Sharing stories of vacations now and long ago

— Painting by John R. Williams

John R. Williams painted this scene of the now-gone shipyard where he and his wife waited for a whale-watch boat and he painted the name on a newly repaired lobster boat. “The boat that I lettered was right by those rocks,” Williams recalled. “The lobster man asked if I lived around there and I told him no, we were just visitors from the hills around Albany. He said I should move to the area and I would live very well just lettering boats and be much in demand after the other lobster guys saw his boat.”

This scribe is royally ticked off at this scribe. To explain that sentence, this is the second time I have typed this. The column was all finished; however, there was a lack of concentration and, just like in bowling and missing your spot (and you know you missed and want the ball back), this scribe put the cursor on the wrong dot and clicked.

As soon as the finger hit “click” on the mouse, this scribe wanted it back but it was too late. The ball was already in the gutter. All was lost. Now trying to remember what was in the original is a stretch. Oh well, here goes.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, those OMOTM who were not on vacation, or -n late summer visits, met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. It is somewhat of a misnomer to equate a retired OF with being on vacation.

They are retired, where do they have to go? It sure isn’t work for most of them; they are on constant vacation, but it is nice to get away to different scenery, or visit friends that live a distance away. In a sense, these may be considered vacations.

The night before the breakfast was the Harvest Moon, and many OFs thought they were the only ones going out and taking a look in the late evening (some even with binoculars) but they found out there were others, this scribe being one of those. Most of the viewers on the Hill did not have to deal with artificial light and had good views.

Around seven o’clock, as the moon just came up, this scribe thought the Earth and the moon were going to collide. Other OGs agreed and commented it looked darn close.

On the way to the Chuck Wagon, early Tuesday morning, the moon was still up in the west. The OFs had the sun and moon at the same time. “Shine on, Harvest Moon” — that is a tune for the old folks.

One OG returned from vacation close to where he was brought up. This OF took his boat with him and traveled to Lake Anna in Virginia. The OF said it has 275 miles of shore line made up from navigable rivers, creeks, and coves all around the lake. The OF told everyone it is in the middle of nowhere, and Culpepper, Virginia is the closest town anyone knows of.

While riding in his boat on the lake one day, the OF decided to travel up one of the tributaries. After traveling for a while up this river, he saw on the bank an old, pretty good-sized hulk of a cabin cruiser with “USS Minnow” painted on the stern in large letters. The OF said he could almost see the captain chasing Gilligan around the shore.

Another OF just returned from Maine. This is a state where many OFs go, to be by the ocean. The OF said that a lobster meal was on the menu — of course there would be that.

The OF said they went to the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine. This place is like the Chuck Wagon (or really any diner) only it was extremely busy with generally a waiting line to get in.

The OF said the lobsters cost him $70, and he felt ripped off because these lobsters were so small. “Seventy bucks!” the OF said again, but then he said the prices on the coast are getting out of hand for those on a fixed budget. That sure fits the OMOTM.

The OF said the next day he went to a lobster pound and ordered two lobsters — one three pounds and one two pounds so he could have some real lobster. The OF did not say how much they cost.

One OF said he could understand the price of lobsters going up and maybe some other things; just look at the price of gas or diesel fuel. The OF bet it cost quite a few bucks just to put fuel in one of those lobster boats.

Speaking of lobster boats, this scribe, who is also an OF, has to sneak in a story on lobster boats. This scribe and his wife were in Kennebunkport, Maine early in the morning, waiting for the boat, which takes people on a whale watch, to arrive.

This was at the Arundel Shipyard in Kennebunkport. While meandering around the boat yard, the scribe spotted a lobster boat with just-completed repairs and an older gentleman attempting to letter the stern.

At the rate the fellow was going, it would take him at least a couple of days to do it. This scribe watched him for a short while with his shaky hands and the scribe was getting antsy watching him.

Finally, this scribe told his wife he was going to go over and do the lettering. The scribe’s wife said, “John, don’t interfere; besides, our whale-watching boat may come before you finish.”

This scribe didn’t listen and went over to the man painting and asked, “Who owns this boat?” The man said “I do.”

This scribe said, “Give those brushes!” and took the brushes out of the guy’s hands. In 20 minutes, the job was done and looked sharp. This scribe went on to paint lobsters at each end of the lettering and they looked real, from a distance anyway.

The gentleman must have thought it was going to cost a fortune and said, “How much is this going to cost?”

This scribe said, “It’s on the house” gave the brushes back and went to watch whales.

One definition of an OF is that he’s a person who has had many interesting experiences, some of them true.

The Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, while enjoying the show in the sky on the way in, were: Miner Stevens, Roger Shafer, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Duncan Bellinger, Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Jake Herzog, Pete Whitbeck, Marty Herzog, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, John D, and me — and rest in peace, Roger Chapman; enjoy your breakfast on the cloud along with all the other OMOTM there waiting for you.