Living on the Edge

A surface can be a thing of beauty, showing qualities like the texture of corduroy, the stripes of a zebra, the pattern of plaid, or color shading as the sun is going down over the North Dakota prairie valley.

Here are my sisters Anne and Jane with brother Joe.

But it takes a line to really create focus, to draw attention, and define the situation. There are fine lines and bee lines, broad strokes and pin stripes, jet trails and meteors, power lines and skylines. There are frost lines and finish lines, guide lines and outlines, time lines and tag lines and lines not to cross. A line definitely lives on the edge.

Below you can see my grandson Clayton balancing on that fine line.


Grandsons Brayden and Hudson are also living on the edge.

My son Austin became an expert of the pickup line shortly after he canceled his membership in the “Bachelor to the Rapture” Club. Some of his favorites were: “Are you tired, because you have been running through my mind all day?” “Did you get hurt when you fell from heaven?” “Are you a parking ticket? Cause you have fine written all over you,” and “Kiss me if I am wrong, but is your name Matilda?”

We are just glad Kristina Freel didn’t think they were too corny, although she did successfully put an end to The Club for Austin.


In the world of advertising, much effort goes into creating the sales power of just the right line. We now know where the beef is, how long a diamond is for, and what champions eat for breakfast. If you are old enough, you even remember what a little dab’ll do for ya’.

In the mass of entertainment chatter, there are some lines that stand alone and become memorable. Some classics include, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” “Elementary, my dear Watson,” “Beam me up, Scotty,” and “Play it again, Sam.” A Pink Panther fan might remember, “That is not my dog!”

Design kind of lines are similar, defining the boundaries, taking center stage and drawing the eye along. Lines have beginnings and endings, go straight or follow curves with direction changes that might meander or be abrupt. They can communicate strength, balance, and drama, or can even evoke speed.

The boat building process is now in the stage where the line rules and the ruler takes second place, even though precise symmetry from left to right of the centerline is no longer spot on. The eye is the best measure of the perception of what is fair, or follows a regular curve. Possibly the most scrutinized line in a boat is the sheer line, the outline of the top side of the boat. It must be flow perfectly, without any area that looks flat or lumpy.

Most traditional sail or oar powered boats (that do not go fast enough to plane) have up-turned sheer lines at bow and stern. This is the best defense against the wind and waves. Slow-powered boats often are only turned up at the bow to face the waves forward. Contemporary boats often have more flat lines, with a downward curve at the stern.

But speed boats often have the reverse sheer curve, dropping at the bow slightly and the stern more dramatically. Their protection comes from planing higher on the water, and in this case, having more deck and a smaller set back cockpit.


Close is good enough in horseshoes and hand grenades, but that won’t make the grade when inspector Jeff Margush comes and does his scrutiny. He will start at one end, eye level with the line, and track it slowly all the way to the other end and then repeat in reverse. It does not get glued with epoxy until the final “saw this, shim this, sand this” is done. The scale model I made did not really pass muster, but he let me go on for the purpose of float tests. Actually, I am the same way, and I appreciate his supplemental inspection and help.

The following photos show the process of fitting the sheer stringer into the cross frames. Since all of the angles vary from square, they are best done at this step, with hand tools.




I know my Liechty relatives would understand, since the perfection genes came through that side of the family.


Here is Uncle Russ and Aunt Marge just a few years back.


His son, my cousin Joe Liechty, and I also shared an affinity for finish lines in our distant past. This was the sectional meet at Memorial in 1973.



On the other hand, my nephew John Crist is just a bit confused at this point, not having been through home school yet. Eventually, he got the concept and became a master of the punch line.


The literary world is full of great lines also and these are just a few:

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde

Don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened. Dr. Seuss

Go placidly among the noise and haste and remember what peace may be in silence. Desiderata

Truth stands the test of time, lies are soon exposed. Proverbs 12:19

One thought on “Living on the Edge

  1. Another great line for you. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit: wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s