Sailing with Charlie: Dad’s Choice

Mum and Dad, with offspring Joe, 13 years, Fred, 15, and
cousin Fran, 12, were on the first day of a week’s sailing tuition.
Charlie had decided to anchor in the pretty cove of
Benures Bay
on Norman Island’s north coast.

As usual,
there were four choices of menu for the evening meal: chicken, fish, steak and
burgers. Charlie was just approaching the bay and everyone was sitting in the
cockpit so he threw out the question, “What does everyone feel like for
dinner? These are the choices…”

As usual,
no-one wanted to commit. After a moment, with just a faint frown, Mum said,
“I really don’t mind, it all sounds good to me.”

Dad said,
“I don’t mind.”

Joe said,
“I’m easy.”

said, “I don’t care. Don’t make no
difference to me.”

said, with upturned palms and a faint shrug, “Hey, I’m with you

someone had a brilliant idea, “Dad, you’re the eldest.
You choose”

turned to Dad, who looked worriedly at everyone in turn. Then, after a long
pause, he said, “All right then, CHICKEN!” in a triumphant voice,
as though he’d just issued an ultimatum that would end the
Iraq war.

There was
a hush, another long pause. Then Joe said, “Dad, CHICKEN!
How boring.”

agreed, “That wouldn’t a been my

being non-confrontational, said, “We are
on vacation, dear.”

wishing to remain neutral, repeated, “Hey, I’m with you

Dad, with
a shrug and a helpless gesture, said, “Well, I really don’t

It was obvious
that something had to be done so Charlie suggested motoring around to the Bight and
eating at the Willy T. Everyone enjoyed a great fish dinner…except Joe.
He ordered chicken and chips…and nobody said a word. At the end of the
week, Charlie emptied six pieces of chicken into the trash.

weeks later, Charlie told me this story and then said, “The starving
people of the world could live happily on what Americans throw away… and
that’s food for thought!

Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.