Bert Thoms, whom I shall miss over and over as the seasons roll round, was my friend. Our friendship flourished largely in one element.
We saw each other on land only occasionally—just to exchange a word of agreement on some plan or situation—and during the annual spring scraping, when the boat’s bottom was cleaned and painted in his yard. This nautical working bee had a ritual tinge, and it was topped off by a hearty and hilarious lunch, hospitably provided by his wife, Josephine.
But twice or thrice a year we were thrown into the closest proximity, for a day or two or even for a fortnight. That was when he invited me to sail as part of his crew for a Sunday sail on the Chesapeake or for the school-end northward cruise to Buzzards Bay, where he always brought the boat for the summer. I think he was pleased with my pleasure in sailing and regarded me as permanently signed on. For the rest, he was an inveterate recruiter of crews, usually St. John’s students. The Imaginative Conservative