When we walked into The Landing restaurant last night, it felt like half the town of Marblehead was there to welcome us. There was the predictable bagpipe player (though why bagpipes serenade us at every port, we can’t figure out). There was the unofficial mayor of Marblehead, a woman in her 70s that had us each sign her America’s Cup book (?). Several of The Landing’s owners were there, including Bob, who ordered us all a round of beers on the house and then picked up the tab for our dinners! It was by far the warmest welcome we’ve had anywhere.
It was Bly’s last night, and an old friend of his came to pick him up. (Coincidentally, this old friend had worked briefly on The Neverland, my first boat.) Toward the end of the evening, once Bly had gone back to the boat and finished packing, Harrison bought a round of Southern Comfort to toast him off. Then we each said our good-byes. “Calvin beats Hope,” I said, referencing our alma maters and their age-old rivalry. Bly called me out. “Is that the best you’ve got?” Then he said some stuff about how he’d eaten the best two months’ of food of his life and been introduced to all kinds of new dishes.
So, a day late, here’s what I got. Bly made me laugh, a lot. And he laughed at my jokes, too. He was always cracking a shy smile; always upbeat; patient or just quiet in regards to the faults of others; driven; and reliable. I think he said thank you after every meal – and would say it later if he forgot. On Easter, he texted me later to say thanks. That’s just the kind of stand-up guy he is.
Down One Good Man
Even though our last passenger showed up at 7:30 bearing two boxes filled with the World’s Best Sticky Buns, the mood at the breakfast table was unusually somber. Harrison was waiting for me to ask what was missing at the table, just so he could use Bly’s line from the day after Kip’s departure. I didn’t want to set him up. I didn’t want to play. I know I’ve been alluding to his leaving for a few weeks, but I don’t think any of us were really prepared. I’ve only known Bly a short two months; the rest of the crew knew him slightly longer. But he got to us.
The deckhands told Bly stories all morning, while they polished brass and cleaned belowdecks. While stowing fenders and putting the gangway in place, they missed his muscle. At dinner someone quoted him when Cap asked what it was like to know her. “Uh. Slightly less fun than it is to be you,” Bly had said, with that characteristic upward lilt at the end of his sentence, so it sounded almost like a question.
Warming up to Ol’ Dies’
We sailed today, and the stove went out. It was about time I cleaned it. I was just putting off the inevitable. So while the rest of the crew entertained an evening tour of realtors, I armed myself with an old screwdriver, a spoon and a metal brush, rolled up my sleeves, put on my plastic gloves, and went to town on the stove. And wouldn’t ya know, she started on the first try. It might have had to do with the fact that I turned on my “Fire” mix, and all the foc’s’le dwellers joined in with Johnny Cash: “I fell into a burning ring of fire. And it burned, burned, burned, as the flames rose higher. And it burned, burned, burned, the ring of fire, the ring of fire.”
Eggs, bacon, red potatoes
World’s best sticky buns – the dough was light and feathery and the sugar felt almost like it had been spun, or crystalized.
Linguine with marinara sauce
Homemade french bread
Carrot sticks and celery
Roast beef with turnips, carrots, onions and potatoes
Mushrooms with all of the above for the vegetarian
Parker house rolls*
*There are a few bread recipes that I rely on. This is one of them. I use it for making sub and hamburger buns, dinner rolls, and Parker house rolls (where they all sit bunched together in a square baking pan. It makes a light and soft dough that is really tasty. One addition I love to add is cracked pepper, to the dough, and also later to the top, as well as salt. When making Parker House rolls, I put them in the square pan and drizzle butter all over. Then cover with plastic wrap until doubled, then bake. I have tried using butter, vegetable oil and olive oil. Vegetable oil seems to make the best roll for hamburger buns, butter for dinner rolls. I use dry buttermilk and reconstitute it. Here’s the link to Beth Hensberger’s Buttermilk Dinner Rolls.