Daily Archives: May 15, 2013

Life Is Like Coffee

I’m off to take my licensing exam for my motorcycle endorsement this morning so I give you this to ponder:


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Fish Story

Someone named Ray did a post at Duckworks magazine about his restoration of a 1946 Sears and Roebuck outboard motor that brought back memories:

When I was in grade school we used to spend the entire summer at the edge of Flax Pond:

DSCN0009Here, in Brewster, Mass, on Cape Cod at:

DSCN0019One of my big delights was spending most days with my friends tooling around the pond in the eight-foot pram my dad had built. Most of the time we rowed. But we did have an outboard motor, too. It was just like this one:


I think it was about 1.5 h.p. and it was very heavy for a skinny kid of eight or nine years old to put on and off the boat which was one of the reasons I didn’t use it very often. Another reason was that you had to wrap a starter line around the spool at the top and pull as hard as you could to start the thing. It took three or four pulls on a good day for anyone to get it running.

While the other ponds in the park, Higgins and Cliff in particular, had been stocked with trout, Flax had a collection of pan fish, mostly yellow perch and a catfish everyone referred to as “horn pout.” There were also the occasional small-mouth bass to be had, but they were rare.

My mom loved to fish. It was one of her great passions, and she and I would often venture off in the night to go across the pond to where there was an excellent fishing hole about a mile away from our camp site. It was an excellent hole for horn pout which we loved to have for breakfast along with a stack of pancakes filled with blueberries picked from bushes just steps away from the tent my younger brothers and I shared.

One night my mom and I went out on a trip to our “secret” hole. Naturally we used the outboard to get there. We’d been doing quite well and had about gotten our limit when my mom got a hard strike on her line. “Oooo,” she said, “I think I’ve got a bass.” In the moon light I could see her rod had a big arc in it and the tip nearly touched the water. My mom patiently played her line back onto the reel and finally got the fish up to the surface. And then its head broke water and kept coming and coming and coming. It was a large eel and way too much like a snake for my mom. There was absolutely no way she was going to bring it into the boat with her. Instead, she wrapped the starter cord around the engine spool and with one single, never to be repeated pull of the cord, brought that stubborn engine to life and dragged that poor eel across Flax Pond, drowning it in the process.

My dad cleaned it in the morning, along with the horn pout, but except for him, nobody else would try it. Of course he also liked tripe which he would cook just for himself a couple of times a year, too.

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Bucket List

We all have dreams. Things we’d like to do in our lives out of the ordinary. Sometimes it’s called a “bucket list.” I consider myself quite lucky because I got to check off several items on my bucket list. When I discovered you could circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States by water it’s something I wanted to do. In 1974 and ’75 I did starting in Chicago and ending up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Since I’d been very young I wanted to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. I did that in 1991. I’d also wanted to make a fairly long single-handed boat voyage, though I never yearned to sail around the world. Too damned much water. But in 1992 I bought a small, 26’ sailboat and took off for nine months and went from Fort Lauderdale to Mexico, Belize and the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and back.
Ever since he was in Boy Scouts and stood atop Mt. Kathadin in Maine and found out it was the northern terminus of the great Appalachian Trail, my brother Jeff, has wanted to hike its roughly 2,200 miles. Jeff’s son, Ken, hiked it a couple of years ago after finishing his Army enlistment which included two tours in Iraq. Right now, Jeff’s about two weeks into his trek from Georgia to Maine. He sent me some photos today and I want to share a couple with you.
Jeff and Start of hikeJeff at the marker of the southern most point of the Appalachian Trail.
Pointing out the view from Blood Mtn highest point on the AT in GAPointing out the view from Blood Mountain, the highest point on the Trail in Georgia.

I look forward to the picture of him atop Mt. Kathadin in a month or so.

(Check out the comment my brother made about this post in the comments section. His journey, if he is able to complete it, will take a lot longer than I thought.)


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