Friday, May 28, 2010

Brokeback Kayak

My back has been killing me for days. It's a combination of doing things that aggravate it (running), not doing enough of things that help it (stretching) and things that just can't be good (cross-country flights in the middle seat seated next to Jabba the Hutt). Today I decided I'd rest it, which meant skipping my AM bootcamp class. I think I may need to get a better understanding of what it means to rest, however, as 6 PM found me at Columbia Island Marina as usual, ready to hit the water - after some extra back stretches. How wise was it to load the 50 lb. boat onto the car and spend a couple of hours paddling and rolling? Well, to tell you the truth I felt better when I got off the water then when I started. I'm a firm believer that, absent significant pain, movement is better than immobilization for healing muscle problems.

After getting off the water and having dinner with the kayakers I still had some time to kill before picking David up from his video master class, so I went and had a beer at a bar in Clarendon. Unfortunately, the threatened thunderstorms finally hit and I got soaked as I dashed the three blocks from the bar to the studio.

Morals of the story: (a) activity beats inactivity; (b) stretching helps a great deal; (c) Advil and Belgian beer is an excellent combination, and (d) like it or not, I think I can't really be a runner anymore.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Farewell to Frank

Today a memorial service was held for Frank Baxter, longtime owner and scion of the founder of Jack's Boathouse in Georgetown. Frank passed away last November. The service, held on the docks at Jack's, was informal but heartfelt. Those of us in attendance: customers, friends, relatives, people from other boathouses, various river people, family, and current Jack's management, each stepped forward to give our reminiscences and tributes. I offered an anecdote relating to Frank's incredible knowledge of and oneness with the river.

Jack's became my paddling home shortly after I started kayaking in '99. Frank was a great guy, even though I now realize there was far more to him than I even knew - hidden behind a gruff and reticent exterior. Frank, you'll be missed.

[Note: The overhead shot of the boathouse is from a rally years ago when Jack's was in danger of being steamrollered to make way for a restaurant barge. I am in the photo in the "rasta" red/yellow/green kayak (my first boat!) near the lower right corner of the photo]