It was the summer of 1995. I was back working a boatyard. My last stint doing bottom paint, wooding old varnish, was almost exactly twenty years prior. I was a few hundred miles south of Spinney’s yard, but little had changed. Bottom paint was better for the marine environment but still a mess to apply. The chief varnisher was a different woman, but just as hard to satisfy on the prep.
I rejoiced in the sameness.
The Clinton-Gore reinvention of government deep-sixed my government job as an anthropologist. I was not sorry. Working in the boatyard was therapeutic. Within days there was a lessening of the stress symptoms that had troubled me for most of five years. I stopped grinding my teeth, the twitch in my left eyelid went away. By the end of the second week, the sores in my mouth disappeared.
I began to look upon the detour into my history as healing summer fun.
Then I got a call from an old associate at work wanting me to return as a consultant. I looked around the boatyard, then told her that there was too much work for me to leave just then, call me in the fall.

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