To Build a Boat (kit) – Last Day

…..or Meet Rosie.

IMG_5156 On Friday past I turned the last wing-nut, named my boat and launched her. WOW. I don’t even need to blur my eyes to hide the flaws when I stand back and look at her. She’s some boat for sure. Here’s a little of how it went down:

I spent the morning installing the rowing unit and getting her settled on the trailer (the trailer is from the USA and the story of importing and registering it would fill a whole other Blog post – a real rant worthy of Rick Mercer’s attention). I checked my horoscope in the paper:

Gemini. May 21-June 20. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Shine your shoes, get a haircut, or put together an outfit that tells the world you’re worthy of notice. Make yourself into a desirable package; no plain brown wrapper needed. Ha, auspicious, I thought.

 

Expedition Wherry designed by John C. Harris of Chesapeake Light Craft

Expedition Wherry, a stich and glue rowboat designed by John C. Harris of Chesapeake Light Craft

 

Another view of Rosie.

Another view of Rosie.

Then I went inside to make cupcakes for the celebration, and a piggin for the launch.

What's a celebration without a cupcake?

What’s a celebration without a cupcake?

 

Yes, I really did use all that molasses. I've been saving the jug since last fall for this very purpose.

Yes, I really did use all that molasses. I’ve been saving the jug since last fall for this very purpose.

I donned my Rosie the Riveter outfit and set up the electric bubble-maker (I find any excuse I can to use it since I bought it for our wedding party) and put on some Stan Rogers. Sadly, I couldn’t find a single CD of Newfoundland music – Harry Hibbs would have been my first pick. My good neighbour Larry got into the spirit of the occasion and hung his signal flags on the fence and the Union Jack on the deck rail.

Nautical all the way.

Not sure what those flags spell out, Larry, it must be in cypher.

Then family, friends, and neighbours gathered and nibbled on cupcakes and Richmond Maids of Honour and  quiche and spanakopita and Big Turk bars (real Turkish Delight is made with rose water) while I tidied up the boat. I promised my guests I wouldn’t post them on the internet, which is a shame because I’d love to show them off. Shirley, who has trouble walking, walked all the way from her house and Cynthia donned her best nautical top in Rosie’s honour. The turn-out was great and I wished that my family weren’t so far away.

A little spit and polish and Henri's peonies to make Rosie ready.

A little spit and polish and Henri’s peonies to make Rosie ready for her formal naming.

 

I give them "ham" and roses.

I give them “ham” and roses.

Larry called everyone to muster with his bosun’s whistle (you could tell he knew what he was doing – a good Navy man is Larry) Now there’s nothing I like better than to give a speech. Sadly, in the excitement of it all, I forgot the whole chunk with the thank-yous as well as the names of the Gods of the Sea. (Actually I think I got off-script when someone answered a rhetorical question, which just added to the fun) So here is the dedication complete with acknowledgments:

“So there’s two questions which need to be answered here today.

Number 1: Why build a boat? Jeez, somebody had to do it! Besides, nothing is too much trouble if there is fun to be had!! I couldn’t have built this boat without the cooperation of family, friends and neighbours. Lance, thanks for your extraordinary patience. You can have your music room back now. Nard and Gail, I promise the next time you see me at your back door I won’t be looking for a second, third or fourth set of hands. And James, only a rare handful of special people have witnessed a Parsons in a genuine boat-building frenzy. You’re a lucky lad.

Number 2: Why name a boat? After all, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Old fashioned rose

Old fashioned rose

But I’m old fashioned that way. And besides, I spent many months gestating this baby; turning these pieces of raw wood and plastic and varnish into a vessel and shortly I’ll be giving them life so I have to have something to call it other than Hey You, Boat. I eliminated many potential names: Silken after the rower Silken Laumann. Sarah May after my sweet daughter, but that’s a Daddy thing – naming a boat after his little girl and it wouldn’t be fair to exclude my son. Harmony. Melody. My middle sister suggested Serendipity. Rowan. Fluffy Frisky Snoopy Henry Samuel George the Seventh. My big sister asked “Well, what do you like to do?” I like to row, see. My big brother asked “Well, how do she make you feel?” She makes me feel empowered like Rosie the Riveter! She makes me feel just Rosie.

We Can Do It

We Can Do It

Roses – They are pink, like girl power. I have smelled wild roses on the dunes of Sable Island and along the shore of Newfoundland by my Grandmother’s garden and for me they are synonymous with adventure. ROSIE it is.”

Neptune, Saint Peter, Poseidon and Aegir, Bless this boat and all who row her.

Neptune, Saint Peter, Poseidon and Aegir, Bless this boat and all who row her.

Sarah popped some corks, someone passed out rubber ducky paper cups, someone else distributed the pink bubbly (I was so excited it was all a blur a this point) and I doused the deck with what was left in the bottle and a generous helping of Purity syrup, the nectar of the Newfoundland child. I would have liked to have used Newfie Screech but I couldn’t find it in Liverpool. Anyhow, syrup is more sweet and rosy.

I would have like to have used Newfie Screech but I couldn't find it in Liverpool. Anyhow, syrup is more sweet and rosy.

I name you Rosie.

Then a handful of us off to the marina to see if she would float.

Stern first down the slip.

Stern first down the slip.

 

The ceremonial handing off of the oars.

The ceremonial handing off of the oars. Nard is always there to lend a hand when needed.

 

Rosie rows. Hmm, are those oars on the wrong side of the pins?

Rosie rows.

Hmm, are those oars on the wrong side of the pins? Despite that, and having one oarlock work loose (I’m lucky I still have it) she rowed beautifully. Not the least bit cranky, she tracked true, and despite her length she could spin on a sand-dollar.

Judy loves Rosie.

Judy loves Rosie.

They that go down to the sea in ships; That do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.

© Judy Parsons 2015

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