Mr Bobby is now the seniormost citizen among our afloat staff. He's in his mid 70's, and is the Able-Bodied Seaman aboard one of our tugboats. A lifelong commercial fisherman, shipyard worker and mariner, calling Mr. Bobby spry is an underwhelming statement. Dude is FAST. Leathery and wiry, with a very strong Virginia country southern accent (a Matthews County accent, or near enough, to my nothern ears), keeping up Mr. Bobby is like herding cats. You can try. He walks at a jogging pace and is always ready to meet you with a positive outlook so long as you bring one too. Otherwise, he's merely quiet and polite.
We call him Mr. Bobby because while the man himself is very humble, by virtue of his age, seniority and by the way he comports himself, the man is worthy of deep respect. Even his captain, a younger man, refers to him by the title. I took to it right away. He just IS a Mister.
I've been getting to know Mr. Bobby better the past few months. We've had more time to talk, and his tugboat has been paired with us more often than normal of late. It's been a pleasure to work with him. Guy knows his stuff, and at a time when morale is lower than snake shit within my company, conversations with Mr. Bobby tend to uplift instead of making me want to tongue punch the barrel of a pistol, which, sadly, has been the norm of late.
Last night we made our way out to an anchorage in sheer fog. No BS, we couldn't see the tugboat, just 300 feet away, from my bow. Just the warm glow of her lights, which meant the captain couldn't see us, either. We creeped our way along, and I got to be lookout for a bit alongside Mr. Bobby, something I haven't done for a LONG time. It was actually pretty nice. Professionally done, we settled into our spot for the night, and come sunup, off we went again to the next job, which is where I am now.
Despite some good old boys coming in, young, strong energetic kids, we're still getting a fair share of low-T soyboys from up north too, crippled by having T-rex arms, unable to pick up lines or throw them, just barely able to operate a radio and keep their soft widdle hands clean. I could use a dozen more Mr. Bobby's before taking on another maritime academy kid who can't coil a rope and is pissed off at having to do so.
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