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  • Tim Tower

Billy's Journal

January in Ogunquit in 2018 was cold, one of the coldest Januarys I have seen. The first week of February was much the same. Mild weather came upon us for the next two weeks in February. We started to active storm systems during the last week in February. March was a stormy month with three noreasters of good strength and one that grazed us, moving offshore far enough to not bother. Still, the tide on the three were high enough to be close to the dining room floor, with one with such a high (moon) tide that it flooded the dining room floor.

April has been a cold month, one of the coldest Aprils I have ever seen. Most mornings were below freezing before dawn, one or two mornings in the lower to mid twenties. One morning in the teens. I don't know as we have ever had so much ice on the dock leading to the float by Barnacle Billy's("Original"). Generally, when April comes, we expect to see no ice.

As a result, business hasn't been as good as expected. This mainly because no one wants to sit on the deck in cold lousy weather. And many didn't come to the opening because they were afraid to drive back in the snow - which is what we had on April 6, 2018! In fact, there were pictures of patrons on the deck with snow coming down all around them. It isn't a first. We have had snow on opening day before. But it is unusual.

Former First Lady, Barbara Bush, passed away on April 17. That certainly sent a shock wave through the southern coastal community of Maine. She was much loved in this area as a person, for her charity work, her speaking, for her work in the service of the public and because she was Barbara. For years I called her Mrs. Bush. Three or four years ago, twice, she told me; "Call me Barbara, please." Yes, I had to be told twice. It was an honor. And it has been an honor serving the Bush family for so many years. Her relationship with her husband, the forty-first President of the United States, was extraordinary, a representative of how a perfect relationship should be. Barbarawas good at making sure the Secret Service defended their privacy while eating at the flag pole table on the deck at Barnacle Billy's. Usually, they had many guests when they dined with us. And it was important to her that everyone enjoyed themselves while there. After dessert, she allowed photos to be taken and people to approach them, which the people, of course did. It was always a wonderful event. And I felt to lucky to be a part of it.

Barbara and the President (which I always called him) started talking about age the last time former President Bush jumped out of a plane. Barbara would tell me that for four days they were the same age; "After that, I'm married to an older man." both their birthdays are in early June, within four days of being a year apart in age. They were fun together. And I'm wondering, as I'm sure everyone else is, how our former President is going to get along without Barbara. They had been a couple for seventy-two years.

So another page turns in the book of life. And another season is upon us. I'm hoping I get many chances to see former President Bush. But I am glad for all the times I was with him swapping fishing stories and talking about life. We shall see. But losing Barbara has certainly left a void. And, aside from feeling sorry for myself, I wonder what the outcome will be.

I apologize if I am coming across too maudlin. I'm actually very happy about getting the opportunity to know them as much as I did. They have been very nice to our family over the years, the whole Bushfamily. And, of course, it's time to get on with another season here in Perkins Cove. Happy new year, everyone!


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