| Editor’s note: Our thanks to Tom French for sharing his fictional story with TI Life from his e-book. Wind Water Waves, Tom also supplied a number of photographs of “Real Old Timers…” from the Nellie Taylor Collection. |
Wind Water Waves
A Collection of 9 Short Stories
reflecting on relationships with
You may download the e-book from Riverstories.org.
Jake yanked on the front door, felt the brief suction, then pushed the clanky storm. It rattled as a rush of cool air blew in.
“You’re not going down there alone.” Emily hobbled from the kitchen. “Wait until Bobby gets back.”
“I’m getting antsy. I’m going to walk down. When they get back, send Bobby. He knows the way.”
“Now, don’t you do any of that work by yourself. I don’t want you pulling that boat all alone. Chase your work and your work will chase you! You just sit there and wait for Bobby.”
Jake frowned. “Don’t you worry, dear; it’ll take me that long to walk down there.” He pressed the flimsy aluminum storm door, to make sure it was shut, then tacked a note for Bobby, his grandson, on the outside trim. Emily would never remember where he’d gone.
The air was crisp and bit his cheeks, though the rest of his body was warm under several layers of clothes. He ambled down the sidewalk and immediately realized he should have brought his cane. He hated to use it. In his mind he could still convince himself he was only in his thirties or forties. Yet when he glanced in a mirror, or at his hands, he knew. He remembered his father’s hands — big, strong, textured. Strangely, he couldn’t recall his hands ever looking like his father’s. His hands were always young hands and then they were old — wrinkled, translucent, blotchy, dry, and fragile.
He took a shortcut through a field to the crest of Patterson’s hill. From there he had a commanding view over the tops of several houses to South Bay glimmering through the leafless trees.
He plodded down the hill, out of the grass crispy from frost, past Crystal Bay and onto the small peninsula to his boathouse. He forced the rusty hinges and entered. The decking creaked under his feet. He swiped the cobwebs away, brushing them from his face, and waited for his eyes to adjust to the dimness.
There were two boats that needed to be pulled — an old Starcraft bowrider and the fourteen-foot kicker. The Starcraft drifted in the slip. He was tempted to take it for one last ride. The river was calm, but he’d already been out for the last ride. He crouched, steadied himself with one hand on a post, and eased himself down, feeling the pleasant bob of the boat. He pumped the gas bulb a few times then slumped into the driver’s seat.
He lifted the cold start, choked the motor, and turned the key. The starter whined. He kept pushing the choke and boosting the cold start until the engine roared into shrilling revolutions. He tapped the cold start down. The engine hummed softly; the water around the lower unit seethed and bubbled.
He went to the stern and detached the gas line from the motor, then returned to the driver’s seat and waited for the gas to run itself through. It would be a few minutes. In the past he’d tried to speed the process by putting the engine in gear — the lines taut and tugging on the cleats, the water behind the boat churning in the forced current, but it still took awhile and today he wasn’t in a hurry.
He gazed into the brightness beyond the boathouse doors — across the water and bay and into the deep blue sky — blue as it had been for an eternity, allowing him to sometimes believe he could live forever. He scanned the opposite shore — the gray elms and oaks. He still saw things he’d never noticed before, even at this age, though they’d been there in front of him his entire life. The speckled forest floor popped out at him. Deep in the bay the tall marsh grass had faded to the color of sand. He spotted a flock of ducks floating close to Harvey’s Island and then four whistlers flew past heading into the bay.
He wondered how many more years, how many more autumns, if any, he would witness this hibernation. He loved the river. He did not doubt that. It was a part of his spirit and soul, and yet, he couldn’t live with all its seasons and moods. His love was conditional. Part of him actually felt guilty for his defection. If he were a real man he’d still grin and bear it as he had for years.
Then why not now when he no longer faced its rigors directly every day?
There was the walk to be shoveled and the drafts that could never be plugged and having to go for groceries or the mail or any number of other errands in the bitter cold. He shivered at the thought of it. Just being cooped up in the house all winter nettled him.
And the river was not without guilt either. He riveted his eyes on the spot in the bay where he’d last seen his first-born son — over a half century ago. A half century. There was no turning back.
It was a hard morning. This chore of pulling the boats would have been easier if the day had been mean and nasty. It was as if the river played with him, taunted him. As if it knew about the pressures his children were placing on him not to go to Florida because of their fears that he or Emily might fail while in Florida and be unable to return North, that he or Emily might become a burden if they were stuck in Florida so far away from the family.
“Let’s face it, Dad. Your health is failing,” Russell had said. Failing — the word rolled over and over in his head.
“And Mom’s mind is going. If you end up in a hospital down there, who is going to take care of her? She’s likely to set the house on fire or something.”
He heard a flock of geese. It was a glorious morning. It was easy to forget the hard days and times this river had brought him. The mind was good at that — at forgetting the worst, even making it appealing in a sentimental way, but the years of experience had hardened him. He was too wise to be fooled by this conspiracy between his mind and the river.
The engine throbbed as it coughed for gas. It shook him from his thoughts. He swung around and pushed the choke frantically, striving to keep the motor running as long as possible, to make sure all the gas was burned and the engine was bone dry. It sputtered a few seconds longer, then died. He untied the four bumpers and heaved them on the dock.
“I thought I heard someone down here. Aren’tcha gone yet?”
Jake peeked up to see Wade’s silhouette framed in the doorway. “Wade! Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.” He stepped into the bow, toward Wade and the light in the door.
“It’s a little late for ya this year, isn’ it?” Wade spoke slowly.
“No, not really.”
“When do ya leave?”
“Not ‘til then?”
