“It’s in our Blood” From Bob Alves

It’s in our Blood

The car and house clocks are set forward. Compared to the old days I now use Microsoft word to prioritize the annual “to-do” list. Top category “Purchase”, followed by de-winterizing the head, engines, freshwater-system, followed by action items mapped to helm, deck, cockpit, salon, hull, engine room, electronics, zodiac, etc. 

April will tease us, early-on the sun will pop-out, not a cloud in the sky, t-shirt weather, wish you were skiing, green buds everywhere, some will tear the shrink-wrap off their boat. Some know better. Thus begins the march of the penguins towards the boat yards. Soon Dave and Frank Rose at Rose’s Marine and Win Story at the Rocky Neck Railways will be screaming at everyone to move their cars. Marty retired, subsequently Donny, Frank, Rusty and Ed behind the parts-counter at Rose’s Marine will musingly yell out “The tourist are back!”  Val at Brown’s Yacht Yard yells to yell. 

Captains like Tommy Burns, Donny King, Dave Borge, Chris Brewer, Dave Williams, Brian Galvin, and many others have and will continue to be examples of our epoch waterfront legacy and think nothing of offering to support a fellow Captain by climbing into the bilge to aid with the arduous task of replacing, rebuilding, retooling transmissions, generators, winches, steering, struts, cutlass bearings, etc. Crew’s working together to save boat-owners thousand and sometimes 10’s of thousands of dollars doesn’t come cheap. Daily trips to Sebastian’s Pizza, Destino’s and the Liquor Locker is exhausting. 

Long ago I bought a boat up on the hard in Marblehead.  A teenager worked for the owner of the boat next to mine. Every weekend the owner of the boat would stop by momentarily and hand the teenager his “to-do” list together with lunch.  One day I yelled out “Hello Cap” he replied, “My name is Tim”. OK Tim. 

After several weekends one day Captain Tim was a no-show, later I returned from Red’s, a local sub shop, and handed the teenager lunch. Sitting on a plank under my boat the teenager and I avoided the hot sun.  Unexpectedly, the teenager squeezed the alchemy of wet bread, mayonnaise, tuna fish, pickles, diced onions and tomatoes towards one side of his mouth creating a bulge as if he were experiencing an agonizing toothache. He garbled, “You know every weekend, I listen to you swearing from the bilge and see you covered with engine oil, sawdust, paint, cuts, and bruises. The owner of the boat you’re working on is a complete A-Hole.  He doesn’t call, doesn’t stop-bye, doesn’t even bring you a bottle of water.” With a smile in my eye, I replied…. yep. 

Bob Alves

Gloucester, MA 

One thought on ““It’s in our Blood” From Bob Alves

  1. I love this story! The waterfront comradery is unmatched elsewhere. The kid’s comments at the end are perfect – sums it all up! Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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