Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ode to my Chair


About a week ago, as I was coming in from fishing, my fine old captains chair gave up the ghost. The base at the bottom of the legs had rusted out, and with nothing to help support the legs at the bottom they became weak and subject to breakage, which is what they did. At first I just lost one leg. It snapped off where it fit into the seat and couldn't be repaired. I managed to sit on three legs with the right arm resting on the table to help give it a little more support. It wasn't overly comfortable, but I managed. Then, last week as I was returning home, I was entering an area near Flynn Cove where there is a lot of tidal action. The tide was ebbing and the wind was blowing from the west against the tide, so there was a lot of rolling and slamming up and down. Well, the chair couldn't take it any more and collapsed, breaking off two more legs. Of course I went down with it and spilled coffee everywhere, and had to stand the rest of the way in. It was an unpleasant event- I've had that chair for fifteen or more years. So to honor the good service I got from it, I decided to do a little poem. I don't know how to do poems, so please bear with me as I pour out my heart and soul in this little literary masterpiece- Ode to my Chair.

Oh chair, oh chair, my lovely old chair
How often you welcomed my large derriere
You were ancient of days, scarred up and bruised
I held you together with nails, glue and screws
And on your  four legs I put rubber shoes
To keep you from sliding around

Oh chair how often I rested on your old wooden seat
A comfortable spot for my big slab of meat
And often I thought, well this is sure neat
To sit on a swivel chair

You were made of wood, metal and glue
And then when you broke I felt kind of blue
But I didn't fret, or cry or swear
For there were still three legs left on my wonderful chair
And so I sat again

Now three legs are fine in almost all places
But here on the boat with limited spaces
I struggled to keep all three legs aligned
And though it did work most of the time
It was always a struggle

Oh chair, my dear chair, through no fault of your own
Your metal base rusted where salt water was sown
Your wooden joints weakened (it happens with age)
So now it is time to turn a new page
And see what happens next

You know my dear chair I tried hard to fix you
Sometimes with nails and sometimes with glue
It never did work so what could I do?
I had no choice but to buy another

It's true chair I'm cheap, or perhaps the word's frugal
And I happened to look on the search engine Google
But there's no chair just like you, and though you are broken
I hung on to your seat and words were then spoken
To my daughter Jen

Her husband Justin is a right handy sort
And who knows oh my chair, he might be a good sport
And fix you

Perhaps from big dowels he'll make you new legs
From the parts that are left over he might whittle some pegs
And you'll begin a new phase of your life

And now my dear chair, I bid you farewell
You served me so faithfully, your seat was just swell
Your legs were strong towers, your swivel sublime
But now my old friend, I'm afraid that it's time
To part ways. Thanks for the memories

Monday, July 23, 2012

Colorado Tragedy


Pt. Adolphus

Pleasant Island


Looking up into Glacier Bay

















Since the terrible night that the gunman in Colorado took it upon himself to murder and maim dozens of innocent people, it's been the focus of every news network. While I think it is of much more importance than the death of Michael Jackson or Anna Nicole Smith, and certainly more pressing than the political landscape, and the horror of what has happened has to be reported, my personal opinion is that it can't be allowed to dominate the news to the exclusion of almost everything else. I don't mean to be disrespectful to the family members who are left to deal with the aftermath. For all I know they may welcome a reprieve from the prying eyes of the cameras. As often happens in a situation like this, the reporters and anchormen start picking apart every detail, they interview every possible witness and friends or relatives of witnesses in hopes of finding something new to report on. The stations bring in experts on mental health and terrorism and crime and child psychologists. For me it all becomes too much- its no longer news, its opinion and sensationalism. Of course because guns were used there are new cries for stricter gun laws. However, laws don't change behavior. We have laws against child molestation and kidnapping too, but both are on the rise. I believe that what we have here is a nation that has relaxed its grip on what used to be common moral beliefs. We don't want God in our schools or public places and in many cases in our homes. Every one has rights and indecent behavior is flaunted and applauded. What was wrong is right and vice-a-versa. When I worked in the school some years back it wasn't uncommon for little kids to swear at each other and even at the teachers. There is no respect for authority and many who are in authority haven't earned respect. Self control is a dirty phrase it would seem. We don't lack laws, we lack the desire to do what we know is right. The government has more laws on the books than anyone, even  in congress, can recite. The health care law alone is 2700 pages long. If laws could regulate behavior, why, we should be the most righteous people to ever have walked the earth. I find it interesting that God Almighty laid out just ten commandments. Jesus summed it all up in one- love your neighbor as yourself. My apologies for the soapbox speech. Sometimes you just have to let er' rip. Meanwhile, not all is gloom and doom on planet earth. God is still on the throne.As my pastor said, He didn't go on vacation  and forget about us. Perhaps this latest tragedy is a wake up call. I hope we wake up soon. God bless you all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

YO HO HO and a Bottle of Rum!








