This is a true story…
It is a cool New England night when Michael Smith drags Alice Williams across the damp, fine sand into the shadows. He checks the place out to be sure they’re alone, than ties her up.
A flash from above catches Mike’s eye. He glances up just in time to capture a shooting star. He tucks the wish away for later.
Mike is originally from Maine but his wandering ways lure him to Massachusetts. He camps out there for close to a year before he gets help from his sister to relocate to the Boston Seaport District.
The 49yr old is well aware that the Coast Guard is keepin’ an eye out, so there is no room for mistakes. They don’t bother the loner and he makes certain not to break any laws.
The police unit of Boston Harbor offered to help the tan, slim roamer but he refused. He wants to make it perfectly clear that he is not homeless, just a “fellow citizen” who wants to see what it’s like to live outdoors. Well, he did accept the life vest with reflectors … and a whistle.
After all there is some risk to a life spent adrift on the waters of Boston Harbor.
Alice Williams is Mike’s constant companion, even if he does have to tie her up sometime. Tonight they are “hunkered down” behind the InterContinental Hotel, same place that John Henry, owner of the Red Sox, docks his 164-foot yacht.
So what if Alice is only a 14-foot aluminum canoe and he patches her wounds with duct tape? She is able enough to hold everything Mike owns. They make a fine pair, content with their life on the water. Says it has taught him balance, patience and fortitude.
He named her Alice Williams after the mother of the founder of Rhode Island. He admires that Roger Williams had strong principles concerning freedom. Mike didn’t name her Alice because men refer to their boats as she. He did it because he believes women deserve more recognition.
He also isn’t afraid to live on the water. “I’m about as safe as I could be,” he swears. “Anybody who would want to hurt me or take my things, they have to have a boat. And boat people stick together.”
One passion the outdoorsman carries is the betterment of public schools. Public policy filters through Mike’s thoughts as he skims across the waters of the harbor. Recently he sent a letter about the situation to the Boston politicians, which includes Mayor Thomas Menino.
Cold weather has seeped into the air so Mike dresses in layers to stay warm. He and Alice make their way to a floating dock far from shore. No worries here other than the occasional wake or zealous boaters.
Mike pulls the canvas hat over his face, drops his lids and recalls the shooting star…
“I wished self-esteem for all of us.”
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full
“Risk” is the subject this week – what will the other LBCers have to say? Anu, Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, OCD writer, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, Rohit Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, Will Knott.