Going down memory lane. A look back at my Dad and his boat.
| “Tokey’s Boat”
By Richard Briley
By Richard Briley
I loved getting in the ole boat to go fishing with Dad. When Dad first purchased the tri bottom boat in 1969 I was so excited that I slept in it that first night in the garage. It had the new smell of fiberglass that's just hard to describe. No more wooden boats for us we had moved uptown in the world of boating.
Getting in the boat without falling was always a challenge when it was in the water. I’d don the life jacket while listening to water whip gently on the bottom of the boat. I can still smell the faint odor of gasoline and oil. Dad would always have this smile when he stepped in and sat at the driver’s seat.
“Bubba,” he would say, “unhook us and cast off.” I would look back at Dad and acknowledge we were loose. Dad would turn the key to start the motor. The old Chrysler 55 hp outboard motor would never start on the first time. After the third try it would cough, spit and then start. It never idled smooth but was always shaking at low idle.
A thumping sound could be heard as outboard was shifted into reverse. We began to gently pull away from the dock. Once out into deeper water the thumping sound was heard again as the boat was now shifted into forward. Dad was always very gentle on the throttle as we pulled away from the shore.
Dad sporting that old cowboy hat that had been set on and run over a couple hundred times as he scanned the lake. The boat began to increase speed until we were clipping along at a nice rate. The fresh smell of the lake and sound of the old Chrysler engine whining was a tranquil feeling.
Finally we reached the spot and the engine was throttled down to an idle. Coughing and spitting every three seconds until the engine was shut down. Looking around and talking low, Dad would say almost in a whisper, “Bubba, this is a good spot right here.” We would pull out the rod and reels and open the tackle box.
My favorite was the, “Devils Horse”. It was a nasty looking top water lure with triple hooks. Hooking it up without sticking yourself was an art that I never seemed to master. The fishing would begin and last for a few hours. It was just fun to go and get away from everyday life. We weren’t real serious fishermen but just going out to break the routine. I can still hear that sound of the water knocking against the bottom of the ole boat as we sat there fishing.
Not much was said during those hours of fishing. Until the silence was broken by, “I got one,” followed by a short burst of laughter. “Alright now lets get another one,” Dad would say. Peaceful is the only way to describe the entire experience.
Both Dad and the ole boat have gone now but the fond memories remain. “Tokey,” was Dad's nickname he carried all his life. How he got that nickname no ones seems to know. His boat never had a official name like most boats do. While writing this piece it occurred to me his boat did have a name, “Tokey’s boat.”
Comments from my Sister Cathy:
I could see it all just the way you described but if this was my story I would have to say that there was nothing fun about it. The smells were of rotten fish. The bugs were swarming everywhere. It was hot, and I needed to pee. I was bored, hungry, and when were we going in? The sound of a coughing motor meant we were gonna get stuck out on that lake without a way to get back. Lifejackets were smelly, dirty and hot. The only time I was happy was when we were moving at a fast clip. Slowing down meant the boat sunk deeper in the lake...and that meant we could turn over, sink and drown. Oh Lord, the differences between Brothers and Sisters...There was nothing peaceful about it. I whined and griped the whole time. I'm sure Dad wanted to strangle me but he was always so patient. Tell that one.