Salmon fishing was a little slow this week, and since I didn't know when it would pick up, and since I had to catch my 902 pound quota of halibut, I figured I'd go ahead and load up the long line reel and get her done. I was fortunate enough to be able to enlist the services of Captain Marc  Miller of the Fishing Vessel Mickey V to come crew with me. There is no way I can do the halibut fishery by myself. The top picture shows three halibut of pretty substantial size. Two of them weighed 111 pounds each. The one in the center is supposed to be 129 pounds. Thats according to the tide book. In the back is a chart that gives the lengths and the corresponding live weight and net weight after the gills and guts are removed. I think the bigges one was about 67 inches long. It might have been longer I can't recall. I don't have a tide book with me at the moment to double check. The gross weight was like 176 pounds or some such thing. It was a struggle to get these big gals on board. The three fish pictured there were a total weight of 351 pounds. However, frankly I believe the big one weighed more. When we sold I went over my quota by 45 pounds. The bottom picture shows yet another 111 pound halibut. We also caught some grey cod, a Quillback Rockfish and a couple of  Rougheye Rockfish. Commercial fishermen are feeding the world!  I've never had three big ones of the same weight before. They're a real pain to handle, but they sure look good when you go in to sell, and each one brings in a nice price. Not bad for two old guys. Of course today I can hardly move- halibut wrestling should be an Olympic sport.The two middle pictures show Captain Marc. On my boat I get to be the captain and the crew is confined to the cockpit or the fish hold doing hard manual labor while I sit in my captains chair and sip hot toddy's and talk on the radio. Usually they only get stale bread and some dirty bilge water to drink at meal time, but if it's Saturday, I relinquish and they get a half pint of grog with a hard biscuit and a bite of moldy cheese. I can't understand why I have such a hard time getting crew hands. On a side note, I decided to look up grog and found out that it was a rum drink mixed with water and sometimes lemon and spices. It was named after a British admiral, Edward Vernon,  who was nicknamed Old Grog (alluding to his Grogram cloak). Apparently in 1740 he ordered the drink to be served to the sailors instead of pure spirits. The sailors may have said it was named after the cloak, but Old Grog was probably really alluding to something that shouldn't be printed in this blog, the true meaning  most probably would have gotten the sailors hung from the yard arm. It is kind of a raw deal to short change those poor sailors, but I guess if you  have muskets and sabres and cannons loose on the ship you don't want the sailors to be under the influence. Well shipmates, Ol' Captain Tom is going to stop writing and get on with some other business. I think I'll run to the tattoo shop and have a three masted schooner tattooed on my left forearm and an anchor with the name of the fine old fishing boat Bonnie J tattooed on the right. Aargh!






Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shades of Violet


Columbine

More Columbine

Cone Flower

Wild Iris

Lupine
 When I got out of bed this morning I was startled to see a strange yellow orb blazing away in the sky. Mothers were frantically calling their kids inside- "kids get in here, it's shining!"
"What is it mom?It's hot!"  "I believe it's called the sun, I'm not sure."
 It's been awhile since we've seen any sunshine around here. It was amazing how much it bouyed my spirit. I didn't feel the need to run for the vitamin D bottle for the first half of the day, and I was able to walk to the boat without rain gear. By mid afternoon though, things were back to nomal and we had a good shower going. Wouldn't want to have any drought here- that might happen if the sun were to shine for more than two days in a row. As you can see from these pictures, purple seems to be the dominate color around here. Maybe purple flowers don't need much sun to grow. Perhaps you've heard of the latest best selling book- Fifty Shades of Grey? I saw it all over the airport shops when I was traveling to St. Louis. I looked it up on Amazon because I wanted to see what all the buzz was about and why it was so popular. I guess it's an erotic fantasy written for women-at least I think thats what it is. I read one of the reviews and it sounded like it was pretty amature. The critic said it could  have been written by a fourteen year old girl. I guess sex sells no matter how poorly it's written. Maybe I could write a novel titled- Kind of a Lot of Shades of Purple, or perhaps - A Whole Bunch of Shades of Lavender or Multitudes of Shades of Perriwinkle. Somehow I don't think it would make it to the New York Times best seller list. It might be mistaken for a documentary on that purple dinosour, Barney, from some kids show. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against icons in kids shows. Barney doesn't do much for me, but I am a huge fan of Sponge Bob Square Pants. I really like the opening song with the picture of the pirate with the mouth cut out and real lips singing- ohhhhh who lives in a pineapple under the sea? - You know the rest. Man I wish I had thought of that. Lord knows how many countless kids ( and adults- admit it- you've watched)  have seen that show. I can't watch it when Jan is home. She doesn't appreciate the artistic flair, the uncommon imagination, the advanced humor that is displayed in this show.  Patrick Star is kind of a goof, but who doesn't know someone like that- and I love Squidward- down to earth, crabby, unwilling to put up with too much crap. If I played the flute or clarinet or whatever he plays, he might remind me of myself. As it is, he reminds me of someone else who I won't mention here for fear he might be offended. In any event, it's getting late and I've covered a multitude of subjects, none of which have anything to do with each other, so before I step off the deep end, I'll bid you all a good night.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

