My love affair with boats began when I was very young. We’d go down to the local pond and build rafts with whatever would float. Our raft-building skills were limited though, so our crafts wouldn’t stay together much longer than it took to pole out to the middle of the pond. By then our rafts would start taking on water and we’d usually end up swimming for our lives. Failure was never a deterrent for us. We’d build and rebuild our floating miracles, and if they held together for more than five minutes it was a successful outing indeed. Poor Mom had her hands full washing my wet and dirty clothes after each pond adventure.
When I left New York City to start my sales career in New Hampshire, it was high time to buy a real boat. I couldn’t afford much, but I spotted a used 16 foot Glastron Runabout with a 90 horsepower outboard for sale in the local rag. I made a ridiculously low offer and was surprised when it was accepted. The poor guy had a baby on the way and his wife thought he should sell his motorcycle and his boat. Talk about sacrificing for your children. But his loss was my gain and I spent countless happy days plying the waters of Winnipesaukee, Squam and Sunapee. It didn’t matter that Ol’ Blue was slow and not much more stable than our pond rafts. That boat was my ticket to adventure and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
For the last 25+ years I have hung my hat in Atlanta. Ol’ Blue is long gone and my current “Old Girl” is an 18 foot walk-thru Scout with a 115 horsepower outboard that I picked up used in Naples, Florida. She was five years old when I bought her and I have banged around with her for fifteen years, so you do the math, but that’s a lot of engine-hours. I don’t know why I think of my boat as a “her”. There was a female name on the side when I bought her which I buffed off. I didn’t think it was fair to give her another name, so I have always just referred to my boat as the “Old Tub”, but with a decidedly female accent. How female-insensitive is that? Nevertheless, I say it with affection. We have been through a lot together. I’ve dragged her from lake to lake and even tested her sea-worthiness a few times. We call Lake Hartwell our home now and we will both retire there in a few years. The Old Tub smokes more than she used to and she is showing her years of wear and tear, but she still gets me where I want to go with very few complaints. I don’t worry about putting another ding in her because she has so many already. I’ve fancied her up with a remote control trolling motor, fish finder, bimini top, stereo and ship-to-shore radio (which I am thankful I have never needed). She conks out now and then, but after a few kicks and tweaks I can usually get her going again. I guess you could say I’m comfortable with her. However, even a blind man can see that her best years are behind her. I’ve been thinking of replacing the Old Tub for a while now and am not quite sure what is taking me so long. It’s just that she has served me so well for so long that I am in no rush. I think I’ll keep her a while longer – it just seems right.
While you are out this weekend, fishing of course, try this great crock pot recipe for