When I reentered the marine marketplace in 1992, after about 15 years of absence, I thought my business would be eagles, quarterboards, and transom banners. To some extent, I was correct. I’ve done many transoms, quarter boards, some eagles, and a smattering of other carving projects. But fully one-third of all my sales came from small carved table items. At any boat show, there are many overwhelmed wanderers. They are following a partner, parent, or spouse who is nautically obsessed. They hope to find something that might spark their interest. Responding to this, I began offering spoons, spatulas, cutting boards, small carved boxes, and a wide range of small carved items. It was surprising how Sales improved.
As a result of the newfound sales, I sometimes had a fair bit of cash in my pocket at the shows. But having a family with you at a three or four-day event offers opportunities to get separated from the money; fast.
My oldest son earned the nickname “Bottomless Pit.” Yeah, I know, you had one too.
At one particular show in Maine, an entire group of us went to dinner together. My friend, Ralph, generously offered to pay for the Carreras clan – myself, my wife, the two girls, and the two boys. Wanting to maintain the friendship, I protested. He insisted. He assumed I think that the kids couldn’t do too much damage at the Rockport House of Pizza. He had not calculated the sheer ability of said Bottomless Pit to pack it away. My friends have never had children. They had only heard stories of how adolescents can consume vast amounts and then fill up with more. The Bottomless Pit saw the disbelief in their eyes as he devoured pizza and decided to play to a rapt audience. He reached for an entire fresh pizza, rolled it up, and proceeded to swallow it much as a sword swallower consumed a sword. OK, you ask, what was my wife doing – Trying to get her renegade son under control. What was I doing – watching the disbelief on my friend’s faces as the Bottomless Pit consumed the pizza in one go. He belched softly and asked for more. About that time, the check arrived, and I saw my friend blanch. I took the check and paid for the family; about $200.00, most of which had been consumed by the Pit. I saw lots of my pocket cash disappear in one meal.
Years passed, but at boat shows, the Legend of the Bottomless Pit lived on. Not wanting to let go of a good story, we staged the photo above just a few years ago to email my friend. An assurance that, yes, the legend continued.