Bathing in Scotty's SpotLight
Scotty's Maritime Memories
Maine Maritime Museum
July 24, 2016
With 60 +/- friends and family gathered from all aspects of Scotty's past, a slide show, a video, display tables with memorabilia, scrapbooks, photo albums and naval tales celebrated his life. Many of those in attendance stood up and recalled exploits and shared anecdotes. However. many did not take the microphone and the opportunity to share and regale their tales of Harold's sailing into their lives. And for whatever reason a portion of any congregation is reticent, it was clear their mere presence honored the man. Words can sometimes warm hearts. And stories can convey, confirm and celebrate. While appearances can be deceiving, it is showing up and being there to support and commemorate a special man is a powerfully loving gesture in itself. Scotty was so loved!
His essence, spirit and were so alive in people's outpouring of love and support I half-expected Scotty would walk through the door. And in many ways he appeared to all those gathered. And in his humility and humanity, he welcomed us back with his charming smile and beaming demeanor.
Scott's selfie; he was an artist as well as a sailor.
I wrote and read my speech at Harold Scott's memorial service at Maine's Maritime Museum on Sunday, July 24, 2016:
25 years ago I was aboard Scotty's sloop Southerly helping sail her Down East. That June evening I picked the short straw so the task of steering the
watch was all mine. As we sailed northward on a broad reach through Massachusetts Bay, Scotty and crew members Kate Lane and Brian Scott slept below.
I remember the night's easterly breeze carried us along at a comfortable clip in relatively smooth seas. I also recall the cloudy, starless, moonless sky made it difficult discerning where sky and sea met. The horizon felt hazy and elusive until a small white light bobbed into my vision a few degrees off our starboard bow. As the next hour passed, the distant vessel's red and green port and starboard running lights appeared confirming it was steering in our direction.
Every so often over the next couple of hours, I would alter Southerly's heading a few degrees to the west, but the distant mystery vessel also then appeared to change its course. Growing gradually nervous, I woke Scotty to get his perspective on our situation. He poked his head out the companionway, then glanced at the light.
"Just steer towards it", he said.
It was not long after he spoke that we both deciphered the light source as merely a fishing trawler weaving back and forth a few miles away.
Whenever Scotty offered a day's sail on Southerly on Muscongus Bay, I would offer to row Scotty's dinghy. As he sat in its stern seat, he would, without ever saying a word, clasp his hands together pointing me in the direction towards his boat. Helping me find my way.
At anchor on an overnight aboard Southerly, his crew would rarely turn in for the evening without playing cards. Scotty introduced me and others to Kings Corners, a simple game basically relying on one's powers of observation. I can still hear the laughter emerge whenever a player recognized his or her missed opportunity. And the joy of the game was always the nightcap we all needed at the end of a day's sail. Like an eternal gift I too have introduced the game to others who stayed aboard my boat, always giving Scotty credit for his gift to me. I'm sure I have shared his game in part to honor him and to imagine his chuckle from those long ago, but not forgotten times.
Scotty immediately and instinctively knew to sail towards LIGHT. He knew how to identify and understand danger - he knew one had to face fears head on rather than avoid them. In that moment he taught me that light is never dangerous unless I perceive it that way. And what really resonated with me was that in those early morning moments, Scotty displayed the inner calm and confidence at sea even while he was half asleep.
Scotty had a subtle way of helping me and I suspect many others. I always felt he had my back as I rowed against the current.
And at the end of a day, Scotty knew how to bring his crew together with a simple, yet fun card game. To me, he was always game to invite and embrace the joy of family and friends.
Of course, it may have been all natural for the two of us as we had so much in common: our love for a Falk woman and her family, our love of learning at the same prep school in Pottstown PA yet almost some 30 years apart and our deep and abiding affinity and affection for the sea and the sail.
Because I believe people appear in our lives for a reason, i know it is always incumbent upon us to figure out what that purpose is. Because he sailed at ease with the winds and the currents, Scotty was a southerly, downwind breeze. To me, he also became A Gift from Sea as well as The Wise Man on / of the Sea. It is indeed an honor to be here today to celebrate Scotty's family and his life as part of him lives within me. Like all those who brighten and lighten the world with their spirit, Scotty bestowed a gift more magnificent by his mere presence and personality.
While respecting all his nautical experience and wisdom, it was his fatherly presence that helped me in my life. Little did I know that in 1977 when I first met Scotty, his beam and beacon of light on a hazy horizon would resonate within
me to this very day almost 40 years later.
Olivia Hurd at George Senter's Cottage
My son Tyler Lane honoring Scotty at the Maine Maritime Museum
Sunset on Bailey's Island July 24, 2016