Boating: A day to remember... and celebrate
May 4, 2011
Two rules that the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' enforces rigidly are; No Political Discussions and No Religious Discussions in the clubhouse or wherever members gather. Every rule has to have an exception. Monday morning's coffee and donuts gathering started off as a joyous celebration of the successful operation to kill or capture Osama bin Laden.
Half of those gathered there were watching the talking heads on the television while the rest of us toasted the Navy Seals who pulled off a great raid on the walled compound in Pakistan. When the President came on the screen in a replay of his late night announcement, several of our members cheered him while the majority quietly booed.
It wasn't the time to loudly boo the President. Out of respect for the moment, his adamant opposition lowered their verbal opinion. The 'middle of the road-ers' shouted 'alright’ and the supporters cheered. No body heard him because of our excitement.
At that point the master of arms blew his whistle and threw the penalty flag at 'Run-aground Ralph.' “What did I say, what did I do,” demanded Ralph.
“I saw you make the gesture, and that's the first warning,” said Bronx Bomber Larry, our enforcer of the rules. The flag rarely comes out in the clubhouse because the members are very disciplined against slip. Since this wasn't a sanctioned meeting, there was some discussion if the flag was appropriate.
“Things can get out of control very quickly with this crowd,” said Bronx Bomber Larry. “I don't care if the gavel hasn't come down on this meeting, we ain't going to break the Politics and Religion rule!”
Most of us applauded the 'Bomber' despite the irony of his nickname. We went back to the television set or to the dwindling coffee and donuts.
“You have to admit that the President has had a pretty good weekend,” said the news commentator. “Hawaii released his long form birth certificate. He was very funny at the White House Correspondents' dinner where he aimed some hilarious zingers at 'the Donald,' and then he ordered the operation against Americas' most wanted terrorist. Finally, his Sunday night speech announcing bin Laden's death interrupted Donald Trump's 'The Apprentice” television show!”
The boos were unfettered from the majority of the members. They drowned out the cheers. And that is when the Master of Arms seized the remote control and turned off the television set. That calmed the crowd and broke up the informal meeting. The donuts were gone anyway. We broke up and went our way to watch and cheer or boo in gatherings of like-minded individuals.
Most of us went to our homes and broke out 'old glory.' Up and down the canal and our roads, flags and banners flew the entire day. We watched the television most of the day, and we thumped our chests with pride. Around three in the afternoon, e-mail alerts started bouncing around. There was a proposal for an impromptu dinner meeting and or a happy hour gathering.
Most of us opted for an informal happy hour meeting after Commodore Jim warned us, via e-mail, not to continue the emotional tone of the morning gathering. “We should all rejoice the results of the Navy Seals operation but, despite the success, it is obvious that our strongly held political views will push our clubs rules too far!”
On our way to happy hour, there were conspicuous displays of patriotism up and down the waterway. Boaters waved small American flags at each other and a feeling of pride was evident. I was on teetotaler Captain Chuck's boat. It has a large Marine Corps insignias on the side of his boat and. that day. he flew an oversized American flag from the stern. Horns honked and flags waved as we cruised the harbor.
We stopped at several waterfront restaurants and toasted the Navy Seals. We crossed paths with several groups of 'DECYC' members but the rhetoric remained positive and neutral. None of us cheered or booed when the never ending repeats of the news showed the President.
It was a very good and proud day, all in all. But, happy hour wasn't completely without controversy. At one gathering Cap'n Crunch was the recipient of a glass of ice water over his head after using a very, very derogatory euphemism for the President. I wasn't there so I can't tell who did the deed, but next time I'll buy whoever it was a beer.
Boatguy Ed is a retired bottom paint maker and is currently a volunteer extra on his son's Boater's Treasures television show which sells half priced dining certificates to local waterfront restaurants, www.boaterstreasures.com. Send your comments to boatguiEd@aol.com!