I used to own a boat. In fact, over the years, I have owned two. An 18-and-a-half footer and a 24 footer with a command bridge, or as some call it, a flying bridge.
But I don't own a boat now.
A friend asked me recently if I wanted to go halves on a canoe. I declined. The way my luck seems to go, I would have gotten the half that always tips over! The closest I am now to being an old salt is the amount I put on my fries in a restaurant.
But when I was younger, I was a sailor second to none. What that means is I wasn't a sailor at all. If someone said: "See to it aft." I thought there would be lots to see in the afternoon. Or if a person exclaimed: "Look to port." I thought it was a comment on my figure!
My boats were powerboats. They were best for salmon fishing, and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a top navigator, but it didn't quite turn out that way.
Once, or maybe it was more, I decided to give up fishing for the day and go in to the dock and tie up. After about 15 minutes of full throttle, I discovered I was heading out to sea.
Boats are great, especially if they're parked in the driveway. They're good to lean up against and tell tall tales about the size of a salmon or halibut you almost had, but then got away. On land, I'm a great sailor. I can lean with the best of them. It's when the boat's in the water that my troubles begin.
When I bought my first boat, I kept looking for the oars. Then someone told me it was a powerboat with a motor. It didn't surprise me. The amount I paid seemed awfully high for a rowboat.
I've caught a few salmon in my day. The smaller ones I kept. The bigger ones got away. I thought myself quite a sportsman. One morning when I was heading out, a guy on the dock said: "Going out to kill some fish are you?" That kind of dampened my enthusiasm, so I moored my boat once more and went and had a salad.
I'm too old now to go traipsing on the ocean. Actually, that isn't true. I just don't have the desire. I've experienced some problems with balance, so more than likely, I'd fall over the side of the boat!
My wife just told me not to fret. The fish would probably throw me back anyway. They need to brag about the big one that got away too! No matter what she thinks, I'm going to stick to the land from here on out. No need to tempt fate.
Still, a boat sure makes a great status symbol. If I had a boat on a trailer moored in my driveway, it would show the world I had plenty of spark left. I could stand outside all day (if it wasn't raining), and lean up against it looking swarthy.
I could wear one of those sea captains' hats, hold an unlit pipe in one hand and a fishing rod in the other.
I'd wear gumboots for added effect and whistle a seafaring tune as I studied the sky to see what the weather was up to. I'm sure those passing by in cars or on foot would admire such an impressive sailor.
My wife just chimed in again. She said *not* to put a big salmon net with the other gear because someone might decide to use it on me and not the fish.
That's my wife, always practical. But I guess none of the above will ever happen. I can't stand for too long. I don't like wearing hats. I never did learn to whistle. I don't smoke, so I don't have a pipe and I haven't handled a fishing rod in years. Gumboots make my feet sweat and I've never been good at guessing the weather, let alone studying it. I can't afford a boat and there's no room in my driveway.
So, that leaves only one thing for me to do. Go and feed my two goldfish, "Lucky" and "Louie," and then go and take a nap.
Sea air always makes me sleepy!