It was a bittersweet day on a macrocosmic level. But it also helps me cherish each moment at this stage of my life.

It was an incredible time on the water again with three different teams. One was full of old friends I’ve coached for the past three years or so. We paddled hard, strategized, worked on some race starts and watched as a beautiful sunny spring day on the water – surrounded by the mountains – unfolded. It was nice. I felt like a teacher on the water with the coaching tips I could share.

Melanie from Erwin Marine, Chickamauga Marine, our gracious hosts each year for practices, invited me for a burger at their customer appreciation picnic. She is so very sweet! It was good food, too! (We love good food here in the South, of course). I went for a bike ride around the venue at the TVA Park, and the marina and later I was the guest speaker to a neat and interesting group of people – the Chattanooga Sail and Power Squadron. They fed me some great food there as well! There is a trend here. It is all about the food – and friends! Don and Linda Grotjan, committee members who volunteer every year for the festival, even drove me to the meeting, which was a dock. It was fun!

Speaking of friends – it’s the bittersweet part. The date – May 14. My friend, Karen Black, would have been 39 today. She died of breast cancer three years ago and I miss her as much, or more now than ever. She would tell me to “suck it up” since I can’t do anything about it. So, I’ll suck it up and appreciate being alive.

Tomorrow is a new day. We have more practices. I will get some pics up as soon as I get time to take some. If you’re reading this blog and you have some from your session, please email them my way at

Thanks and Paddles Up!