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Anarchistic musings from a SE Alaska harbor
By Ed Sasser

Thanksgiving Dinner on "Wasting Away"

Eddy’s Chuck,* Alaska: What’s in a boat name? Our friends, Stan and Candy, aboard the "Wasting Away" are only too willing to tell the story when there is an impromptu dockside gathering near their homebuilt 40-foot barrel boat. They are both very honest people and tell the story as they remember it. Sometimes her story is different than his story. Sometimes his story is different in the morning than in the late evening. He tells it as he honestly remembers it at the time. In fact, Stan is one of those folks who is so honest, the story can be different each time he tells it.

The basic facts of the naming of the "Wasting Away" involve Stan’s attempts to wire his CD player into the speakers he used for his tape player. Stan and Candy both agree on the part where he ended up with Jimmy Buffett sounds emanating from one speaker and an Iron Butterfly drum solo coming out of the other.

What follows from that point depends upon the time of day and the kind of refreshments being served.

Stan usually indicates that he went on to invent the Margarita Inagadadavida but every time somebody tries to pin him down on the ingredients, he spouts off with a different recipe. Candy says she was immediately inspired by the music and took the juxtaposition of the tunes as a sign she was to change the name of the vessel. She changed the hailing port as well and now Eddy’s Chuck Marina is blessed with "Wasting Away" Inagadadavidaville.

I share all of this so that you can understand our trepidation at being invited to Thanksgiving Dinner. We’ve done some underway potlucks and many dock parties with these folks but never anything formal. When Thanksgiving Day arrived, we were amazed and delighted at finding a formal and traditional dinner in process-complete with cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. It was Stan’s next request for which I was unprepared.

"Since today is a 20-foot tide, I was wondering if you’d give me a hand," Stan asked. I agreed and we went outside. I thought I’d caught Candy giving Stan "the look" but wasn’t sure.

What Stan needed help with was changing a leaking barrel. He had a 350 cubic inch engine block from his old Chevy pick-up on the bottom under his houseboat and wanted to use the chain and pulley he’d rigged up to pull out a barrel---letting the tide do the work. I agreed, and we made short work of hooking things up. We cleated off the line and were back into dinner in no time.

We ate for two hours and hardly noticed the severe listing to port as the tide came in.

Finally, Candy stood up from the table and, after considerable effort walking to the sink, said: "Why are we listing so."

Stan mumbled an obscenity and dashed out onto the dock. I followed, still holding a piece of pumpkin pie, to see the entire row of barrels under water. Stan had forgotten to loosen the stainless steel strap holding the 55-Gallon plastic barrel into its cradle. Without any announcement, he jumped into a neighbor’s dinghy and freed the barrel with the tin snips from his rigging bag.

Ka-bloosh, Clang, Rattle went the houseboat. I don’t know how many degrees it went to starboard but it seemed much more than what it had been listing to port.

When the barrel boat quit rocking, Stan and I slowly moved back inside, unsure of what kind of reception we would receive. Peering around the French doors with the handmade stained glass, we saw the women in our lives-covered with gravy, pie and cranberries. Stan started apologies but nobody could keep a straight face long enough to listen.

Thank God for the ability to laugh at our shortcomings.

Happy Thanksgiving from Eddy’s Chuck.

(*Eddy’s Chuck Alaska is a fictitious harbor populated by real Alaskan Noodlers.)

Copyright 1999-2000 by Ed Sasser. All rights reserved.


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