Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Dogs and Boats, and a Distant Relative






I've always thought that dogs and boats don't mix well. This was reinforced back in the 1990's when I moved my boat up the west coast of Florida accompanied only by our young Lab "Moose". My trip plans constantly revolved around getting the dog out for his walks. It seemed annoying, much as I loved the dog. Then one evening I went out for dinner and left him alone on the boat for an hour or two. He found two large bags of potato chips on the counter and ripped them open, eating what he wanted. When I returned to the boat, it looked like it had snowed potato chips in the saloon. And of course the dog got ill later that night, causing other unspeakable problems. The next night when I went to dinner, Moose bit into a plastic gallon jug of bilge cleaner, a very strong soap that poured out and ruined the saloon rug.

But I am older and softer now, and I really can't love my dogs and my boat as much as I do, and somehow try to make them mutually exclusive. So we boarded the dogs while we got the boat from Beaufort to Charleston last Friday and Saturday and while we had friends Dwight and Jennifer Davies staying aboard Sunday night to celebrate my birthday. Then yesterday, the lovely Laura Lee picked them up. Last night was our first night with two dogs living with us on board.

I must say that it requires some planning, and consumes a lot of each day. But the dogs are remarkably adaptable. So far so good. The puppy, "Belle Watling", is actually somewhat easier to manage on the boat than at home because she can't wander out of sight around a big house getting into trouble, and she can't leave the property. The older dog, "Rhett Butler", is pretty cool most anywhere as long as he gets walks, water, and food. We are all adjusting. If they can handle living aboard in a marina, we will move to the next step to trying to travel with them on some trip where we have short hops. Just in case, we have a strip of astroturf available on the bow for times when we can't get the dogs ashore.

While walking the dogs this morning, we started chatting with the owner of the boat next to us in the marina. At some point I introduced myself, and he said "Wait, your name is John Samford?" I said yes and he replied "The friend on my boat helping me move it is also John Samford". As it turns out, it is a distant cousin from Albany, GA that I first met at Auburn in 1968 when we were assigned to ROTC platoons by alphabetical order. The two of us were standing next to one another and both answered the roll call when our name was called. The instructor thought the roll he had been given contained a mistake, and John and I briefly considered taking turns attending drill. I ran into John on occasion while at Auburn, and I understand he lived in Birmingham for some period in the 70's, but I don't think I was aware of that at the time. It was good to catch up. There aren't many of us in the world.


John Samford and John Samford

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