Thursday, August 18, 2016

Time to forget politics and stuff

for a little bit and tell a good old sea story about life on the river.

Today was a hot one and I recalled how on days like this I would go several miles upriver at high tide and hop in the river and swim out to the mouth, riding the current.

It was a fun way to enjoy a summer afternoon and just in general enjoy life.

One of the things I recall is the snow wing we used to tow behind powerboats. 

We tried a saucer but it didn't plane well and the boat wasn't powerful enough to get it to be a whoe lot of fun. However one of the guys supplied a Blazon Sno Wing. It was a lot more aerodynamic and planed well behind the boat.

I hopped on it and we took off. It was the first time and we had a few things to learn.

The kid running the boat took a turn and the line slacked a bit. When it fetched up it took me in a big arc and a huge moored boat came closer and closer. Just as I was beginning to bail out to keep from hitting the boat hard the line came taut and I shot off back on straight course back into safe water.

It was a wet, wild, fun ride.

Afterwards we ate.

Being young and hungry and seeing the tide was falling we grabbed the steel pail and dug about half a bucket of clams and built a fire. It didn't take long for the clams to steam and we ate like kings.

Hmm. As I sit here thinking, I recall one of my most memorable dates. It was an impromptu thing. I had just graduated high school and just pretty much dumped a date about an hour or so earlier. I went down to the hangout and met a pretty little thing.

She hopped in with me and commented that she had already heard about my date going sour and chastized me for being so stupid as to ask the twit out in the frst place.

Then she ran into the burger place, swiped a couple forks and retured and picked up the doggie bag I had from the dinner date and chowed down.

I asked her is she wanted clams and lobster he next day and she smiled. "Sounds good," she said.

"Good," I said. "Meet me at Damon's Point three hours before low tide tomorrow. Wear something you won't mind getting wet and dirty."

"Morning or afternoon tide?" she asked.

"Afternoon," I said.

"I'll figure it out," she said.

She was pretty sharp. I didn't have to tell her what time low tide was. She knew how to find out on her own. As I was pulling into the Point I saw a car ahead of me. It was her and she was right on time.

I had some beer in the car, a bucket and little else. When we arrived at the Point I dove off of the pier and swam out to a lobster boat, pulled up his 'keeper' and removed a couple nice sized lobsters and put a couple bucks in a jar, put it in the 'keeper' and lowered it back over the side.

I swam back to the pier with a lobster in each hand. She laughed. "You know that guy?" she asked.

"Yeah," I grinned. "He knows I'm the guy that steals lobsters from him and leaves a couple bucks. He thinks it's funny."

I parked the lobsters in the bucket in the back seat of my car for safe keeping. Then I opened the hach on the dock and grabbed the bucket, clam fork and two oars hidden there and put them in Walter Crossley's skiff. We hopped in and I rowed across the river. 

In short order we had a half bucket of nice steamers and we rowed back. When I replaced everything we went up ashore and I lit a fire and 'just happened' to find a couple of concrete blocks to rest the pail on.

We threw the lobsters in with the clams, put some seawater in the bottom of the pail and rested it on the blocks over the fire. I covered the pail with a loose fitting lid and waited. It didn't take long for things to start bubbling away.

I said this girl was sharp and she was. She produced a couple sticks of butter. I fished a can out of the trash and rinsed it out with seawater, dropped the butter into the can and put it near the fire to melt.  

When it was ready I produced a pair of pliers to serve as a nut cracker and split the body of the lobsters with an old trench knife and we ate the whole mess with our hands like animals. It was delicious and we washed it down with ice cold beer.

She was not very dainty. She dug in and marveled at the simplicity of it all. We wolfed it all down like animals.

When we were done we sat there for a few hours in the darkness and we looked at the stars and picked out the constillations.

Shortly after she left for college and I didn't see her again for years. Still, a few people told me she talked about the great time she had at an impromptu clambake with me.

About thirty years after the fact I ran into her and her husband. They had a couple of kids.

When she greeted me she turned to her husband. "Remember the time I told you about having a primitive clambake at Damon's Point? He's the guy."

As I sit here I marvel at how such a simple thing like that can be so memorable to both of us.

Looking back on things I do believe one of the biggest influences on my entire life was the North River. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY


  1. That sounds like a great time on the river. Reminds me of when my friends and I towed each other in a crappy plywood skiff behind a powerboat until it fell apart.

  2. Yeah. I've been through a bunch of fun, wet, wild dinghy rides, myself. :)