My great uncle Rodney is doing pretty well for his age. He had his 80th birthday last week, and we celebrated this with a small family outing on his new boat, which he expertly steered along the coastline while downing imported ginger ale. I hope I’m as full of life as he is when I get to that age.
The new ride was a gift from Rodney’s lifelong friend, Tony, who happens to be a bit of a nerd for plate aluminium boat fabrication. Once upon a time, Tony was into building boats from scratch; now, his eyesight not being what it used to be and welding no longer his strong suit, he pays other people for their services in this field. He did do a bunch of the fitting out himself though.
So it’s a pretty extravagant birthday present, for sure. But when you get to that age (and have as much cash to throw around as Tony and Rodney do), it’s not that big of a deal – especially when you consider how long they’ve been mates, boating and fishing together. The two of them could talk bait boards and bow rails for hours on end, then switch to analysing their relationships and dreams for hours more.
Tony didn’t get to come out on the boat for Rodney’s birthday party, though, because he’d hurt his ankle tripping over a random cat while on his way to buy snapper racks in Melbourne the day before. Knowing him, he was probably talking its ear off about custom stainless steel accessories. I think Rodney was probably a bit miffed that Tony had managed to hurt himself the day before his birthday, but didn’t show it too much.
Perhaps bonding over marine fabrication is one of the keys to long-lasting friendship and good health into your 80s. If it is, I’ll sign up right now. Just point me to the fishing rod holders – I don’t know what they look like, so I’ll need some help.