Tuesday, April 22, 2014


St. Helena, CA

When we were searching for a rental house, we looked at a beautiful cottage here in St. Helena. It was tucked behind the house of an elderly Swiss couple, Teresa and Rudy.

Rudy had recently suffered a stroke, and Chip, being Chip, wanted to do some chores for them. We stopped by today and chatted about life and wine and sailing. Rudy was interested to hear of our sailing and told of a long trans-Pacific sail he took with his nephew in 2000. He showed us photos, an actual album, and watched with delight as we looked at them. Then he shuffled across to a corner bookshelf, rummaged around and came back with a small, worn spiral notebook with weathered pages. Printed on the front it said, "Nothing Happens Unless First a Dream." Inside, in a careful hand, all capital letters, was a log of 58 days at sea.

He loaned it to us, so from our landlocked cottage, we can feel the wind pick up at 4 a.m. on day 35. We can taste the fish stew Rudy cooked for dinner after seeing the first ship in more than a week. Do you think we miss being on the water yet?

When we first met Teresa last month, she told us Rudy was a baker and confectioner before retiring.

"He gets frustrated since his stroke. He can't do what he used to."

"Can he still bake?" I asked.

"He can't bake bread, but he can still break it," she said. "That's what's important."

Today, as we were leaving, Rudy shuffled into the garage, past a sprawling world map taped to the wall.

"I still shudder when I look at how huge that ocean is," Teresa said, looking at Rudy's route marked with a highlighter.

Rudy came back out and handed me a white paper bag.

"I baked this loaf this morning," he said. "I can't work the dough like I used to, but it's okay."

Cross an ocean. Bake a loaf of bread.

Nothing happens unless first a dream.

Today, I'm grateful for: bread and fellow dreamers.