Footnote: as background for this story, I read this year that the US government was removing this lighthouse from its inventory. People can bid for it. a nonprofit likely will get preference. Now, let your imagination take over and enjoy this personal story…
Jamestown Island, Rhode Island was a favorite destination for our weekend fishing getaways. Dad and I and a friend of mine would pack our Chevy station wagon with sleeping bags, cooking gear and tackle for an outdoor excursion that every fishing enthusiast would love, especially kids. I was a lucky son. And Friday was our getaway day.
The boxlike wagon held everything in an orderly fashion. This precursor of the minivan/SUV, our Chevy allowed the back seat to be folded down, creating a spacious interior that accommodated a wood frame built to hold a platform as long and wide as the open space. This was our weekend ‘home’.
My dad and friend, both big bodies, slept on top while I squeezed my lanky adolescent body underneath, pressed against our supplies and equipment that filled the space next to me. Any overflow gear was stored in our trailered boat. Sleeping on one’s back was the best option due to space limitations. The flatter we could be, the better.
While driving to Jamestown, I would lay belly down atop the platform bed, head resting on my crossed arms, looking straight out the windshield, not a safe nor secure position, for certain. A sudden stop and forward slide was problematic and any hotdogs I had carefully balanced spilled onto the front seat, condiments and all.
Jamestown, itself, was fascinating and mysterious with its variety of fish and other sea creatures: striped bass, blues, mackerels, flounder, tautog, conga eels, and blue crabs. We caught them all, or tried.
Stately homes lined the shoreline. A ghostly one, long since deserted, stood decaying among the offshore rocks. And two gigantic car ferries crisscrossed Narragansett Bay between Jamestown and Newport, adding to the seductive nature of the island.
The end of the island sloped downward into the Atlantic. ‘Beavertail’ described its outline perfectly. And standing post above the rocks, looking out at the wide open sea, was the historic Beavertail Light House with its far reaching beacon and mighty horn, alerting incoming ships of the dangerous promontory.
My dad was always teaching us with tidbits of information or observations to enrich our young minds, as dads often do. Sometimes, lessons came with real life examples thati left indelible marks in our memories, like paying attention to details. Missing or foolishly ignoring the warning sign on the lighthouse wall is one lesson I’ll never forget.
“DO NOT PARK IN FRONT OF LIGHTHOUSE HORN”
To this day, I still believe that he parked there for a purpose…
Lighthouse horns are LOUD!
Glad I wasn’t holding a frothy root beer🥤.
Steve (December 2021)
* They are landmarks: The Beavertail Lighthouse and the Watch Hill Lighthouse, both are in Rhode Island. Now, the U.S. Coast Guard is giving up ownership
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