ENOUGH SAID: A boat, a hole and hungry mice
As the saying goes, a boat is a hole in the water in which you throw money.
My husband owned a boat once, a little aluminum skiff, given to him by my father, so it wasn’t something he had to plunk money down on. My father, long retired and living in East Lyme, used the boat a lot. He and my uncle went fishing often until one day, just after launching, the boat capsized. After dragging the little whale to shore, the two old guys bailed a lake’s worth, flipped the thing and dried most of their clothes and contents of their wallets on the hood of my father’s pick-up. They laughed about their fishing attempt, but after that experience the boat and trailer became a backyard lawn ornament.
We were excited to have the little boat, because for us, the money thrown into its wake was coin, not dollars. Money spent on a license, tax and the yearly repair of the trailer’s wiring (apparently wires are a delicacy for mice), was diminutive, thus affordable. Though the boat was inexpensive to own, time, because of its rarity, became the big-ticket item; we hardly used it.
A few times we packed grinders and chips, launched at Great Island at the mouth of the Connecticut and putted up the Old Lyme side of the River. It’s a beautiful area, tidal marshes, calm water, a perfect place to cool off and relax on a warm summer evening; not a lot of people to criticize your launch and landing either.
Because for the last two summers the boat has sadly sat, unused, at the edge of the woods behind our house, (wires chewed again), my husband decided to give it to our “almost” son-in-law. From father to son-in-law, poetic, I think my dad would agree. My daughter and her fiancé are thrilled to have the boat, fix the wires and get wet.
Recently, a friend of ours bought a huge hole in the water in which he has thrown buckets of bucks without one iota of financial regret. With his beautiful 36-foot Grand Banks, he and his wife are making memories for his family and for us, the former mini stink-potters.
Getting the boat here became a three-day voyage. The first day was an exercise in surefootedness because of rough water. There were three on the boat, our friend, his son (he’s my husband’s godson), and my husband, skiff-man. That first day was tough; “foolhardy” was the word I heard used. Because the open-ocean swells were so large and the boat slow moving, she was like a large lady dipping and swaying to a waltz while nature was playing hip-hop. The next two days, because the water was calmer, became pleasure crafting sandwiched between huge breakfasts and dinners at restaurants they are still raving about.
We’ve been on the boat a few times, and I am amazed by how well the captain handles his craft and how well his wife shares her husband with his new girl. He’s spending a lot of time with his new love; I don’t think his wife is jealous … yet.
I feel privileged to enjoy the boat and the hole in the water, on someone else’s dime. Our sojourns on the river and the Sound have been relatively calm. After all, it’s an understanding wife which determines how rough the waters.
For my daughter and her fiance, I wish many hours of pleasure on the little boat that was once loved by my father. I’ve decided that along with a new set of oars, as back-up to the motor, I think I’ll get them a couple of mousetraps.