The boat Show
Around here, the first sign of Spring is The Boat Show! Every year for as long as I can remember the announcement of The Boat Show weekend signals the first sign that the long winter is losing the battle and spring is just around the corner.
Everyone with an interest in boats, fishing, camping and summer outdoor recreation heads for the community complex that hosts the boat dealers and assorted other folks promoting things related to boating and the outdoors.
My Dad and I always made the pilgrimage to the annual show when I was a kid, and I was tasked with running around gathering up the brochures and magazines that were free for the taking. Dad had me pretty well trained to look for brochures related to aluminum boats and small outboard motors, Johnson, Evinrude and Mercury, at the time, they were the big three around here. Dad was a fisherman, he didn’t have much interest in yachts or speedboats, and we owned a cottage so travel trailers held no allure at all, but small boats, man he loved them.
We were always on the hunt for a 9.5 or 9.9 Johnson or Evinrude outboard. Dad was fond of motors made by the Outboard Marine Company, which meant Johnson and Evinrude. When the 15 horsepower OMC outboard motor’s became the boat engine of choice he had to have one. We usually went for 12 and 14 foot aluminum boats which were popular choices in those days. To tell the truth, I don’t even recall too many 16 footers on display in those days, unlike today, when they have become quite the norm.
The boats today have come a long way, even small aluminum boats, coming with carpet, padded swivel seats, lights, rod holders, fish boxes, you name it. In my day, we just looked to see what size outboard it could handle and if it had oarlocks, owing to the fact that sometimes the motors weren’t as dependable as we might have liked. The choice of aluminum boats around here wasn’t very broad either, it was mostly Princecraft and Springbok, but it seems they had had lots of different designs.
We usually made the rounds of the displays on a Saturday night, he knew a few of the dealers, so there was always time to stop and chat with them, even though he had no intention of buying anything. It was also a social get together for the cottagers from our lake, as we would meet many of them at the show. I always remember our neighbor and his wife, always dressed like they were going to a dance or expensive dinner, not a boat show. Yes, it was almost a formal event for them. Not like today, when the bulk of the folks are in jeans and sneakers and don’t look like they could afford to buy a set of oars let alone a new boat. The funny thing is, today, most of them could afford a new boat, but when I was younger, although folks dressed like the rich and famous, most of them couldn’t afford a pair of oar either.
It’s funny what you remember, but I can’t help but think how those things I did with my Dad stayed with me all my life, and it goes to show the importance of doing stuff with your kids every chance you can, although they may not necessarily look like it at the time, they are going to remember it.
This year the boat show is on this weekend, and I am considering going, although, somehow it just isn’t the same anymore. Perhaps because my Dad is a little too old at 89 years to walk around, or perhaps because we have boats and motors now, and don’t seem to be in need of anymore, at least not yet…maybe after I have a look at the new 4 cycle outboards….
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