As most of you know, I am from Oklahoma. I was born in Oklahoma City, but Arcadia, Oklahoma is where I grew up, spending time with my very large, and very supportive, extended family. Arcadia is an historic town. Oklahoma has numerous historically all Black towns, and although Arcadia is usually not on the official list for some reason, it fit this description. It sits just off the historic Route 66, and the town begins at another major landmark, the famous Round Barn of Arcadia (above, restored to its former glory). My grandfather helped to build this barn originally, and I have pictures of him soaking the massive timbers in water and then putting them into molds to shape them into the required curved shape. My Traylor/Johnson family, and our extended cousins and friends in Arcadia helped to shape who I am today, and I draw upon their strength constantly.
While Oklahoma is an extremely flat and landlocked state, I grew up with a tremendous love for mountains and the sea. Perhaps it was the absence of both growing up, or the abundance of natural and constructed lakes in the state. However, in my entire childhood, I cannot remember ever being on a boat of any time, much less a sailboat. When I was in high school, I would sometimes go to the docks around Lake Hefner and see both the sailboats and powerboats, but never had any inclination that one day I would be able to pilot such a vessel myself (much less own one!).
As far as I can remember, my first ride on a boat was when I went to college at the University of Houston, and I took a ferry ride in Galveston. I loved it, and went down as frequently as I could to take the short trip across a bit of Galveston Bay. Much later, I would take an overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki, on the Silja line. Again, I found this time on the water to be absolutely fascinating. But, believe me I kept my eye on the life jackets, with visions of the Titanic in my head. Nonetheless, it was absolutely clear to me that the water held a very special place for me; albeit at this point a greatly unrequited love.