Boat Talk Sending Me Overboard

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We have an all-out alert this week, or better said an SOS warning.

My kids want me to buy a power boat. Not necessarily for me but for them.

I’m not talking a small motor boat. I already have one of those, along with a sailboat, two kayaks, and a canoe.

Not a bad armada for a lakeside home in New Hampshire. Over the years, I’ve tried to upgrade my fleet a little but cannot keep up with John Paul Jones.

‘My kids want me to buy a power boat. Not necessarily for me but for them.’

If they buy a paddleboat, we must have one. Another thought a pontoon boat would be delightful.

“They’re the rage you know,” they say, not taking cost into account.

The jet skis they pondered one year were out of the question. Truthfully, I cannot stand the contraptions, which look and sound like motorcycles on water. I prefer quiet with my water.

The latest fetish is an overpowered, motorized boat that would create wakes like a tsunami. They want speed.

I can understand their cravings. They’re at the age now where they want to water ski and go tubing. They see others roughing and tumbling, and think it’s a cool activity.

No problem buying a boat, I tell them. But who’s going to maintain it? You need insurance, registration costs, and a trailer. And just who is going to put it out to bay and take it in?

Will the responsibility fall on my shoulders or theirs? And who’s coughing up the money each week to fuel this device? Is that what grandpappys are so generous about?

A deal was struck, one I had hoped would be amicable for all. Papa will pay for the boat. You guys pick out one that’s affordable, have it shipped to the lake, and take charge of maintenance and upkeep. It’s your boat, my extra burden. We’ll compromise.

I have yet to hear the final results. But stay tuned.

I’ve had one boat episode that touches all parameters. When we bought this camp 45 years ago, the previous owner left everything behind—lock, stock, and barrel. He wanted a quick sale and an even quicker exit.

“What you see is what you get,” he told us, inking the deal. “I’m off to Florida and will start anew. Enjoy!”

He left me his furniture, the aluminum dingy I still have, and his blessings. In the shed was a large wooden boat with a 35 HP Mercury engine that hadn’t been adrift in years.

I really didn’t have any use for a dry docked cruiser and needed the space for things like a grill and other storage essentials.

I had just started reporting at the Gazette and one of my favorite co-workers was the custodian. His name, as memory recalls, I can’t recall. Everyone called him Shorty. He was a diminutive sort who went around the office efficiently emptying trash and patrolling the area.

I liked the guy. He was affable and full of pleasantries, always asking about my next story and how the “rat race” was going.

“Going just fine, Shorty, except the rats are winning.”

One day Shorty asked me if I knew anyone selling a boat. More than anything, he wanted to cruise the Merrimack River but couldn’t afford very much. He had that hankering look about him.

A sudden thought occurred to me. Why not sell him my boat? I wasn’t using it.

“I cannot afford very much on a janitor’s pay,” he said.

He dropped by that week and feasted his eyes on the craft. He ran his hand along the hull and climbed inside, pretending to be the skipper of a new vessel.

“Make me an offer,” I suggested. You might say I ended up giving the thing away for a stipend. He had his boat. I had my space. We were both content.

Well, Shorty spent the winter months giving it a new coat of paint and coming up with a logo. He called his new acquisition “Dreamboat,” just the way he had imagined it.

I was pounding the typewriter keys one afternoon when a call came over the police radio about a boat sinking in the Merrimack. Geez! Off I hustled, camera and notepad in hand.

There was Shorty on shore with his head buried in his hands and the river patrol and harbormaster investigating the scene. The boat I sold Shorty sank to the bottom. Neither one of us ever suspected termites.

There was an added cost. Shorty was being assessed the penalty of having the boat removed from the depths of the Merrimack, which I covered. I had put the guy though enough grief.

As for the family’s request for a new boat, maybe there’s one sitting at the bottom of the lake we can retrieve.

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Source: Armenian Weekly
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