One Easter Sunday in the early 1960s, our large extended family gathered at my Aunt Alice Goldie’s house for dinner.
As we sat around Aunt Alice’s big family room eating ham, scalloped potatoes and salad, my brother Terry and I began a conversation with our uncle John Goldie.
Unlike, most of our aunts and uncles, John was Scottish, not Italian. In fact, he grew up in Glasgow, Scotland and served as an officer in the British Royal Navy during World War II. As we talked, Uncle John shared some of his naval wartime stories with us. We listened intently.
Then he said something which really got our attention: he had just bought a 17-foot boat, and he wanted to take us fishing in it. Wow, that sounded great. Soon, we had obtained permission from our parents and a date was set.
Two weeks later, on a Saturday morning, Uncle John pulled up in front our house, towing his new boat. To say we were excited would be an understatement. We grabbed our jackets and fishing gear, bid our parents farewell and headed out to Uncle John’s waiting Chrysler sedan.
Off we headed in the direction of the Sacramento River, and thirty minutes later we pulled into Miller Park at the west end of Broadway. John circled around the parking area and headed down to the boat ramp.
Launching the boat proved to be quite an experience. First, our uncle circled the car around and began to back down the ramp. About half way down the ramp, the boat trailer began to jackknife. So, he stopped the car and pulled forward up the ramp to straighten the trailer up. Then he began backing the car up again and again the boat trailer jackknifed.
This time, Uncle John had Terry get out of the car to give him directions as he backed the boat up. That proved to be less than a good idea. Terry had a long-standing reputation as a curmudgeon. Laughing like a hyena, he provided little assistance in launching the boat.
Eventually, however, Uncle John got the trailer far enough down the ramp to launch the boat and off we went in the direction of Garcia Bend, where we would fish for striped bass. Uncle John proved to be an able boat man, and when we arrived at our destination, he dropped anchor, put a shrimp on each of our hooks and we began a long day of fishing.
Of course, we caught no fish, but had a great time. At noon, we ate a big lunch Uncle John had prepared for us, drank soda pop and listened to Uncle John’s naval stories and the story of how he landed in the U.S. after the war.
The day skittered away and eventually, we had to pull anchor and head home. When we got back to Miller Park, we had a much easier time loading the boat onto the trailer than we had experienced while unloading it. By 5 p.m., and fully exhausted, we returned home, full of stories about out great fishing trip.
Sleep came easily that night.
It has been over fifty years since the day Terry and I went boating with Uncle John Goldie. We never did it a second time. Sadly, Uncle John passed away over ten years ago. But, the story of our fishing trip with him remains as yet another wonderful Janey Way memory.
Marty’s book, Janey Way Memories, is now in print. Come to his book signing on Thursday, April, 5, from 7 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Dante Club, located at 2330 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Sacramento.