The Origami Boat

After the snow and chill of yesterday's crazy Spring weather, my son and I decided to play outdoors this afternoon. We made 3 kinds of boats and took them down to our stream for a boat race. The one made

with sticks, twine, and a leaf sail was one I was shown how to make by a friend when I was a kid growing up on a quiet, dead-end street in a small town in New Jersey. The walnut shell boat was one I had seen floating around Pinterest, and the red origami boat was one my uncle showed me how to make while I was visiting family in India as a child. We were visiting during monsoon season so it rained...a lot. Rather than have the cousins bored inside my grandmother's home, my uncle showed me and my cousins how to fold these boats and sail them down the flooded streets outside my grandmother's front door. We'd scramble through the house finding materials. Most of our boats were made out of old newspaper, discarded food packaging, and if we could get our hands on it, waxed paper. Whoever found that stuff knew they wouldn't have to keep remaking their boats, so it was prized material. Folding the origami paper with my son brought back memories of my uncle. He passed away last September from health issues related to his alcoholism. I know some people will gasp when they hear me mention alcoholism. For some, alcohol addiction is a family secret that should never be revealed. Here's the thing folks, doesn't everyone have their vices? Gambling, drinking, coffee, cell phone use, shopping, internet...etc. Some vices are worse than others. Some are more obvious. For those who love food, it's so easy to see their vice as it clings to their tummy, chin, and waist. The thing about alcoholics is that it's easy to hide, especially in the beginning. Oh readers, I wish you could have known him in his prime. He was funny, smart, stubborn, and multi talented. He could play a keyboard. He could build his own computers. He won numerous tennis trophies. He could solve a Rubik's Cube in seconds. He had such a distinct, annoying laugh that always made everyone around him laugh. He was amazing! I just don't think he ever realized how amazing he was... Today when we sent the boats sailing down our backyard stream, the walnut boat quickly tipped over, filled up with water, and sank. The boat made of twigs with a leaf sail lumbered along, bumping and thumping the entire way. It was the bright red paper boat, the one my uncle taught me how to make as a child, that sped by all the others. It sailed so smoothly downstream barely noticing rocks and twigs that had collected along the edge of the water. My son tried desperately to keep up with it but the current pulled it away. He was so disappointed to lose the winning boat. I promised to help him make a new one. He shook his head no. He looked at me sadly and said, "It's not the same. It won't be like THAT one." I agreed. That boat was amazing! ~HZM

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