Just In Case You Thought Your Opinion Counted

This page written circa 6 August, 2000.

Bodega Bay is a small town on the coast West of Santa Rosa. Although mostly unremarkable, it is the home of a lot of fishing boats that work the coastal region. I was amused to read a newspaper report of the annual "blessing of the fleet", an exercise borrowed from elsewhere in the world as the reader may realise. The report was accompanied by a picture of some cleric gesticulating at a marine scene.

Closer to home, Amelia has bought a horse. You would think that this is the sort of event---one that entails cost and responsibility aplenty not to mention being unusual---would make a kid gush with news and excitement. Not so. Wonder why?

When the idea of a Amelia having a horse first came up, Kay and I made a lot of enquiries. We scanned advertisements, read books, contacted friends. To several readers this topic will not be a surprise. A vet and a long-time, serious equestrian both contributed extensive advice. Kay assembled the accumulated learning and advice, much in original form, into a long email and sent it on to Amelia and Jan.

The gist of the comment was that a horse requires an awful lot of attention, and is not a thing to be undertaken lightly. Daily grooming, exercising, feeding and mucking out of stable is involved. It is a terrible sin to neglect this, and no small cost to have a stable take care of it. Then there is the difficulty of settling into working with an animal that you do not yourself see every day, and the dubious value of what you get. I formed the opinion reading all that information that it would be a mighty and serious thing to undertake, financially & emotionally. Since Amelia needs to be driven 30-45 minutes to the horse, she only expects to get a ride once or twice a week. I guess it was clear that the idea was deprecated. It is left as an exercise for the reader to formulate arguments for the affirmative.

Technically, we were asked only to bless the horse project, not to investigate it, so perhaps we ought not to be surprised. It did set me thinking though: What if the cleric did not actually think that the fleet deserved blessing? What if he thought it was ecologically criminal or financially reckless of the fishermen to continue fishing? Does the fact that fishing makes the fishermen happy outweigh all other considerations?

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