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The Back Forty: Making it yours
The Back Forty
By Roger Pond

I finally broke down and bought a bigger boat. Not a new boat by any means. This boat is nearly 20 years old, but it’s 30 years younger than my old one.

I like old boats. They are so conducive to remodeling.

A person with a new boat puts up with all kinds of inconveniences, just because he’s afraid to change things. The new boat owner is so concerned about retaining the boat’s value he doesn’t want to touch anything.

A guy with an old boat doesn’t care about value. He didn’t pay much for it, anyway.

So he drills holes, tears things out, and puts stuff where it ought to be. It’s like my brother told me years ago, “You know, I don’t think anything I own is just quite perfect.”

The previous owner of my boat told me how much he liked to fish. He said the boat was all set up for fishing.

“In a pig’s eye,” I thought. This boat doesn’t even have a livewell, the rod holders are in the wrong places, and the seats are better suited for sunbathing than for fishing. It looks like a skiing boat to me.

So I went to work. I threw one seat out, cut a lounge seat in half - turned it around, and moved the depth-finder.

“This will be a fishing boat before you know it,” I said to myself.

The next thing to attract my ire were the stereo speakers. Why would a person want to go out on the river and make a bunch of noise with his stereo?

I hate those things. So, I ripped them out.

When I pried out the speakers I said to myself, “This ain’t no dancin’ boat. This is a fishin’ boat!”

My sour mood and surly attitude reminded me of the man who ran the tavern near my old hometown. This fellow could be grouchy, too, and mornings were his worst time.

One Sunday morning a pert, little woman from a nearby campground popped in to order some sandwiches. The tavern owner was leaning on the end of his bar and looking kind of tough.

He hadn’t shaved, his hair wasn’t combed, and his shirt was unbuttoned to his waist. He wasn’t expecting any strangers at that time in the morning.

“I need four deli sandwiches: One ham with Swiss on rye, two ham with American on sourdough, and one roast beef on white bread,” the sprightly lady said.

That was just like poking a bear with a stick. The tavern man put both hands on his bar and glowered at the happy camper.

Then he said, “Look lady. This ain’t no dang eatin’ place. This is a drinkin’ place!”

The only customer present that day says the little lady turned on her heels and left so fast the screen door was still rattling when she was two miles down the road.

I don’t know what all of this has to do with boats, but I’m pretty sure our tavern owner would have ripped out those speakers just like I did.

This farm news was published in the March 15, 2006 issue of Farm World.