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