One of the best parts of boating and fishing is that we get to hang out in boating and fishing communities. They’re places where even the most everyday item has something to do with our favorite pastimes on the water.
Out here in Massachusetts for example, we’re not surrounded by the mundane. We are immersed in our favorite activities from start to finish. Everywhere we turn we are reminded that there is more to life than duty and obligation.
Take this flower bed for instance. It’s in my hometown and is called a Jacob’s Garden. Local legend has it that following a hurricane in the 1800’s, Minister Jacob found plants and dirt strewn in an old dory in his yard. As the boat was in total disrepair, the thoughtful pastor continued to fill the boat with soil and plants, thereby making good use of the craft in its final resting place.
Some folks can’t get enough Maine lobster to eat, and check out this innovative seat that was built by a lobsterman? It can comfortably hold two adults or three or four kids, cost about $50 to make, and is totally weatherproof with no maintenance whatsoever. The colorful buoys on top are fun and as each lobsterman has floats of his own color and design, the seat is a combination of lots of family’s efforts.
Mooring balls are normally found underwater and serve a utilitarian function: they anchor our boats in a harbor. This one in particular is a lot more festive and was turned into a giant pumpkin. Originally it was a Halloween tradition, but folks loved it so much that it now stays up all-year long.
Ever seen an off-season skiff double as a Christmas tree stand? Well now you have! You’ve got to have an enormous living room if you’re going to bring it all inside….
An eye-catching sign is on top of a really great restaurant. It’s of a fisherman in a dory hauling in a net. You don’t have to look to hard to see the colossal lobster all tangled up heading for the table.
And last but not least is a buoy tree. Fierce Nor’easters tear them from their lines causing them to wash-a-shore. When they do they are gathered by beachcombers and added to a tree. Some are colorful, others are drab, but they all pay homage to the folks who make their living on the water.
There are so many different ways that communities rally around their fishing and boating traditions. What kind do you routinely see?
Tom Keer is an award-winning freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He regularly writes for over a dozen magazines, and is the contributing editor of Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America and a columnist for The Upland Almanac. His book a “Flyfisher’s Guide to the New England Coast” was published by Wilderness Adventures Press in 2010. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com