The Boat

Regardless of which side of the Boat story you find yourself on, raise a glass this item is alive.  She’s not in the best shape of her life but she still has life.  I would like to think there is still some magic left in her but we may never know in my lifetime.  We’ve decided to keep her after facing and making the decision to sell her.  Once my eyes saw her for the first time in nearly 20 years I couldn’t imagine letting her go again.

So here she is for those who have heard many a story about her.  Who knows the real value?  Who really cares?  She’s been carted out of Florida to an undisclosed location.  I like the sound of that.

There are many happy memories from childhood that are nice to look back on.  Some of the happiest were in Slidell, Louisiana.  We lived there in the mid to late 70’s.  Paisley shirts and Toughskin jeans ruled the day.  We had a Volkswagen bus.  My oldest brother Dwan would let me listen to his records.  We would walk to school and ride our Schwinn bikes just about everywhere else.  Halloween was huge!

I would hide from Mom to get out of going to church.  After Mom would haul my siblings out by their ears, Dad and I would go to McDonald’s for pancakes.  I’m sure this drove Mom nuts, a vision that still makes me snicker today.  Dad remembered those Sunday breakfast outings well too.

Dad was famous for his cookouts in the back yard.  His “Daddy Burgers”had to be at least a full pound.  We had crab boils regularly – fresh crabs trapped by our own hands, crawfish, shrimp – you name it.  Living things from the water would be boiled to death in a bubbling stew of water, hot spices, corn, taters, and what ever was laying around.

Paw-paw (Grandfather) would cruise in from North Alabama every once in a while for fresh oysters.  He and Dad would pick up a bushel right off the docks and shuck half of them at the house before the rest made it into a cooler of ice for the trip back to Alabama.  I learned early to love oysters.  There’s nothing like the fresh clean, salty taste of a Gulf Coast Oyster!

This is where the boat entered our lives; I guess Paw-Paw thought it would be nice for someone to use it and it landed in our garage one day.  Dad never did get it water tight.  It always leaked and he worked on it continuously.  As kids, it didn’t matter if it was in water or not.  It was cool and we played in and around it all the time, taking our imaginations to far away places.

When Dad did manage to keep the waters at bay we would venture out into the many canals around Lake Pontchartrain.  We never had too much time to fish because we were worried about sinking.  We just cruised.  On one occasion we witnessed a chase scene and explosion during the filming of Live and Let Die.  Officials had blocked off a canal we were exploring yet allowed boaters to anchor to watch the filming.  Let and Let Die remains my favorite James Bond flick to this day.

Slidell is home.  So much of me was born there.  Those were happy times.  Now the boat is coming home. The memories will never fade away.

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