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Log Entry

in memory - a yachting tribute - Don McBride

Today I got a call, about 1530, and it was a funeral home calling to tell me that my very dear friend Don McBride had passed away.


I met Don on E dock in the Piney Narrows Yacht Haven marina in the Kent Narrows where I lived on my sailboat CALIX and he had is sailboat COLEMAR. This was 2008. He was an avid sailor. He loved his wife and his Maine Coon cat named Misha. For whatever stars aligned we became friends and enjoyed more than a few gin and tonic/sodas together, a love of jazz and big band, as well as Chicago and a band we saw together with Brad at Ramshead back in 2019, Leonid & Friends.



Getting a call like that at work is difficult like you'd imagine, and thanks to the good people there, I made it through the rest of the day and came home to Brad who had a gin and soda ready for me.


We sat by the firepit and recalled many a moment with Don. Besides our sailing and music loves, by the way he led a big band way back in the day whereupon he met his wife who was a singer, we remembered his presence for our wedding day, the times he visited down from NJ where he lived, to hang with his boating club, but always stopped by to visit us for at least an overnight so we could gin it into the wee hours.


Covid put a damper on in person visits but we all took up Zoom and it ended up being such a beautiful thing. We talked most every weekend with sometimes extended chats when we would put up jazz music videos on YouTube and just listen and comment and have fun. We last did a Zoom this past Sunday 9/27.


One of the funniest, best moments, not on the water, but of recent note, was last fall, when Covid had calmed down and Don came for a short visit. His timing was scheduled so he would be here while our good friend Berke - The Cannon Man - was visiting. I will never forget that day, that Sunday, when I asked both gentlemen to assist me with hanging a large flat screen TV. Brad decided this was not his gig and went off to research the history of... something yachty...


Hilarity ensued. Berke, being with an engineering background, and Don, have worked with engineers at the fusion lab in Princeton, pretty much had this thing figured out. However, I, being me, had to delve into making sure the mounting was PERFECT. The right spacing above the front speaker, the right height from the viewing chairs, blah blah blah. Between me and Berke, we took one measurement, then re-checked it a 100 times. Don deferred to me and Berke, but he kept us from devolving into chaos. Centimeters, fractions of inches. We shared so many funny moments that day, I feel sometimes like it was yesterday.


One of the interesting things about that day was that I made the conscious decision to NOT take any pictures but to remember everything about it in my head, not to make it a post to Twitter, or Instagram, etc. It was too precious, too sincere, just real people together being the best of who they are in a great moment.


Berke is visiting during the Annapolis boat shows and arrives in less than a week. Don had reserved a room locally to be here. With heavy heart, Brad called Berke with the news.


But Don is remembered for so much fun and joy he brought to the table, mostly the gin. No, just kidding, he also taught me much about music in a classic jazz way - he played horn. I can only imagine his big band days. He did share some pictures during our many Zoom calls, of him water skiing or playing in the band or whatever. He was family to us, Brad and I (and Becket).


I could go on but, I miss you already Don, I was so excited you were coming to visit and it may have been your zest for living you wanted to do it but your physical being just wasn't going to agree. Don (and to your family) you will live on with every jazz CD you ever shared, the Chicago and Leonid concerts we planned to go to (tonight Chicago played at the Bloomsburg Fair which we wanted to get to but Covid and tickets messed it up), the Star Clippers sail we were planning on, the visit to the Deer's Head Inn to see Eric Mintel, and so much more.



Since no post can be without the theme, I give to you a most uproarious moment... so Don, you remember that "I love yachting" moment when Brad nearly lost his mind because he couldn't get that damn dinghy motor started? He nearly pulled the cord out, almost fell in the water (while in the Kent Narrows - not a place to go swimming), swore enough in those few minutes for most people's lifetime, and entertained us for a good 20 minutes with one simple, frustrating act of dinghy motor non-compliance. I think we laughed for days and well, it's been years and we're still laughing, together...

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