Cetacea Page 47

December 21, 2001

Winter Solstice

The declination of the Sun reaches its southern maximum today, a celestial event which marks the begining of winter. For those of us living in lattitude 40°-North or higher, it means an especially welcome change in the amount of daylight we can enjoy. The sun will begin creeping northward again, and our days will slowly lengthen, building eventually to those delighful June nights when it will still be dusk at 10:30 p.m.

At the moment, we are in darkness by five o'clock in the afternoon and we don't see the sun until well past eight o'clock in the morning. All those hours of twilight and dark give us time to reflect, which we do here in brief words and pictures.


An Exchange of Gifts

My wife Chris and I were completely unprepared for the gifts from website participants which recently arrived here, an effort led by Jay Murray (JFM). Jay spontaneously began the campaign some time ago, and with very generous contributions he amassed an impressive array of fine gifts. Last week we came home from work to a number of large boxes on the front porch, the start of a period of complete amazement on our part.

Opening up the first of the boxes revealed several really wonderful gifts. First was the very cool scale model of a 1961 Boston Whaler Nauset. This Danbury Mint reproduction is a nicely crafted miniature. The engine (a Mercury, by the way) tilts up and it also can be turned by rotation of the tiny steering wheel! The trailer has keel rollers, too--very authentic! It's a wonderful "adult" toy, and it now has a place of honor on our main bookshelf in the living room.

Also in the first box were two items of apparel. An appropriately sized (XL!) sweatshirt with Whaler logotype will make the perfect addition to my rendezvous wardrobe. To keep us warm in the cabin or on the couch we were very pleased to unwrap a beautiful Whaler blanket or afghan, embroidered with scenes of Montauks and Outrages engaged in fishing. (Again with Mercury engines on the transom!)

The second box really had us curious. From its weight we deduced the contents must be something substantial, as it took two of us to carry it in, but we had not a clue what was inside. Cutting the bands and opening this package revealed fine furniture awaiting assembly, a "Georgian Bay" bench built of teak! This is truly a gift that will last a lifetime. The fine wood of the bench will fit perfectly in our home which has a strong American-traditional decor.

We were even more amazed to find that in addition to all the fine gifts, there was more! We discovered an engraved brass plaque had been afixed to the bench to commemorate the ocassion, a very classy extra touch. And, above and beyond all the finery already described, we were presented with a very substantial monetary contribution for use in making improvements to the website.

Topping this all off, a few days later we received an attractive framed Certificate of Appreciation for the website and listing all the participants. This is also prominently displayed on our bookcase, as the backdrop for the miniature Whaler and trailer tableau.

For all of this I am most grateful. These gifts are truly appreciated and to our mind represent a wonderful combination of generousity and fine taste! To everyone who was involved, you have my and Chris's sincerest thanks. I shall try to repay your kindness with content on the website for your enjoyment in the coming months of winter.


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Copyright © 2001 by James W. Hebert. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited!

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This article first appeared December 23, 2001.
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Author: James W. Hebert