Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Friday, February 3, 2017

riled up !

 It was getting on into early fall and Dad was getting his gear together to go scalloping. There were the dredges of course, had to check the bags on them, He also had to make sure the line was good, he was using that new nylon stuff. It was plenty strong but did have a habit of fraying a bit. Make sure the cull board was attached just right and the burlap sacks were all good. And then there all the other stuff you need to make sure you have on board to be in compliance. After he got it all together he decided to go run the motor for a bit, give that old work boat a bit of a shakedown. It wouldn't be long before the scalloping would begin in earnest. It can get mighty cold out on that bay and it is best to be sure everything is good.
 Dad left out of three mile harbor and everything was working great. He thought he might as well go take a little ride around the area were he would go scalloping. He was thinking he might even pull a dredge or two a few passes, sorta test things out. The season had just opened but this was his first chance at it this year. He was working for Sid Cullum full time doing a little machine work, welding and fabrication work. Those scallops made a great supplement to his income but you can't do that year round. When he arrived at his spot, just off of hands creek, he noticed a flag and a buoy. It meant that there was a diver in the water. Now who would be diving this time of the year ? Staying well back, the law says at least 100 feet, Dad just idled and watched. After a short time up came a man with a rope in his hand. He climbed aboard his boat and began hauling that line in. What the heck could he be doing ? It didn't take long to figure out. That diver was just going along the bottom and picking up scallops ! Putting them in a burlap sack and hauling them up.
 Dad sat and watched the guy for a little bit. The more he watched the madder he became. Why that just isn't right, he thought. You see I don't know if you've ever been scalloping and pulled a dredge before, but it is hard work. It takes a lot of passes and a lot of " culling " to fill a bushel bag. This diver was just simply picking them up. Dad drifted on over when the diver returned to his boat and had a chat with him. Now I don't remember the mans name but he wasn't a local man. All I know is Dad told him he didn't think that was right, what he was doing. It was like taking his money out of the bank without having to work for it. It was stealing, in a way. That diver told Dad, it isn't illegal and I'm gonna keep right on doing it. I do believe words were exchanged and I'm quite certain they weren't pleasantries !
 Dad started up his boat and went a good hundred feet or more from that red and white flag bobbing in the water. It was then that he began to circle. Round and round he went as fast as the boat would go. Didn't take long before that diver came to surface. I expect the visibility had gotten a bit poor by that time. He saw what Dad was doing and climbed back in his boat. A short time later here comes the marine police. They signal to Dad and he stops while they pull alongside. They had a little talk with Dad. That diver was going crazy over there yelling and screaming demanding something be done. A citation was issued and Dad came on home.
 The day came to go to court. Dad didn't have a lawyer, figured he didn't need one. That diver fella now, he had " lawyered up " as the saying goes. He presented the case against my father. Then it was Dads turn. That lawyer asks Dad, what were you doing ? The answer was short and sweet, riding in circles. Why were you riding in circles ? Because I can, and I don't see where it is any of your business, was the response. That lawyer continues to press Dad on that and Dad just says, is it against the law to ride in circles ? It is against the law if you are within one hundred feet of that dive flag. The marine police report was then read. It clearly stated that Dad was well outside that range, a good one hundred fifty to two hundred feet from the marker. The lawyer began to say some more but was interrupted by the judge. The judge states, no law was broken here. The defendant has every right to drive his boat in circles if he wants too. The case is closed.
 And that was the big scallop trial of 1968. At least I believe that is the year that all happened. It is my understanding that sometime after that regulations were passed about diving for scallops. If it was Dad didn't have anything to do with that. He liked to tell that story. He wasn't any sort of activist just stubborn more than anything else. He felt that diving for scallops just wasn't fair to a working man. Made him mad, and you really didn't want to rile him up. That fella did, so Dad riled up the bottom of the bay a bit !