There were two wonderful days in the middle of last week. I thought all the ducks had gone north, but on Monday, April 29 I looked out and faithful old George and Alice were bopping around next to my neighbors’ winter anchor buoy for their big inflatable swim raft. King mallard was snoozing on the north dock and his lady was probably on a nest nearby. I have heard their honking from points about 150 feet up the hill from the lake shore, so it won’t be too long before duckies show up.
This nice weather recalled a conversation I had with one of my old friends. Austin Dove and I had discussions about how we might spend a beautiful morning like the ones we had this week. This was all hypothetical, of course, as I was still working and he was retired. Now that I’m almost ready to have the time, Austin is no longer with us.
The vanity plate on his car was ANMND for Austin No Middle Name Dove. This came about because the U.S. Army required a middle name on the daily muster sheet, so the good old U.S. Army put in “no middle name.” He couldn’t simply be Austin Dove.
I enjoyed Austin, as he had a very wide range of curiosity and was well read on lots of matters. Very few would know that he had a yen to build a dory and had obtained patterns, plans, books, and other material. If I’d had the time, I am sure we would have gotten a dory done. Like me, he was a subscriber to “Messing Around In Boats” for many years.
We also imagined that we would lounge around on the village benches in the warmer months, sipping birch beer and sarsaparilla. We would watch the gentry tripping from shop to shop and would comment to each other on their form, carriage, and gait – sort of like the Kentucky Derby commentators. This is something that I would like to do when I have more time next year.