One Boat

This weekend I’m reading the travel section of the newspaper, because- we can hope, can’t we? There are a variety of articles on how airlines, travel agencies, resorts, even countries will navigate our new era of the vaccinated and unvaccinated. One paragraph just snagged in my memory like a burr:

R. Anne Miller and her husband are in one camp. They were vaccinated in February. “We’ve observed all precautions and quarantined for the last year,” says Miller, a retired lawyer from Tucson. “We desperately want to travel.”

Katy Kassai, a business consultant and frequent traveler from Regan, N.D., is in another camp. She is unvaccinated and plans to stay that way. “I don’t feel the need to get vaccinated,” she says. “And I’m comfortable with that choice.”

(From The Navigator column by Christopher Elliott in the Washington Post 3/28/21.)

If you have been reading my blog, you probably realize that I have grandchildren in another country, who I have not seen in a long time. My husband and I (both over 65) are vaccinated. But what matters is another country’s decision, whether to let us in. Not my husband and me as individuals, but Us, as in Americans.

I tried to think of a way to express my dismay at Katy and her like-minded citizens. Here is my attempt at a fable:

Once there was a pile of lumber. It was good lumber- the best. Each board had its own unique beautiful grain, straight sides, length. The lumber wished to see the world, so they were thrilled to be used in a boat.

Bit by bit the boat took shape, with curved sides and pointed prow. Until they came to one board.

“No thank you,” she said. “I will ride, but I choose not to be part of the boat.”

“Why?”, the other boards exclaim. “We need you!”

“Why should I bend?” She said. “I am fine the way I am. I have the right to a spot IN the boat. I can’t be forced to be OF the boat.”

“But we need you,” the other boards said. “You are not some small splinter we can overlook. You are a board. If you do not join, there will be space for the water to come in. We will all sink.”

“You made your choice,” she said. “I’m comfortable with mine.”

Photo from Pinterest. Every board bends.

6 thoughts on “One Boat

  1. This story is such a powerful allegory for globalism, the world we live in, and the spirit of working together. And…I do hope that you are able to see your grandchildren soon. ❤


  2. Wow. This is powerful … truly. Watching others not care about humanity has been the most difficult in all of this for me. Those we refuse to wear a mask, move aside when someone walks by, and host gatherings without a care — it is hard to realize there are people who only bend for the good of themselves.


  3. WOW! I love your fable. I also love the structure of this whole piece. You hooked me with your clever “We can all hope, can we?” opening line. Then you explain your connection to wanting to see your grandkids. The quotes from 2 differing opinions, a well crafted fable and end with the perfect image. I’m going to share this with my daughter, Anne is France. I know she’ll like it too! Thanks for sharing.


  4. Great fable and food for thought. I know pregnant women and some other cases where people are unsure about the vaccine, perhaps with some reason. If it’s a purely selfish motive, then it seems just that..


    1. Yes, I agree with you that there will always be room for some exceptions. For me, in my fable, that was the ‘splinter’, which doesn’t sink the whole boat. Thanks for commenting 🙂


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