Thanks to a port engine failure, last Thursday’s late-afternoon ferry ride from Vallejo, Calif., to San Francisco took a bit longer than its usual 55 minutes. But it was a warm night and I was headed to a Giants game—awful as they’ve been this season I still go—so I just took in the view from the boat’s upper deck and enjoyed the ride.
Two brief conversations I had earlier as I stood in line to board the ferry left me in a grateful state of mind.
Thanks to two messages from a couple of dear friends, the author enjoyed his finest ferry ride of the 2022 San Francisco Giants baseball season.
The first was with Tim Hill, the president of Fort Myers Offshore and the lead organizer of the annual Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach powerboat race. Hill and his wife, Cyndee, have become valued friends during the past few years. Everything they do, they tackle with heart and commitment.
I hadn’t heard from them since Hurricane Ian unsuccessfully tried to blow their house off the map.
Tim Hill drove 20 miles to find a cell signal strong enough for a phone call. He choked back tears as he described what had happened in his once-lovely neighborhood. Before the storm waters receeded, his house became an island.
“By a miracle our house survived,” he said. “We’re luckier than many of our neighbors.
“We’re strong,” he added. “We’ll come back.”
Hill told me he wanted to “get something official out there” about canceling the race. I told him not to worry about it, that there were more important things going on in his life. He ignored me and the following day announced the cancelation on the event’s Facebook page.
Moments after we hung up, a photo in a text from Azam Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of United Kingdom-based Powerboat P1/P1 Offshore, popped onto my phone screen. The picture was of a newborn baby girl.
The message below it read: “Baby Esra arrived yesterday 2.07 a.m.”
She is the second daughter for Rangoonwala and his wife, Hurriyah—their first, Leya, was born in early 2021—and baby Esra’s birth was complicated. She spent several days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a London hospital.
“God is great, my friend,” I texted back.
Rangoonwala responded with a heart emoji, which considering the hour in England—well past midnight—was perfect.
Despite the extra time the ferry ride took, I made it to the game on time and watched the Giants beat the Rockies 6-4, which brought their still-miserable record to 78 wins and 78 losses.
But thanks to one friend in Southwest Florida and another in the U.K, my night was a winner before the first pitch reached the plate.
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