Boater up

By Steve Galea

This week, I put money down on a new boat and trailer, which I’m told should arrive before the end of summer. I’m excited, but the problem with buying a new boat is that it doesn’t end there. 

I was explaining this to Jenn the other day when she posed the question, “Why are you asking me, what colour of parrot goes with your eyes?”

The reply was so obvious that I almost felt like I was insulting her intelligence.

“If I’m going to be the Captain of a new craft, I’m going to need a parrot,” I began. 

“Captain?” she said.

I then reminded her that we were getting a new boat, and someone would have to be captain.

“Oh, dear God not again!” she replied. “You are about to make a big deal of this aren’t you?”

“Shiver me timbers, no,” I replied.

But by the look on her land lubbery face, I could tell that our respective cultures were colliding. 

You see, Jenn is not a descendant of sea-faring people. At best they were puddle avoiders. 

But my ancestors were Maltese, and Malta is a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Which meant, if you wanted a good pizza, you had to sail at least 320 kilometres north to Sicily. As a result, my father, grandfathers, and their fathers before them, were all Royal Navy men, and those male relatives who weren’t, were in the Merchant Marine. 

So, being in charge of a vessel sort of runs in my blood and also explains why I have been known to mutter “Shiver me timbers” every now and again. 

“There will be no parrots,” she proclaimed. 

“Shiver me timbers,” I replied. 

“I knew you’d take this too far,” she said.

“I have not,” I said, but I think that the Captain’s hat, cable knit sweater and the duffel bag left her a bit skeptical.

“I’ll wait till next year for the eye patch,” I winked, as I took a long pull on my pipe – which would have looked a lot more dignified had it not been filled with bubble soap at the time. 

I was sort of surprised by Jenn’s reaction to all this. Normally, she’s all for people getting back to their roots and learning about their cultural identities. But when I suggested to her that it would be appropriate to sound the bosun’s whistle I gave her every time I stepped onto our back deck, she refused outright. If it were anyone else, I would have had them walk the plank.

“Look,” she said, after threatening me with said whistle, “you’re buying a boat. I’m happy about it. Don’t make me regret it.”

“Don’t make me regret it Captain,” I corrected, which in hindsight was probably the thing that led to my first mutiny.

In any case, I can hardly wait to get my lake legs under me and be the Captain of my aluminum-hulled vessel as I explore the uncharted waters of many a lake with fishing rod in hand. 

I haven’t thought of a name for it yet, though I am considering Lollipop, since that’s what at least one good ship was named.

That evening, at five bells, I tried to converse with Jenn a little more about that boat and my promotion but she would have none of it. Suffice it to say, it did not go well. 

When I described the bow, she just got stern.