Never Park In Front of A Lighthouse: A Father’s Lesson

Beavertail Lighthouse*, Jamestown, Rhode Island (USA)

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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srbottch

Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

22 thoughts on “Never Park In Front of A Lighthouse: A Father’s Lesson”

    1. Thanks, John. I was the by youngest of seven , the last of five boys. We all got to experience fishing at the Cape (Cod) or Rhode Island. My dad was an outdoor enthusiast from fishing, hunting, golfing and hard working

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, those fishing weekends were an education unlike no others. I wish I had marveled at my dad’s ‘teachings’ then as much as info now. There were lots of men of his ilk then. No so sure if it’s the same nowadays. But, then, I’m biased. Thanks for commenting, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maggie, thank you for your generous words. Our single daughter is in Portland (OR), our son & family are near DC and my wife and I are in western NY (Rochester). We will be alone, as we were for Christmas, and I hope to be asleep by 10:00😂. I wish you and yours the happiest and healthiest New Years. Oh, we have Daisy, too. You guessed it, Baby Doll Daisy Mae, the Queen of All Dogs😉

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  1. Pleasant memories, Steve. I’m betting part of the joy was simply doing something with your dad. Perhaps your dad providing you with tidbits of information was how you came to do the same as a crossing guard with children.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pete, just woke in middle of night and caught your comment which started me thinking. I think you have a good point. He was, for lack of a better term, a self educated man, a son of immigrants who went to work at an early age. But he was always quizzing my sister and me about spelling, grammar, nature, and you name it. Your comment reinforced the point I was making in the story. You’ve opened the floodgates to more wonderful memories. Thanks for contributing , Pete.

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