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Alabama Outdoors: A trip to the boat show

Wives, don’t let your husbands grow up to own boats

By John N. Felsher

The coming of spring in Alabama means boat shows. Many people go to see the new models of boats on display and try to get some great “show only” deals. Others just go to fantasize about what they would like to own, but can’t afford.

“Wouldn’t this look good pulled behind my truck?” Photo by John Felsher
“Wouldn’t this look good pulled behind my truck?” Photo by John Felsher

For some, it’s an opportunity to get out with the loved ones. A trip to the boat show with a wife might go something like this:

“You promised to take me out and treat me to an expensive dinner,” said my wife, Sweetums. “You promised to take me to a show. Instead, we are in this auditorium with all these boats.”

“Well, honey. We are out,” I explained. “This is a show. It’s a boat show. As for dinner, just walk over there and order anything you like. You want mustard or ketchup with that dog? Heck, I’ll even spring for nachos with extra cheese. There’s a seat between that whiny kid and the old wheezing guy smoking the cigar. At least it IS an expensive dinner!”

“Yeah, right, we could have ordered steak for that price.”

“Wives just don’t appreciate the fine culture of enjoying a boat show. They cannot appreciate the shine of new chrome, the glint of metalflake paint, the exhibits of new devices to attach to an old boat. Oh, the smells!”

“Honey, that’s the guy with the cigar you’re smelling and I think that kid’s whining because he did something in his diaper. Why do people need so many boats anyway? You can only ride one at a time.”

“People like different sports. Some people like fishing boats. Some people like ski boats. Some people just like to cruise around.”

“How about that one? I like that one,” she pointed. “If we are going to get a boat, let’s at least get one that comes equipped with a satellite TV dish so I can watch my shows as we cruise along.”

“Well, Sweetums, that would be nice, but that’s not a boat. That’s a diesel-powered mansion. I took a trip on one almost like that once, but the captain kept launching jet fighters off it. That one would cost more that my annual salary just to fill the fuel tank. Besides, if you want quality, you already have me.”

“Oh, pa-leeeese! I rest my case. Is that a rainbow over there? I see every color imaginable. Maybe it’s just a reaction from that ‘gourmet’ dinner.”

“Sweetums, that’s a rainbow of aquatic delight waiting to be explored. They have every type of fishing boat on the planet in just about every color. The dealer said he’s ready to move this one. They won’t make this model again until next year so it’s kind of like a collector’s item! Sure, it’s 199 monthly payments, but the dealer said they are easy payments with only 10 percent down. How much is in your purse?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “How much was in your wallet last night? That’s how much I have in my purse now, minus the money for dinner. Why do boats come in such gaudy, bright sparkly colors? I would think you would want to hide from the fish – or at least from the bill collectors!”

“When fish see something like this, they line up to get caught. They all want to ride in the livewell on such a pretty boat. Wouldn’t this look good pulled behind my new truck?”

“Is that why you never bring home any fish? You fish in a drab, ugly boat? Hey, what new truck?” she asked incredulously.

“Well, it’s almost a new truck,” I replied. “I have a new starter, new alternator, new radiator, new fan belts, new hoses, new tires, new transmission. See, it’s practically new except for the same old body falling apart.”

“Yours or the truck?”

“Funny! In this boat, I could get fresh air, sunshine and more exercise. It’s an investment in my health. I’m only thinking of you and how much I love you and want to be around longer to stay with you.”

“I cannot begin to describe how deeply that moved me, or maybe it was just the chili on the hot dog. Anyway, if you bought this boat, I would never see you. Wait, that’s an idea! I’m almost convinced. No, not quite, but it was a good thought while it lasted. It’s much more fun to have you around obeying my every whim. If you really want to exercise, why don’t you buy that rowboat over there?”

“I already own a rowboat, Sweetums. Don’t you remember? Every time I take our old boat out, the motor runs great until I reach the farthest point on the lake away from the landing. Then it conks out. I have to row it back to the landing.”

“Speaking of going back, looks like they’re shutting the doors, FINALLY! Next week we go where I want to go. You’re in luck. There’s an all-day sale of frilly lace kitchen decorations at a mall just two hours from home. If we start early, we can study every item.”

John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s written more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at