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  • Tim Tower

Billy's Journal

As you might have noticed, I have been working on building a new web site with the help of Dan Roche. Dan and his brother, Matt, used to have Chamberworks, the company that helped us design our first web site in 1995. This new one has been slow in coming. I initiated proceedings in January of this year. It wasn’t top priority. And there are other winter projects more vital than renewing a site we already have. The reason I mention it here is, like anything new, it will take some “getting used to”. We are not finished yet. For instance, some menu items aren’t complete. The digital images are just rudimentary at the present time. The index page doesn’t completely have the look that I want it to have yet. And the links to other sites need to be listed in a more complete, easy to find, format. We are getting there. I appreciate your patience on this.

The Barnacle Billy’s season, business wise, has been very good so far, one of our better years to date. But the season isn’t over yet. There is a lot that can happen between now and closing day. In fact, we were many percentage points ahead of the previous season in early September 2001. The 11th of September changed all that, leaving us behind two percent at season’s end.

Opening day on April 6th showed us ocean water temperatures colder than the previous season’s surface water temperatures for the fourth year in a row. This four year cooling trend started after a surface water warming period. The cold water spring was responsible for a decrease in lobster landings and, thus, higher prices this spring. This year our below normal surface water temperatures took a tick upward in July. Both July and August showed us ambient temperatures higher than we normally see them. July and August were windier than we normally see them as well, predominantly from the south, the most southerly wind I have seen for years. The combination gave us higher than normal air temperatures and high humidity. Lobstering this summer has been excellent. Talk on the weather channels gave this season’s humidity index higher marks than at any other time, particularly in August. I’m not sure how much stock I put in blanket statements that involve the weather services, particularly our National Weather Service.

Due to former First Lady Barbara Bush’s passing, we haven’t seen much of the rest of the Bush family. Doro has been here a couple of times. Young Barbara and Jenna Bush have also been here as has Marvin and Neil. But the man I miss the most, former President George H. W. Bush, has not been here at all this summer. Health issues have kept him away. In fact, Doro’s optimism on a spring visit about a future lunch date with the former President took a down turn on Doro’s last visit, this late summer. She told my sister, Meg, that he will not be visiting Barnacle Billy’s this season. More than not seeing him, it’s sad to think that his health is just not good enough to make the trip, or maybe even enjoy the meals as he used to. We have very fond memories of his trips over here by boat, the guests he introduced us to, the sheer joy of hosting such a wonderful family and the thought of my father creating something that was so enjoyed by such an important American family.

I’m happy to say that my mother is still going strong. Without my father, she has been living in the house alone. Her choice. My visits have been infrequent do to the larger number of challenges I have faced this season. I call when I can, however. Meg and her fiancé, Mike, have been great on the visiting part, seeing our mother more times on a regular basis than any of us. Meg has been wonderful here at Barnacle Billy’s this season as well. I was just thinking the other day how important Meg’s role has been here this season. I would be lost without her. Cathy has been manning (womaning?) the office here and maintaining the restaurants Facebook account. Networking, as she calls it. My brother, Court, has been off doing his own thing. It was a year ago April that he left Barnacle Billy’s. As of right now he has no plans on coming back. We will just have to see. “Time will tell”, as my mother is fond of saying.

One last thing before I go. We now have two management teams that have done a great job this season. One, Chuck MacDonald, has done a great job for us for forty-five years. He has just gotten better. He is our top manager at Barnacle Billy’s, Etc. and the person I first turn to in order to solve problems. Chad Schools is the manager under Chuck. Chad has been wonderful, better than I could have ever hoped when I first put him in a managerial position. The two of them give each other days off and work together here like a well oiled machine.

Next door, at Barnacle Billy’s (original), Matt Pedersen, our top manager there (and our top IT guy at Barnacle Billy’s, Inc), was joined by Stu Dunn this year, previously our bar manager. Like Chuck and Chad, Stu and Matt have enjoyed a seamless transition. It’s like they have been working together forever. Matt has been my go to guy for years. I have no doubt I will be saying that about Stu in the future.

I like to say that I manage the managers. But I’m not so sure that they don’t manage me! All four give me suggestions born from a lot of common sense. And, simply, they are just easy to work with. They don’t always agree with what I do or say. But the beauty of it is that they don’t hold anything back, leaving it all on the table. They may not agree but still allow me to have my way without personal issues. I like someone who is forthright and honest. They are certainly that. My anchors to windward.

Of course, there are many other good people here, some of whom are just as important in lesser roles. I hope someday to be able to mention them here. Until next time.


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