Every year the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' tries to honor a sailing hero. We've hailed Ted Turner for his Americas Cup victories, Admiral 'Bull' Halsey for his triumphal victories during WW II and even Hugh Hefner for his 87' mega-yacht crewed by 'Bunnies.'
This year we went for the 'Big Kahuna' of American nautical hero's, John Paul Jones, since one of our members claims direct descendant from the first of a long line of famous American seaman. 'Annapolis Fred' Jones has genealogical proof that back in the late 1780's JPJ fathered an illegitimate son in St. Petersburg, Russia, Fred's great-great-great-great grandfather.
'Annapolis Fred' Jones was a professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy and he is a scholar on JPJ's life. No wonder, if he is really related. We have our doubts but some of that is jealousy. In any event, 'Annapolis Fred' spins a great yarn about his relative and true or not it entitles JPJ honorary membership and Past Commodore status in the club.
Fred always starts of with a disclaimer, "My great-great-great-great grandfather wasn't John Paul Jones. His name at the time was Rear Admiral Pavel Dzones in the service of Catherine II of Russia. My great-great-great-great grandmother was a servant to a wealthy Rhodes Island businessman who lived in Russia part of the year.
Pavel Dzones had been recalled to St. Petersburg after he successfully drove Ottoman Turkish forces from the Black Sea in 1788. While he languished in isolation from the Navy, he was accused of philandering with young women and low moral character by jealous Russian rivals," stated 'Annapolis Fred' Jones at the posthumous induction ceremony.
"Here, here," said 'Erie' Earl as he raised his glass in response to the accusations, "and you're living proof!"
"Right you are," stated Fred. "I am a direct descendant of our young countries' greatest naval hero. Like other Americans of that time, he was born in England, served aboard English merchant ships rising to position of Master and finally being charged with killing a mutineer. He came to live in America because he couldn't get his case tried in an Admiralty court."
"I think we should re-enact your great-great-great-great grandfather's most famous battle," said Run-aground Ralph. "I'm sure he would have been a 'Tea Party-er' so he deserves all we can do!'
"I think we should just rent the movie, John Paul Jones with Robert Stack? I don't remember the part with your great-great-great-great grandmother," said Boston Bob.
"I wonder why we didn't see that movie on July 4th? Last year I swore 'The Patriot' was on every channel," said the Reverend. He's still mad at the star for some religious movie he made.
"I think you might be right about "The Patriot' movie," Erie Earl paused tapping the screen of his fancy phone and his eyes lighted, "but you're wrong about the JPJ movie! TCM has it coming on at 10 o'clock Saturday!"
"That's perfect timing. We'll meet at your house at 9:30 for coffee and blueberry pancakes and pay homage to my forefather at ten," 'Annapolis Fred' Jones said to me. "We'll need plenty of carbs before the long day of celebrating."
"I appreciate your affection for my pancakes but they are usually reserved for special fund raising events. You're just trying to get some blueberry pancakes on the cheap," I replied.
"Can we bring our better halves," asked Cap'n Crunch?
"Only if they stay for the whole movie," said Fred Jones.
It irked me that he could pin me down so easily about the pancakes but I had an ace up my sleeve and wanted to play out my scenario. While everyone was comfortable with a belly full of banana, blueberry pancakes, I intended to burst 'Annapolis Fred' Jones' bubble. I'd found out some very interesting facts about JPJ while researching about his life while preparing for the induction ceremony, and it might be the downfall of Fred's claim.
The fact had nothing to do with the brave hero who fought and won so many battles for his adopted country. Certainly not, but it might refute Fred's claim because JPJ was just John Paul until he arrived in America. He added the last name Jones as a tribute to his patriot benefactor in Virginia. That might lay a cloud over Fred's lineage.
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by boatguy Ed