Well I’ve taken my time with this, but the ‘raft’ was unnamed – how would I request lockage through the many locks on the Upper Mississippi without a call-sign? Just didn’t seem right not to have one – “Waggit-Adder” and “Hoof-Hearted” were taken by some race horses (they really didn’t fit a boat either) – so figured I’d just wait and see if something better came along.
I had given names to the trucks I had driven years ago, ‘Betsy Ross” was the older International, and then “Naomi,” for the new one (don’t ask the reason because I don’t think I’ve ever known a Naomi) – but each name fit the trucks unique personalitiy – it worked and for some reason made things easier and fun….
Even my children were not given names immediately, sure we had a few on had – but we held them close, felt their warmth and watched their little personalities first – then after a couple of days of seeing “Haynie-baby” written on their incubator’s – their names developed (Jessica, and then Melissa – a couple of Allman Brothers songs) – wonderful songs, and even better kids.
Boats need names too, and there are alot of them out there – but I really didn’t want someone else s, its something that has to feel right and it just has to fit.
‘Freebird’ is an awesome song from Lynard Skynard years past – I hadn’t heard it in quite a while – but as I contemplated other names for the raft, the song played, and then I heard it again, and again.I thought that Mark Twain’s characters were somewhat ‘freespirited,’ and that John Hartford’s music was about as free as you could get.
To go along with this trip there are other things happening in my life, one of those is retirement. I have been bound to a schedule for the past thirty years (I’ve never held a job that long before :-)), soon I will not be encumbered by the same ‘structure,’ some might even say ‘free’ as a bird.
As I gathered more information on the Mississippi River – I held on to the thought, but remained completely open to change – ‘Freebird’ didn’t completely fit, but it was pretty doggone close.
One day someone wrote me a note using ‘freebird’ in the matter-of-fact way that it was indeed the name of the raft – now, part of nautical superstition is that when renaming a vessel – you have to remove all previous names with a ceremony or be faced with bad-luck.. So in this twisted mind of mine, and because of how well it fit when it was used in that context – it stuck, and too I figured it could be bad to change it now that it fit so well.
There has probably been a time in each of our lives that we lived within the spirit of that song, but what I find most of all is that its a kindred spirit to what going down this river is all about – just going. There are few times that we can ‘just go’ and not be worried about mowing the yard or everything else that we are bound to, so for at least two months – I will ‘just go’ – the grass will be there when I get back.
So the spirit we share in this venture fits, and the name is fun – we’ll wear it proudly – Freebird.