“The Old Girl Had a Good Run.”

The two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it. You’ve heard the old joke, I’m sure. Every time I have, every boat owner within earshot smiles a wry smile and nods his head in agreement.

I’m sure my friend Andy felt the same way when he sold his boat in December. But then seller’s remorse set it. Andy had already replaced his 1983 Lowe Paddle Jon with a newer, nicer model but as he watched the old girl pull out of his driveway, sold to an elderly gentleman who had big plans for the boat that involved a grandson, my friend got nostalgic. So he posted on a social media site asking his friends to share their memories of the old boat.

Half of those comments were about the boat breaking down – burned up motors and broken down props. The other half were comments about experiencing life’s firsts aboard that vessel; first duck hunt, first fish with a bow, first time walking all the way around the lake to get to the boat dock after the boat broke down. But a few of those comments really resonated:

Jake summed it up succinctly when he said, “That boat was just a general facilitator of teaching me to appreciate and cherish times with you, friends, and the outdoors.”

Bow fishing success!

Others shared more specific memories. Kate commented, “I remember when Madison and I went bow-fishing with you as part of the senior class camp out. Lots of fun and laughs! As a bonus we even got a fish!” There’s a picture to prove it. Nice shot, Kate.

It was on Andy’s boat that Jonathan experienced “the only morning I’ve ever been witness to freezing fog, and it took longer to drive out to the lake than we actually hunted for!”

Trey wrote, “My first ever, without a gun, duck hunting trip was on that boat when I was 16. I held Jake(Andy’s yellow lab) on the bank the whole trip because I didn’t have a hunting license.” Some time later, Trey got off the bank and in on the action, recalling the chase for an “illustrious monster gar that was anywhere between 5 and 8 feet long.”

Michael was reminded of the boat’s early days on the Pecos River in southcentral New Mexico and Jesse remembered motoring it out to the big cliffs near Horseshoe Bend.

Commenting that the old boat had seen more limits of mallard than any boat on Beaver Lake, Russel might’ve said it best when he typed, “That boat would sink with all the memories I had in it.”

So how does seventeen feet of nearly forty year old aluminum become the subject of dozens of comments and the bearer of such memories? Well, that’s just what happens when adventure is launched in the predawn darkness. Memories are left quite naturally in its wake.

The old girl had a good run, indeed, and I’m guessing that when it’s all said and done, Andy will remember the day he bought that boat with much more fondness than the day he sold it.

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