I will never forget when my Dad decided it was time to go shopping for a family bass boat. I wasn’t in to fishing, often whining, “Awwww the POOR FISH!” But off we went to the boat show, soon picking out a 1976 – 1977 gold Ranger bass boat.
We went on a few fishing trips, leaving from Bob’s Fishing Hole, and even took the Ranger to Lake Gaston for a camping trip. It was there that somehow our family of four (PLUS Dalmatian) loaded in to the bass boat and actually managed to water ski from it. I’m sure many eyes followed as we brought the weighted down, small engine bass boat up to enough speed for skiing. They probably still talk of it today as the “miracle on Lake Gaston.”
While camping, a little boy next to us would often visit, telling us that his Daddy had a “Wainjaw” too. From then on, we deemed our bass boat the Wainjaw.
Shortly after camping, the Wainjaw became a permanent fixture in the garage. After all, life happens.
And then many years later, my father died.
At his funeral, one of my father’s Naval Academy classmates spoke of the never used boat during the eulogy. He lovingly referred to it as the Hangar Queen. (Psst! Mom! What does that mean?) The internet shows hangar queen as, “In the Air Forces, “Hangar Queen” is not a proud title. It refers to any grounded plane which is being systematically “cannibalized” (stripped of its parts) so that other planes may fly. ” Basically, it is an airplane that just sits in the hangar. And thus, the boat’s new name was born – The Hangar Queen.
It seemed like a given that my brother would get my Dad’s boat. He fished, he had a trailer pull, and it just made sense. If I had known then what I know now. Now, I can tie a Palomar knot like nobody’s business. I’ve taught all three of my children to fish. And my dream is to one day pull a bass boat with an old, nasty blue and white suburban. We have TONS of places near us that would be a perfect bass boat escape.
But the boat is in Denver. And needs to go. Sadly, my brother can’t keep it any more.
Now, we aren’t talking, “some old beaten up bass boat.” If I had to guess, this boat has been in the water about 30 times, MAX. And the remaining part of her life has been in a garage. Remember, she IS the Hangar Queen! This is a vintage, 1976 or 1977 Ranger Bass Boat. In practically mint condition, I might add. It needs new tires on the trailer and probably needs a full engine overhall, new batteries and such. But this boat has held her beauty over a great many years.
I am frantic in my search for a way to get the Hangar Queen back home. I WANT THAT BOAT. I have someone who has grown up on our rivers that can teach me everything about boats, the water and fishing. I know I am capable of becoming both a safe and knowledgeable person on the water. Twenty years ago, I would have laughed at this statement. But this is my dream. And it is so close, yet so far. I could never in a million years afford a boat, and yet I am practically surrounded by water.
If I could get the Hangar Queen from Denver to Virginia Beach, my children would be in for new experiences that would stay with them for a life time. There are so many beautiful places on the water to explore. So much wildlife to see. NO ONE would be plugged in on those fishing trips. New memories, new adventures, new life experiences. I have two years before my oldest goes away to college. Two small years. He would enjoy the boat more than anyone.
And the best part? If I could find a way to bring the Hangar Queen home, the true queen of the family (No, I am NOT talking about our Dalmatian) would hold the best seat on the boat. My mother. I could finally take her out to where she and my father had always planned to go. She could be the Monback while I desperately try to get the boat IN TO THE WATER. (This way! No, that way! No, this way! MON BACK!) Then we will all pile in, spin the boat around and point her towards a new adventure.
Anyone have a truck, a couple days and the need to go to Colorado? Or do you know anyone planning to drive from Denver towards Virginia? What about information on having something big like that shipped by truck? It doesn’t hurt to ask, does it? If it is meant to happen, it will happen. And if it doesn’t, at least I have some wonderful memories of our old, beautiful Wainjaw, the Hangar Queen. <sigh>