by Coby Leyden, Hatteras Trip Coordinator
We are a little bit off-balance today after hearing that Al Marani, long-time BABA member, is no longer with us. Sad news, indeed. Speaking for all of BABA, we will miss him terribly.
I first met Al on my initial BABA trip to Hatteras. I was a newbie windsurfer in search of a place to improve my windsurfing in the company of others who enjoyed the sport. I wasn’t sure how I’d like going on a trip with people I didn’t know…a stranger in a strange land. Would I fit in? Being a bit of an introvert, the prospect held a slightly uncomfortable mix of anticipation and anxiety for me. I arrived very late, and directly hit the sack, hoping for the best.
The next morning, I was told there were free waffles at the next house over, so I went. Which is where I met Al. Standing in complete charge of the kitchen, he was mixing up waffle batter from scratch, and pouring it into his personal waffle iron that he’d brought along. He welcomed me with a strong, almost crushing handshake, pointed to an empty seat, and with only a look, demanded I make ready to eat…lime waffles.
Yes. Oh, yes.
And not only lime. You see, he did this every morning, and each morning a different flavor of homemade waffle. Yeast waffles, pecan waffles, lemon waffles, banana waffles. What a great introduction to the club! As long as you could get there after eight and before 9, there was a waffle waiting with your name on it.
Of course, it wasn’t just about the waffles. It was about the conversation around a breakfast table where I met others who would become friends for over a decade. I dubbed him “The Waffle Man,” a moniker he didn’t seem to mind, and over the next 15 years, as I promoted the club’s Hatteras getaways, Al’s breakfasts became an initiation ritual for so many, and a trip fixture that I heralded in our invitations. Al was truly a kind man. He welcomed all to his table, and showed a calm respect for all who shared his love of windsurfing.
I doubt that there is a club member who didn’t know and enjoy time with Al. You could usually find him out on the lawn in front of the houses discussing windsurfing’s finer points, talking trash about his gear, taking in the weather with a sailor’s eye, enjoying whatever that day would bring.
That’s when he wasn’t out sailing. For Al was an accomplished sailor, which is one of the ways we’ll remember him. There’s a “takeaway” here, when we think about Al. As windsurfers know, this is a sport one does for oneself. It’s just you, the board, your sail, and the wind out there. No motor, no crew, no one else directing your actions. That alone is satisfying. But there’s more. There’s a need to be “present” at all times…a lot of “living in the moment,” which is (perhaps) the secret of living life fully.
So when I think of Al, I remember a man who had the capacity to unfalteringly enjoy his life, and the ability to share that with all of us. We are all the richer for it. Maple syrup, anyone?
On March 2, 2016 ALBERT R. MARANI beloved husband of Joyce Madlyn Marani (nee Huppert); devoted father of Alan R. Marani and his wife Lynn, Andrew R. Marani and his wife Martha, Lisa J. Ryan and her husband Kevin; brother of Sandra Marani; also survived by 7 grandchildren.
Mr. Marani will lie-in-state at St. Mary’s Seminary and University, 5400 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210 on Thursday, March 10 from 9:00 to 9:30 AM when a Funeral Mass will be celebrated. Private interment. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21209, Caroline Center, 900 Somerset Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 or St. Mary’s Seminary and University will be appreciated by the family.