Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shiver Me Timbers

In this town, you never know what you're going to stumble across on your way to the grocery store. One time I came across a bunch of elephants eating hay in a parking lot. (The circus was in town.) Another time, I had to wait while hundreds of mounted police streamed by in an enormous procession. This week, I was surprised to see a big wooden sailing ship moored in front of the Holiday Inn.

I parked my grocery cart and dug out my sketchbook, but I was completely intimidated by the size and complexity of the ship. As we all know, I have mast-and-bowsprit issues, even when drawing small boats. So I decided to focus on the most manageable element I could think of--I drew the anchor.

Meanwhile, a couple of crew members started scraping the hull, dangling right in front of me, twisting themselves into some unbelievable postures. I grabbed the chance to study that anatomy, and not just for the reason you're thinking. (That was just an added bonus.)

The ship was called The Niagara and she took part in the War of 1812. According to the sign boards, she won a battle against the British, which"greatly raised American morale."

How can you not love a country like that? They invade you, then return 200 years later to say how good they felt about having defeated you. It almost makes you feel bad about having won the war, eh? Or--as we like to call it up here--"having driven the American dogs back home with their tails between their legs." Sorry, did I say that out loud?

Self-esteem would no longer appear to be a problem.

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