I was watching the football game, sipping on a cool one, when my wife came into the room and informed me that she was invited to a bridal shower and had to get a gift.
"Who is it?" I asked.
She named an old classmate.
"Lord have mercy, she's been married three times and should have enough stuff to stock a small motel," I moaned.
"OK," I said, "I think I have an old lamp in the cellar that I can wrap up for you to bring."
"Don't be silly," she said. "We have to get something nice."
"Suppose you get something she doesn't like?" I mumbled.
"Don't fret too much, Dear," my wife continued. "Before long, they may be having a baby shower."
Gifts for everybody. Gifts for future spouses, gifts for recycled spouses, gifts for babies on the way, gifts for new babies, gifts for everyone except old fishermen.
Suddenly it hits me: What we are talking about here is a loved one, partner and/or beautiful baby.
I immediately thought of Dapple, my beautiful old 21-foot Parker cabin cruiser named after Sancho Panza's mule. Dapple was my partner, my friend and my baby. She served me faithfully for many years. We made such a great team that when we sailed out of Stony Brook Harbor on a fishing trip, most of the fish ran away to Connecticut.
I propose that when someone buys a new boat, a shower is in order. The shower should be given by whoever sells the boat. Invitations should go out to the new boat owner's relatives, friends (close and casual), employer, members of his religious congregation and anyone else good for an expensive gift.
In this way, the new owner can have his boat properly outfitted with GPS navigation, UHF radio and deck chairs. While we're at it, how about winter storage and a lifetime fuel supply? This would, to a small degree, make up for the times the new owner takes some of these people out fishing and they eat and drink everything in the cooler and don't even offer to chip in for the gas.
The new captain could register with any of Long Island's many marine stores, of course, but should also register at liquor stores. We all know we shouldn't drink while boating, but when we return to the dock, a drink or two is in order to celebrate a good day's fishing or mourn a poor one.
The shower would consist of what in my youth we called "a beer racket," with an unending flow of beer and deli delicacies. Near the end, the gifts could be presented. By now everyone should have had enough to drink, so no one could begrudge spending the money for gifts. To end the evening, rented limousines would take the attendees home.
Kids come and go and wives sometimes just go. But a boat stays with you as long as you want it.