|Copyright 2009 Jack McConnell
In retirement, after 40 years as merchant mariner and lobsterman, Hughie shepherds neighborhood boys like Eric past the many challenging doors of childhood. As good as any grandfather, Hughie teaches the boys to whittle a whale from fallen birch; and construct a whistle out of an alder branch. He shows them how to make a noise-maker out of a piece of grass; and track a partridge family through the woods.
Eric plans to become a comedian, a pilot, or a vegetarian. Hughie listens, not always following the train of thought, but admiring the boy’s enthusiasm and confidence. He wonders if his own horizons were ever as wide, as panoramic in their imaginings.