My First Boat

In July of 1965, I finally broke down and bought my first boat. The occasion for this was in the form of a very nice commission check. The December before I had joined a large computer company and because of my past sales experience, had been put “on quota” after two of the four required sales training classes. Never attending these classes, I did, however, go on to a successful twenty year, career with the company. That December when I told my C.O. in the Army Reserves about my new job, he immediately assigned me to the inactive reserve, causing me to miss Viet Nam!

But about the new boat, it was a used fourteen footer, with a forty horse Evinrude and trailer, total price $695.00! My first outing with it was to a place in West Galveston Bay, named Alligator Point, only accessible by boat. This place was famed in lore for the deep reefs sloping up to a shallow, shell/sand bottom on the north side of the bay. My first guest was of all things, “Joe The Barber”, Joe Rice, now deceased. We put in on the lower part of Chocolate Bayou and marveled at the convenience the new boat provided.

Our first trip was kinda’ successful. We didn’t catch any specs, large or small, but we boated several, slimy, gaff topsail, catfish, big ones five or six pounds. We did catch several good-sized, ladyfish, or skipjacks, a very acrobatic, inedible fish. These were two to three pounders and, on light tackle, their stamina and twisting, jumps, catfish aside, highlighted our trip! After we got back to the launch ramp, we cleaned the slimy catfish, Joe told me to keep ‘em, cleaned the cooler and our tackle and headed home.

My ex-wife and I had just bought a new home outside of Houston’s, southwest, city limits and before backing the boat into the garage had, as my Dad said later, “Half assed raised the door,” I parked the boat and lifted out the cooler, and with my head down, carrying the cooler, walked right into the metal strip that ran along the bottom of the door.

Needless to say, it knocked me into next week, staggering me, crossing my eyes and immediately making me nauseas. The next morning the doc said that I had a concussion and for me to do nothing for two weeks, no work, no softball, no nothing! I was on the DL for two weeks, but my ex-wife did drive me around on all of my sales calls, my customers enjoyed meeting her, and just think, for two weeks the new (used) boat just sat in the garage.