October 17th, 2017
(I originally wrote this chapter on Tuesday the 17th, but there was some sort of connectivity problem and it never posted. I'm going to try it again for today. Let's keep fingers crossed that it works and Happy Weekend Everyone!)
As we often are, Tim and I spent some time down at the jetty last night watching the sun go down and the boats come in and were tickled once again to see .....BOATDOGS! These boat dogs were having a blast. Confident and comfortable sharing this little boat with their people, these two pups were standing lookout in the bow, occasionally checking to port or starboard, but always right there in the front, quietly alert, tails wagging, tongues lolling, heads up and noses to the breeze.
Not sure how many boats I've now seen with dogs on board. All sorts of dogs in all sorts and sizes of boats. And to a canine, they seem to be having a wonderful time. The first time I saw it though, I was surprised. Probably because I grew up with boat cats. That was the norm in my reality.
As I've mentioned before, my mother grew up on in a little fishing village on the coast of Maine. Her father and all 4 of her older brothers were sea farers or one sort of another. And every single one of them had at least one boat cat. While out on their various boats, the cats might sit in the bow, much like the dogs but with a quieter dignity, y'know, like cats. Or they might walk the perimeter, on the railing naturally, or casually climb the rigging. On a colder, wetter day, it would be more likely to find the kitties snuggled up to their captain, helping to pilot the craft. When ashore, these boat cats would trail my uncles, kind of like dogs, following them to work in the boat house watching the men repair nets or assisting them with one woodcraft project or another until they followed them at last into the house to nap by the stove. One particular uncle, Uncle Ricky, told of how on a longer voyage, the cats were good company. The feline would sit at rapt attention, staring intently into his eyes as he told stories into the night or worried through rough seas, never arguing or giving any sass.
Historically, all sailors were fond of cats as rodent control if nothing else. And in some cultures mariners considered any ships cat a bit of good luck to carry on their voyage. Sailors being notoriously superstitious, any positive talisman was appreciated. I also can appreciate the concept of a good luck charm as much as the next non superstitious person. I'm not a rabbits foot sort of soul and in fact that just plain old creeps me out. I don't carry around a 4-leaf clover either. But a good luck whole entire cat, sure, I'm down with that.
Growing up, we must have been extremely lucky because in all of our many moves we roved by car. And in that car was packed luggage, food and drinks, people, dogs, cats, a bird and once even a fish! (The fish was in a cool whip container of water that had a few holes punched in the top and it travelled from St. Louis to Texas in one very long day on the floor of the back seat between my feet for security - his name was Oliver and he survived the journey by the way). Travelling with creatures other than human was not a foreign concept to me as you can plainly see.
Therefore you would think that the idea of shipboard critters of any sort should not have made me even blink. But the first time I saw a dogs head popping up on a boat deck, I laughed out loud! I do remember that! Part of it was the surprise. It was a very large dog. And the dog was on an even bigger boat. It was silly to be so surprised, but there it was. Boatdogs exist! Cool! It was a whole new, but awesome, concept to me. I've seen dogs in life vests frolicking on deck, helping to reel in the days catch, barking encouragement and really getting excited about the whole process and I've seen really mellow dogs that barely open their eyes as the boat rises and falls with rolling of the sea. And I love all of it. Probably because it's obvious to me how much they love it.
Get out there today and do something that you love just as much.
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.