One Fish, Two Fish- Red Fish, Blue Fish

 For lack of anything better to write about I thought I would do another post on my fishing. On this particular day, I happened to  have caught a few. There are mainly Chum salmon in the bag, but I see a Coho or two and some  Pinks as well. These fish are in a heavy mesh bag that is immersed in a salt water slush. It makes them really firm and preserves the flesh and eggs inside as long as there is enough ice in the water. I don't have to clean the dogs ( Chum) because the cold storage wants the eggs. They make a pretty penny on them selling them to the Asian market- primarily Japan I think.
   I'm really tired today and my brain seems to be on a vacation. Actually it may be on a sabbatical- an extended sabbatical. I hate it when that happens. I just sit here and stare at the computer screen like one of these dog salmon- a vacant look in my eye. Yeah, not much going on inside here. Botts is in a trance again. I should have a sign on my forehead- space for rent, inquire within. Its a little unnerving on the one hand. When you're drawing a blank in the writing department, just put up a bigger picture, it makes the blog post look longer than it is. When I 'm out fishing, and especially when it's slow, my mind is firing off witty thoughts like I was a stand up comedian. I entertain myself, sometimes even laughing out loud, but then when I get here and would like to pass on some witticism to the adoring masses, I draw a blank. What the... who the... how the... where in the...  . I'm going to put a period at the end of all the dots. I don't know the correct grammatical etiquette for dealing with that. Damn the ignorance! You watch, as soon as I publish this post, my brain will suddenly recover from it's coma-like state and I'll produce a plethora of incredibly entertaining remarks with only myself to enjoy them. Go figure.
  Do you remember Dr. Suess? He's the one who wrote One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish. Some guys have all the luck. I know how to rhyme words. I could probably make as much sense as some of the stuff he put out. Take my name for instance. Botts. It rhymes with pots, lots, tots, hots, rots, clots. Ol'Tom Botts, he had some tots, lots and lots, little Botts tots, sometimes they were snots, mostly they're nots. If I had enough time I could probably produce a kids book, after all, I do  have a child like mind at times. Guess I'll go take care of some of the other mindless chores I have to do today. Perhaps I'll run across something a little more entertaining for the next post.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Follow the concrete sidewalk

Every year when I was growing up, usually in the spring as I recall, one of the  TV stations would run the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. If you recall there was a part when Dorothy lands in Munchkin land and all the little munchkins start singing about following the yellow brick road. It would lead to Emerald City in the land of Oz. Well, we don't have a yellow brick road, but we do have a  greyish-white concrete sidewalk, and while it doesn't lead to Emerald City, the area surrounding Hoonah is pretty green right now so maybe that counts for something. I really like this sidewalk. It gives a little bit of a finished look to the area. I'm hoping that the tourists will utilize it now that it's here. One of my biggest complaints with the tourists is that they walk in the road, seemingly oblivious to the fact that people are using the roads to DRIVE on. What a strange concept that must be to some- or so it would seem. The state even erected signs alongiside the road way warning people not to block traffic. With such a diverse group coming off the ships, I wonder if they shouldn't put the warning in like twelve different languages like at the airport. Or, they could just put a picture of a person walking in the road with a circle and an X through it-an internationally recognized symbol that you can't do something;  or perhaps a drawing of someone being thrown through the air with two x's for eyes and a madman like driver hunched over the steering wheel, looking strangely like me, speeding off down the road. Anyway, at least for the stretch of road from the cannery to the ferry terminal there is a delightful new sidewalk for everyone's pleasure. Jan and I decided to take the dog for a walk several nights ago and enjoy the new, smooth, delightful concrete path. Rigby took about thirty steps, stopped ,squatted and took a dump right there, on our brand new sidewalk. That's not even natural. He didn't even bother looking for a patch of grass or a bush close by. How rude! Fortunately Jan had enough forsight to bring a few plastic bags with her. He wasn't the first four legged creature to christen the walk though. When it was still under construction a bear decided to leave his mark too. I heard that one walked on the wet concrete as well. I guess they smoothed it out. Too bad. I would have left it- it would have made a great conversation piece.