Issue: July 2013
BYPOINTS: For Want of a Key

Don’t you hate it when you do something that proves, beyond a doubt, that (a) you are a bona fide knucklehead and (b) you need constant adult supervision? Something like losing the ignition key to your boat when you’re far away from home? 

Not that it’s ever happened to me, of course. But it happened recently to, um, a friend of mine. Yeah, that’s it, a friend who recently went to Tilghman Island, to see what was going on there lately and maybe write a magazine story about it. Maybe something called “Postcards from Tilghman,” or what have you, maybe beginning on page 22 of this issue.

So anyway, this friend went to Tilghman, and for the most part everything went swimmingly. He had a lovely two-night stay and a couple of excellent meals at the Tilghman Island Inn. He got a tour of both the current and future sites of the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center; a tour of both the current and future sites of the Tilghman Watermen’s Museum; and a tour of the Black Walnut Point Inn, with its panoramic view at the southern tip of the island. He stayed at the marvelous Lazyjack Inn. He enjoyed meals at other restaurants and went on a couple of long bike rides. One day he took a nice nap. All and all, it was stellar.

Except for that whole losing-the-ignition-key thing. He has no earthly idea what became of the bloody thing, only that it vanished some time after he’d tied up Knapps Narrows Marina and Inn and some time before . . . well, before he realized it was no longer in the ignition. Or in any of his pockets, or in any of his bags, or anywhere on the boat, or at the marina office, or on the ground between the boat and the marina office. It was just gone, as were the maddening two hours of rifling through bags and jacket pockets, retracing steps and scanning the ground, rifling through the bags again, and again. This was followed by the predictable phases of lost-key grief—anger, guilt, self-pity, potato chips, self-recrimination, self-forgiveness and, finally, calling the office to have them FedEx him a spare key. He’d just have to spend one more night in Tilghman. There could be worse things, everyone joked. And that was true, but, damnit, it wasn’t part of his plan.

Just as he was about to make arrangements to stay another night, however, salvation appeared. It appeared in the form Lady Patty, a lovely 1935 ocean racer that runs tours out of the marina. As soon as he saw her ease into her spot at the bulkhead, he remembered what Mike Richards of the Lazyjack Inn had told him the night before. As Lady Patty’s former owner, Mike knew she had a Yanmar diesel, just like my boat. I mean his boat. And since such keys are often interchangeable, Lady Patty might be his ticket home, on schedule. Indeed she did have the same key, and a spare. Problem solved. So my friend has asked me to thank Jeff Mathias, owner and captain of the Lady Patty, who simply handed over his spare key, no questions asked, along with a mailing address so it could be returned. My friend thanks you, Captain. On behalf of knuckleheads everywhere, he thanks you very much.


Tim Sayles, Editor