I never know what the final layout of each Anchor edition will be until a day or two before press day. So, when the smoke cleared on this edition, I was amused by the fact that there is a picture of Bishop da Cunha recently blessing the fleet in Provincetown.
All good New Englanders, especially those living on or relatively near the coast, have had their share of boat rides in their lifetime. While never having been a boat-owner or an avid sailor, I, too, am not a total landlubber.
My dad, Larry, and my brother, Paul, were and still are boat owners, and love fishing. As a young pup, I did share an enthusiasm for angling, but as I grew older, that part of my DNA morphed.
Truth be told, I’m a sucker for animals of every type: four-legged, winged, in the sea, or amphibious. The first time I ever had to take a fish I had caught off the hook was the last time I took a fish I had caught off the hook. I know it isn’t cruel when folks fish to eat what they catch, but I still feel too sorry for the scaly things.
I remember making a drawing at St. Anne’s School in Fall River, when the nun asked us to illustrate an event that happened to us that summer. I drew a picture of Larry, Paul and me in a boat, with me catching a turtle of all things! I caught a turtle on a hook! And, in my artwork, the three of us were smiling. Looking back, I’m devastated that I hooked a turtle.
Anyway, I digress. Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve had a digression in a column. I haven’t lost my touch, if I do say so myself. There, another one. See?
Anyway, I did grow to dislike hooking anything that had eyes that came out of a pond, lake, river or ocean. I did enjoy my time with Larry and Paul, but, on a good day when the Red Sox were playing a day game (they used to do that often back in the 60s — another digression), I would bring my small Philco transistor radio, with an ear phone (single ear back then), as not to spook the fish. I would sit back on Stafford Pond in Tiverton, R.I. and listen to my beloved Sox. It was the best of both worlds: Larry and Paul doing what they loved, and me also.
We used to go to Larry’s (not my dad) Boat Rentals on Stafford Road (before my dad and brother got their own boats and outboard motors), bring a lunch and spend a morning and afternoon floating around the pond.
As I mentioned, Larry and Paul never lost that love of fishing, but eventually I started playing baseball instead of just listening to it, so my trips with them became fewer. But I still have those good memories.
I never lost, however, the enjoyment of being on a boat. I would love going on boat rides with uncles who had a flare for speed, and I loved the spray of salt water and the wind distorting my facial features on the excursion.
In later years, after I met the love of my life, Denise, we would occasionally take the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard. And years after that, Denise’s brother married a girl from Nantucket, and we would venture there on the ferry as well. While I liked taking the fast ferry to get more time on the island, I preferred the ride on the regular boat, only because it gave more time on Nantucket Sound.
Once while there, I went fishing (well, I held a pole) with my brother-in-law and some of his chums (pun intended). The boat was slightly overloaded and the water was becoming disturbingly close to the gunwale trim, but we made it back to shore without swamping. One of the few times the boating experience wasn’t warm and fuzzy.
Denise and I have made boat trips through Mount Hope Bay (absolutely breathtaking), and while in Vancouver, B.C., Denise, her sister and I took a three-hour cruise (hold the Gilligan references) through the pristine waters of Burrard Inlet. Later in that trip, Denise and I took a speed-boat trip on a fjord, Howe Sound, surrounded by snow-capped mountains in July, incredible-colored waters, bald eagles and seals galore.
I am not a cruise ship guy, so I’ll pass on those.
I chuckle to think that if I were a lad today out fishing with my dad, I’d probably bring a laptop and watch the Sox as we floated along Stafford Pond. Larry often looked at me as a youngster, shake his head, and jokingly say (I think), “Where did I go wrong?” I thank God it was only a little Philco.