Letters - Issue 103
Truman Finds a Home We recently received word that our 2008 World Champion Boatyard Dog®, Truman (a.k.a. Mystery Mutt), has been adopted. The owners of Taylor & Snediker, boatbuilders in Connecticut, read about Truman’s performance at the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in last issue’s Boatyard Dog column. Intrigued, they passed the word to their employee, Shawn McGinnis, whom they knew was looking for a dog. Sean contacted the good folks at the Knox County Humane Society, “took a six-hour drive up to Maine,” and fetched Truman home. Our champ now shares the yard with six other Boatyard Dogs, and enjoys letting ’er rip at the dog park in Groton. McGinnis reports that, “everyone at the yard loves him.” We hope he will make a return appearance at next year’s show.
Jake, R.I.P. We are sad to report that we had to have Jake, the 2005 World Champion Boatyard Dog®, put to sleep. He was just over 12 years old and still full of love, with an appetite as big as the world. Prior to the final visit to the veterinarian, Stew stopped at Red’s Eats and presented Jake with a large dish of soft serve. He was diagnosed with canine bone cancer, was terminal, and in pain. Jake was our friend and companion, our mascot, and just the best dog. He was the trainer’s “teacher’s pet” in obedience school, he was the favorite dog on the FedEx driver’s route, and he was the greatest walking buddy in the world. He loved his family, the vet, the kennel, power boats, kids, babies, belly rubs, going to work, the Great Island Boat Yard crew, cookies, and “the big munch,” not necessarily in that order. He took care of his family, welcomed visitors, enjoyed new adventures, and respected tradition. He repelled possible boarders at sea, kept an eye out for seals and whales, assisted on the foredeck, and “vacuumed” the galley and dining area. He made us smile, gave us comfort when we were sad or ill, and frequently made us laugh out loud. He gave lots of wet kisses, painless nose nibbles, and unconditional love to all. When Jake came into our life as a young adult dog, he just wanted a loving home. We did our best to provide that. He did his best always.
Yes, It’s Your French Horn As I read Peter Spectre’s article on the Village Inn Restaurant in the Winter 2009 issue, MBH&H #102, my heart started racing as he recounted his happenstance visit to “...an ancient inn...on the River Thames....” Could this be where we also discovered the most divine duck ever? Could this be OUR French Horn in Sonning? We too came upon the French Horn by serendipity on a raw, rainy afternoon. We were warmed with a pot of tea in front of their toasty fireplace accompanied by fabulous scents and sounds of ducks rotating on the spit. Needless to say, we stayed for dinner. We do know how amazing a French Horn duck is. Later, we were fortunate to have an assignment in the UK and frequented the Horn often with family and business folks. Our son even flew across The Pond to propose to his future wife in front of the Horn’s fireplace.
All But the Title I like everything about Peter Spectre’s new column, “From Whence We Came,” except the title. “Whence” already means “from what place.” “From whence” is redundant. The content of the piece, however, is outstanding. I especially appreciate the tribute to Hervey Gerrett Smith, and I look forward to reading about other legendary figures.
As in the matters of “no’theaster” and “nor’easter,” “knots” and “knots per hour,” whether to split an infinitive or not, and whether to end a sentence with a preposition, there has long been a controversy over “whence” and “from whence.” Yes, most dictionaries define the meaning of whence as “from that place,” and yes, Dr. Samuel Johnson in his famous 18th-century dictionary wrote that the addition of “from” amounted to “A vicious mode of speech.” Nevertheless, according to defenders of the construction, some very famous writers over the centuries have used “from whence,” including Defoe, Dickens, Shakespeare, Smollet, and even God (in the King James Bible). I would happily ignore all of them, but being a great admirer of Mark Twain and his use of American English, I defer to him. In Innocents Abroad, Twain wrote, “He traveled all around, till at last he came to the place from whence he started.”