There's new life on the dead end canal. About three months ago the foreclosure sign went down on 'Jo the Jeweler's' house. An army of landscapers and painters and decorators descended on the property. Almost instantly the rundown house and grounds were brought back to their original, no better, than original state.
Josephine was a decent neighbor who loved selling her neighbors jewelry at deep discounts, we think. She was hit hard by the '08 crash and never recovered but we didn't ask. There wasn't a formal announcement or any party for her and her husband, Sal. They weren't there one day and the moving truck cleaned out the house.
"Would've made a nice garage sale," Cap'n Crunch remarked and that was the last we thought of them. Up until the sale, the neighbors were cutting the grass because the bank wouldn't pay to have it done. It was an eyesore, a half-million dollar eyesore.
Rumors are the couple from New Jersey paid $325,000, which I think was a home run for the bank if it's true. Too often Real Estate agents inflate that info. Everyone celebrated thinking his or her house price would shoot up as well.
Some of us were more concerned with the type of boat that would arrive soon.
"I'll bet it's the biggest, fastest, loudest thing on the water," speculated Boston Bob. That is a possibility but we were curious why he felt so strongly? "Jersey has a dock law that prohibits boats from direct exhaust near docks!"
"So you think that this repressed New Jersey-ite will feel compelled to bring the prohibited type to Florida with them? I'll bet you a bucket of beer at the Nauti Turtle that he doesn't do that," said Eerie Earl. Side bets were made and handshakes were exchanged, and they had their answer 24 hours later.
A local boat yard called our 'Super' Shipbottom Antifouling Bottom Paint hotline and ordered one and a half gallons of 'Super Duper' Black. Normally, an order from this yard would mean that an old customer was repainting with our paint because the yard was on a 'program' that we didn't participate in.
"He's new to the area. Used your paint up north and wanted to get another coat on it before we launched her. The boat's name is Jersey Girl but almost every boat in New Jersey is named that," said the yard manager.
Marion asked his name but most boat yards don't want to give out their customers name unless there is a problem, which there seldom ever is with our paint. "Trojan F 32 is the boat."
I love computers. They are so handy for tracking down this type of information. In their small business they usually sell direct to up-north boaters because they object to the 300 percent markup on bottom paint that the yards add. That is why my son and my wife -I'm retired remember- spend so much time at boat shows.
Marion looked up from the monitor and said 'walla' or some other self-congratulatory type word because she'd found him. "It's Archie Leach," she said to my son. "So."
"So, he's been buying paint from us for at least 10 years. It's such a coincidence that his boat is in Fort Myers," she tried in vein to excite our un-excitable number one son.
Over dinner she told me about her long-time customer being in Fort Myers, and I was amazed. I said something brilliant like 'small world!' The next day when I saw the F-32 go down the canal I became slightly more interested. When I heard Boston Bob was paying for a bucket of beer for Erie Earl, I was elated since we have enough of those types of male-enhancing boats on our canal.
"They sound like a car bomb going off when they start up," said 'Boom Boom' Jones from Youngstown, Ohio, "and I know because I'm from Youngstown, Ohio!" I looked it up and they had a lot of car bombings in that town, so we took his word for it.
The F-32 could never be mistaken for a male enhancing sport boat or a car bomb going off. It is a sweet running twin-engine cruiser with an upper station. This one is a restored mid-80s number that is in perfect condition, far better than the boat's true worth.
We have yet to meet Mister Leach face to face because he hasn't broken free from New Jersey but he did answer an e-mail from Marion in which he expressed surprise at our close proximity. He is a big fan of 'Super' Shipbottom. He will not live in the canal house but will vacation there and his family will also visit. He has officially earned the monicker, 'Joosey Archie' and is eligible for membership in the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club!"
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