Dear Friend of CHARIAD:

What is there to say?

The story begins at the outdoor bar at Smith & Wollensky on the Cut at South Beach, Miami. I had flown from Boston after moderating a program for 200 people in Cambridge that turned out to be one of the last large public events in Boston.

Steve Herman, Kathy Gunst, John Bishop, Trish, JoAnn Mathieu, and I are enjoying the warm evening while watching the cruise ships leaving Miami in above photo.

Cruise ship leaving Miami Florida

Steve had asked me to come to Miami to help him on the Race Committee for the Coconut Grove Sailing Club’s Miami Race Week. Steve had a big job organizing the three days of racing on Biscayne Bay for crews and boats from all over the world.

When I arrived on Thursday, the club and the race fleets announced the races were postponed for a week because of high winds. I had lost my race committee job before the first gun. Sunday is when most of the cruise ships leave Miami to start their holiday voyages. Making the scene at S&W to watch the ships come down the Cut heading for the ocean is a must do on my visits to Miami.

We were starting to hear stories about school closings and closures in New York and Boston. But life in our world was quite wonderful. Sun and temps in the low 80s. We went snorkeling and sailing. And I was jobless.

But life is never as rosy as it seems. I had given myself a deadline of finishing the last chapter of my book before leaving for this long weekend vacation. The requirements of the program I lead kept me from finishing the chapter. I brought my computer with me and worked on it while on vacation. Steve’s condo faces east looking over Biscayne Bay. Truly beautiful vista over sailboats and the bay. Most sunny mornings, Steve was at one end of his dining table and I was at the other end. The shades were drawn because the sun was too bright. I was working on my book and Steve was working on his race committee. My friends in Boston, like Steve Perry, were watching the Spring Break news videos on TV believing I was having Dark and Stormies and one sex orgy after another on the beach every afternoon. Next year, perhaps. This year, I finished the first draft of my book, Create the Future – for your company and yourself, on vacation sitting at Steve’s dining room table.

Everything on my calendar in Boston was cancelled. I had no reason to go back to Boston. And Steve wanted me to stay for the re-scheduled regatta the following Fri, Sat, Sun. Waiting on hold for four hours was the only hope for reaching Delta. I packed my bag and Uber’ed to the airport. I got through security and went to my gate for the flight to Boston. By chance there was a senior Delta person at the gate who changed my flight to the following Monday. Rolling my bag, I went back to Steve’s in Coconut Grove.

Friday, more alarming stories from Boston. The Boston Yacht Club is closed. Harvard told all students not to return to campus. Those on campus must leave. But we had a regatta to run. On the water, Steve bosses me around critiquing my flag raising and lowering skills.

Regatta in Florida

As Friday goes on, the stress level rises. We are getting calls saying the mayor of Miami is closing public parks to large gatherings. The race boats are in the park and the regatta permit may be pulled. The yacht club is debating whether to continue the regatta in light of the mayor’s proclamation.

By the time we are back on shore, the last two days of the regatta have been cancelled. I have been fired again.

In truth, I had it easy. Saturday morning, I went to the dining room table to work on my book about 6:30 AM. I usually worked a couple hours before Steve was up. That morning, Steve was at his computer working on the race results. I then heard the rest of the story. In addition to running the committee boat, Steve had ordered sandwiches for all the racers and the race committee for the three day regatta. Sometime after midnight, Steve remembered that he had not cancelled the sandwich order for Sat and Sun. At 4 AM, Steve was in front of Subway to cancel the order. He had to wait until 6 AM for someone to show up.

Now what?

Miami has a lot of great public art. Steve and I toured the Design District. The Boston art scene in inside and private. The Miami art scene is outside and very public. This is a piece of art depicting the red plastic cups that are standard issue for drinks on CHARIAD.

Rick Williams and red cup public art in Miami, Florida

Beside being fired twice, other folks were not happy with me for trying to find a harpoon, Nantucket tradition, to capture a manatee. Manatee burgers on the grill was my pitch.

Florida manatee

Monday and time to get on my flight to Boston. The flight is FULL. We arrived in Boston at noon. COLD! Logan is empty. The streets are empty.

I got home. Most of the batteries in my life were dead. The smokes, the remotes, my mouse. The hot water is off. I went to Stop and Shop and Costco to get provisions.

Empty frozen food bins in Costco during spring of 2020

The shelves are empty. This was Costco’s chicken and fish displays. No TP, no soap. Two weeks later, chicken like food is in the stores. Forget about TP or soap.

I have made good progress on my book since getting back. I hope to get a good draft to the publisher by the end of April. I have gotten my bike out and had my first spring ride Friday evening. Good sign.

Now what?  The BYC is still closed. The boat yard/marina is open. We will have to see what happens over the next couple of weeks. If the weather cooperates and some of us can get to the yard, we can get started with spring boat work.

I planned to share my thoughts on how the next few months will play out. But this is too long already. I will finish with the observation that we decide what we will make of our lives. The crisis of the moment sets boundaries on what we can do. The question is what we will make of our lives within the boundaries we do not control.

I spent time yesterday at the Buddhist retreat near me in Medford. This is where the Dali Lama comes when he is in Boston.

Buddhist retreat in Medford, Massachusetts

Fear and apprehension are realities for many. Finding time for peace is important for each of us.

Wherever this message finds you in this wonderful and scary world, I hope you and your family are safe.

Be well.