist: "FREE: 50-foot yacht" and John Gardner paid the fees. On March 24 reporter Jeff Hood ran an interview with John in his column at recordnet.com. The headline was supposed to read, "Lodi man working to turn historic ship into a vessel for second chances" but they accidentally used a "t" instead of a "p." After my first shock (newspapers usually edit out such language!) I found it hilarious. Editors hastily corrected the typo and I think I'm the only person in the world to have a print-out of the original version.
     Historic ship or historic ****, she will always hold a cherished place in my heart--even if she did give me whiplash.

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