Friday, January 30, 2009

Four Gypsies

Call me Ishmael.
No, wait. That’s been done.
Some obscure book called “Moby Dick,” as I understand it.
So call me John.
I am writing this from the MV “Gypsies in the Palace,” a 49-foot trawler of DeFever manfacture. The ship is about to embark on a two-year voyage – three, if all goes well – from Kennebunkport, Maine down the eastern seaboard, across to the Bahamas and on down through the Caribbean with four souls aboard.
Allow me to introduce the cast of characters.
The skipper of this vessel is Captain Doug Johnson, 55, a Virginia native and a former Navy radar operator who gained his expertise on board the USS Jouett while sitting 50 miles outside Hanoi Harbor. More recently, he was the CFO of a software firm in Massachusetts, which, come to think of it, may have been more dangerous than Vietnam.
Because he is the skipper, those of you who are familiar with cruising know that, in matters of boating, he answers only to his wife, Tammy Johnson.
Tammy, 42, is a Massachusetts native, but she was able to overcome that handicap by spending a lifetime worth of summers in Kennebunkport. She was a partner in a big-time Boston law firm until she and Doug both decided to chuck their prestigious careers – it became official on April Fool’s Day, no less – in favor of life on the water.
They foolishly invited another couple to join them.
Hence, third soul aboard would be Colleen (Kelley) Clayton, age 44, a woman of obvious Irish-American extraction who is prone to violent seasickness, but otherwise, she is uniquely suited for duty on board Gypsies, since she is a former restaurant manager with highly advanced culinary skills that far transcend normal galley fare.
That leaves me.
In order of importance, I am Colleen’s husband – John Clayton, age 54; pleased to make your acquaintance – and I am also a journalist of some renown in my native New Hampshire, which is of no earthly worth on Gypsies.
Unless you count this blog.
Please count it.
Otherwise, my value – unless you factor in the bartending duties that come with my role as Chief Morale Officer – is nil. Therefore, check in with us from time to time and I will try to keep you apprised of our successes.
Our failures may be more entertaining.
I promise to share those as well.
If that doesn’t keep you coming back, nothing will.

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