Although my family no longer owned the boatyard, my father retained an interest in it. I didn’t understand how we lost the yard and the money; yet, my father crossed the street every day to the yard and acted as though nothing had changed. Ambrose, being knowledgeable and to the manor born proved to be an asset to the yard and was offered a position, which included free yard rental for Alice and unlimited use of shop tools and resources, for as long as he cared to stay.
At the end of August, the wealthy made a mass exodus back to their real lives on Wall Street. I couldn’t wait for September to arrive. I knew when the last of the moneybags had departed by Ambrose’s excited command, “Lucy, Richard, come at once! The sea trails are about to begin.” The sea trials crew consisted of Ambrose, Kindhearted Richard, and me. Kindhearted Richard was the yard engineer. He spent his time working on boat engines, repairing what he described as what was “buggered”. Richard was one of my most favorite people. He indulged me, from the moment my mother left for greener pastures in parts unknown. When it was revealed, in dismal algebra grades, that I did not have a knack for the exact sciences Richard became my tutor. He took me to the shop and demonstrated the practical uses algebra had for a “girl who loves boats”. Richard was a happy, funny person, never too busy to share a laugh and sprinkle stardust on an otherwise dismal day.
We looked forward to “sea trails”. Sometimes they were legitimate undertakings, when engine repairs were tested, but more commonly they were sailing excursions on world class Cheoy Lees, Morgans, Aldens, and Hinckleys; one last sail before winter haul out. Ambrose would be in the cockpit. Richard manned the lines while I scrambled aboard to his, “All aboard that’s coming aboard. If you can’t get aboard, grab a shingle.” After sea trials concluded, and the last boat was hauled, there was a big party for the yard workers in the sales offices. Furnishings were rearranged and a dance floor was set up in the parking lot, friends and families brought food, a pig was roasted, kegs were tapped and we had ourselves a grand time. I drank beer out of the tap just like the rest of the workers and no one said I shouldn’t. I confided to Richard that I’d been asked to the homecoming dance but I had no idea how to manage the footwork. Saying, “We’ll soon rectify that!” he grabbed me by the arm and taught me how to find and keep the beat with a quick little knee maneuver that brings him to mind every time I’m on the dance floor. Next to Ambrose, Kindhearted Richard was instrumental in forming my perception that life was good.