22 August 2008

Musings under sail

Friday, 22 August 2008

Today Jessy and I went out on the boat with Daddy, just the three of us, while Mother took Lisa and J.J. to investigate a dance school for Lisa and to go shopping. We were not out long, but we got some decent sailing done. At first we just sailed straight out about five miles, then we tacked back towards Parramore before turning north again downwind.

We got to talk about things, especially school. Daddy assured us that we would have a ride to school each day instead of taking the bus-- we are not even signed up for it and so not allowed to ride it. He also reminded us to stay a good influence for people, as we always have been, and especially in this rural American area. Coming from a very nice girls' school in England we know this will be a big change for us. Jessy and I have not been to a public American school since that fateful November in 2002 when I got in trouble over the Jesus paper. My stepmother-- not even 21 years old then and barely five months our legal parent-- marched down to the principal and argued for a nice little girl's right to claim Jesus Christ as her role model. How dare a 5th-grade teacher say someone can't say that. The Board finally allowed the paper, but my teacher managed to smirk something like, 'Don't expect any more exceptions', and when Mother heard that she was ready to thrash her. Her response was to withdraw us from school and to teach us at home. And we had a great time doing that, wearing our old-fashioned Colonial gowns, opening our lessons with Bible readings and prayer, breaking for tea at 11 and having lunch with a pot of soup warmed over an actual fire. We read a lot, wrote a lot, talked a lot, and went on cultural trips to historic sites and hiked the beach park for our nature/science lessons. And Jessy and I were both able to transfer to HOH and stay even a little ahead of those standards. This is from having a precocious academic-genius stepmother for a teacher :)

Daddy is an extremely honest and trustworthy person who tends to trust everyone else implicitly. He truly loves all people. Being a performer was probably the best job he could have had. Before Mommy died she tended to keep him grounded and sensible, doing the chequebook, all the charity projects, and even a lot of the recording-studio work. But our stepmother, while she is a very good partner for him in so many ways, especially with caring for us four, is only as trusting and honest as Daddy is. I mean-- we have an accountant now :)

On the way back he had Jessy and I pull up the big jib and the boat slowly wandered back toward the Inlet. We were going to lie down on the foredeck but didn't want to leave Daddy all alone back there. Still we had been sitting up on the cabintop sightseeing and hadn't looked back for a few minutes when he leaned over and said, 'What are you guys doing up here?'

We both gave a jump and then whirled round to see no one at the wheel. 'What are YOU doing up here?' I teased.

He shrugged and stood with his hands in his pockets, as easy as a seasoned sea captain on the side deck with the boat minding its own course. You have to remember that when Daddy calls us 'guys' it means we are totally sexless to him, that he thinks of us only as personalities and intellects and not as two cute chicks in bikinis (and sometimes less!). And then there are the times when he is very particular about our femininity, always knocking on doors, allowing us to sit first at the table, opening the car door, and so on, setting the example of what a gentleman should be like towards us as we became ladies. Mommy was always a good role model for little girls; our stepmother was the one we, at least I, turned to at those awkward years; and all through it Daddy has been a perfect gentleman. We know what he means when he cautions us about remaining a good influence and keeping ourselves unstained from the world. Jessy and I have both agreed we are going to wear skirts to school on the first day, and skirts or dresses as much as we can after that. Why not? --we wore skirts at HOH. And it makes us look and feel ladylike. A lady's best defence is her femininity-- look and act like a lady, and people will treat you like one. And going into a whole new school and cultural experience, we can at least be true to what we know, and how we have been raised-- and what our daddy expects of us.


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