ready about

In sailing, the phrase ‘Ready about’ is used by the person in charge of steering to notify the others that (s)he is about to change tack.

My father was crazy about the water and boats. He taught me to sail a little Sunfish when I was 8 or so. Wherever we went, if there was a port anywhere in the vicinity, we had to visit it. Dad had such zest for life that he could make sailing in a puddle seem like a grand adventure. Among a million other things, my father taught me how to gamble, how to fly a kite, how to change a tire, how to get crazy passionate about the things that matter, and how to question the things that need to be questioned.

When Dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness in 2009, it was very much a ‘ready about’ time. Almost exactly two years later, in 2011, he changed final ‘tack’ and went off and away from me—in many, but not all, ways. I still see Dad. I see him all the time in my young son and in my dreams.