A Wednesday with Rusty Wallis

BARRINGTON, RI – It all began with piss oak, actually.

Back in February of 2013 I received an e-mail out of the blue from a fellow named Russ Wallis, writing in response to a Bearin’s column I’d written about long-ago smells of winter.  It read as follows:

“Hi Brian,

“I am a fourth (and final) generation retired lobsterman from R.I.  I enjoy all your writing, your book included.


Russ at the helm.

“I had to be dragged in for supper that day.  I would be banging frames together and smelling that beautiful oak until they hollered at me to come in the house.

“Anyway, thanks for the memories.  I wish I could write like you.  I’ve got a million stories that will never be told.


“Rusty Wallis (not the race car driver, the retired lobsterman).”

The man put words on paper just fine as far as I was concerned.

I wrote Russ back to thank him.  “Maybe we’ll cross paths sometime when I venture down into that neck of the woods,” I said.

Well, it took nearly four years, but our
paths finally did cross.

And was worth the wait.

Grab a cup of coffee and join us at the kitchen table in Russ’ Rhode Island home for a few vignettes from a 68-year life that is still being well-lived.


An early taste

BR: Russ, how about an early saltwater memory?

I remember going out with the Old Man when I was 4 … and I knew then and there that’s what I wanted to do.  After that, I’d get him to take me with him whenever I could.  I’m sure I was a pain in the ass – but, boy,…



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