By Fred Green
As the white and gray form – of spruce, fir and juniper – entered the water from Parrott’s slip, they saw the lie and the new scall’n oar.
“She sits good in the water!” someone said.
Did anyone see the roughness of hull, a cracked timber, oakum on the inside? What about the strange looking starn knees? Did anyone wonder if t’was a motor boat or maybe a punt? Did some brave soul dare say, “She’ll be cranky, b’y?”
Well, she’s light in the water and the wood’s awful dry from years indoors being shaped to tunes of, “she’ll be finished, take your time, what’s that part called? And how do you spell it?”
Yes, all these things and more were noticed if not spoken. But few saw the shards in the axe from cuttin’ knees close to the rocks below; the strange tracks made in early morning March snow crust as 20-foot plank sticks were dragged by hand out the haulin’ path.
What neighbour missed the trees: selected, cut and hauled from a friend’s woodlot? Only two of them saw the plank break before the last galvanize was driven: plank that is now a gunnel. See the spoiled timber floor in the corner? ‘Tis now the splits for next winter.
Who heard the curator say, “Leave all the chips and shavings on the floor,” (inside, 1998). And “Don’t throw chips on the ground!” (outside 2003)? But he was usually heeded. Good thing, too; or she wouldn’t be launched today.
Is it significant to anyone else that the midship bend, placed at the middle of the keel, was holding down the spot of the builder’s desk in grade 10?
You should know that some of her parts moved from Stephenville to Clarksville before ending up in the upper room. Did anyone count how many tourists commented and questioned – some innocently, some with knowledge – as she came under public scrutiny?
Who saw the four generations? One gave the hull its shape; the next guided the builder; then the builder and his two sons aboard at the launch. Anyone see the boyhood dream; the growing respect for the builders before? What about the love and skills shared as dad was there for every day and every stage of a dream come true? Oh, the strange talk between them of breasthook, apron and tawts.
Did his doctor know they put in the shoots – in the ICU?
See the sheer, put on with his eye! “How much should I take off here?”
“Whatever you t’inks. ‘Til it looks right.”
There’s no such mark on the builder’s rule. Now the other marks are in the heart, and in the soul: through a glimpse of ways coming not from books. Their mind’s eye held many shapes, know-how and the right from wrong. From being around helping forefathers build.
What was private and personal became a public event embraced by a special place once called Scilly Cove. The builder is grateful for the rewards – a boat, yes, but far more. A dream fulfilled and a lasting memory. ‘Tis surely true that the trip holds more stores than the goal attained or the place found.