“Well, our flight leaves Tuesday morning. Russell will be driving us to Syracuse on Monday.” Jake reached up for the chain fall and pulled the hook. The chain links rattled through the pulley. He leaned out over the bow and slipped the hook into the eye in the stem.
“Do ya remember liftin’ ol’ man Robinson’s boat that one fall when the jacks broke?” Wade asked.
Jake observed Wade with a puzzled look. “No, I don’t.” It scared Jake because something inside him told him he should remember.
“You don’?” Wade seemed surprised. “Four of us there were — I was sure one of ‘em was you, Jake. Are ya sure you weren’ there?”
“Oh, well. The steel threads on the jacks had worn and the cruiser was too heavy for the two beams and the screws an’ the cruiser collapsed an’ fell right into the river.”
“Whatcha you do when it fell in?”
“You should know, Jake. You were there.”
“I’m tellin’ you, Wade. I don’t recollect being there. I sort of recall hearing about Robinson’s yacht falling in,” he lied. He didn’t remember any of it. “But I wasn’t there.”
“Well, we borrowed a heavy fall from Hutchison Boat Works an’ two more from Doc Wilder. The water was low and we started hauling on the back an’ we got her level and that’s the way we brought her out — lifted her right up.”
“Was that thirty-three or so?”
“Wade, do you think you could hand me that strap?” Jake pointed to the rear wall where a wide canvas boat strap hung from a large spike driven into one of the studs.
“Sure, Jake.” Wade ambled to the heavy strap, hoisted it off its hook, and handed the metal ends to Jake.
“Hey, Gramp.” Bobby chuckled in the doorway. “It’s a good thing I found your note. Grandma thought you’d gone to Clayton to trade horses.”
Jake smiled as he tied a line to the metal rings on each end of the strap.
“Hello, son,” Wade said. “Here to help your grandpa?”
“Here, Bobby. Step down here in the boat. How strong are you feeling today?” Jake dropped the strap into the water and fished it around the engine and under the boat.
“As strong as ever.” “Good.” Jake hooked the strap to the stern falls — one on each side of the boat. “I want you to pull on that chain, slowly, when I tell you.” He pointed toward the bow. “But be prepared to stop. I’ve got two to pull and I might have to catch up occasionally.”
There was clamoring outside on the gangway to the boathouse, then mumbling as another figure appeared.
“Why, Merle?” Wade said. “How are ya doin’? I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“I-I-I’m doing f-fine.” He stuttered and swayed in the doorway.
“How’dcha know we were here?”
“I saw your truck, Wade. And I followed the kid down.”
“Looking for a little action, are ya Merle?” Jake said. “Ready, Bobby?”
“Time to pull the boats, huh?” Merle slurred.
“Sure is. Got to head south.”
Merle stumbled across the back of the boathouse to an old chest.
“Don’t fall down now, Merle.”
“Don’t you worry, Wade. I’ve got my dock feet.”
“Sea legs,” Jake corrected.
“That too.” Merle plopped down.
“Do ya remember the time we caught that sturgeon for the initiation of the Admirals, Merle?” Wade spoke louder over the babble of chains.
“I sure do, Wade. Why do you ask?” Merle tottered on his seat.
“Well, your staggering around here reminded me of the initiation, that’s all,” Wade grinned.
“What’s a sturgeon, Gramp?”
“Jus’ one of the biggest fish you’ll ever see,” Merle said.
“How come we never fish for ‘em then?”
“‘Cause they’re not in the river anymore.” Jake tugged a length of chain. “Keep pullin’ there, Bobby.”
“I’ll tell ya why,” Wade said. “The seaway and the moss that ya see on the rocks around on the bottom ruined the sturgeon. The sturgeon was a bottom feeder. And when the seaway stirred up the bottom of the river, we started noticin’ this moss gettin’ on the hooks an’ when that started, that ended the sturgeon. They starved to death.”
The boat began to swing from side to side and water dripped underneath. “Now watch out, Bobby. We’re comin’ out of the water. The boat’s going to rock and it’ll be harder to pull since we’re liftin’ the full weight now.” He yanked another length of chain through one pulley and then the other.
“Did you ever catch a sturgeon, Gramp?”
“Sure did, but not as many as Wade.”
“Oh, it was a nasty business,” Wade said. “‘Course, we were younger then.”
“You ain’t kiddin’,” Jake agreed.
“Amen to that,” Merle said.
“Ya had to grapple the line up an’ start tying the damn bait on the hooks.” Wade mimicked the movement. “A piece a cut up perch, in cold water, an’ I wanna tell ya, I done it so many times my hands’d be numb an’ sometimes your stomach would ache from the cold. But Jesus, they jus’ cried for those fish. They’d call us up from New York on the phone person-to-person to ship ’em down, they wanted ’em so bad. An’ we were gettin’ two dollars an’ forty cents a pound for ’em — hog dress’d! At that time, that was a lot of money! We’d cut the heads off an’ take the innards out an’ put the fish in a wooden barrel, which ya don’t see nowadays, an’ fill it full of ice, an’ put the cover on, an’ seal it around, an’ take it off to the railhead, an’ ship it down to this Van Shinton an’ Company down in that Fulton Fish Market in New York City, an’ they’d ship the check right back to us. Some time the check was a hundred and forty, fifty dollars!”
“Tell ‘em about Booty and Buck,” Merle said.
“Oh, I’ve had my run-ins with them too,” Jake sighed.
“Yeah, well, we kept a boat, a flat-bottomed boat, in Horse Bay and one time, Merle an’ I went down to set the line an’ there was somebody ahead of us there — Booty Joiner and Buck Calhoun. They were out in a skiff an’ we stopped to say hello to ’em an’ they had this thirty-thirty rifle sittin’ on their seat with the damn thing cocked an’ they kinda nodded their heads as though ‘get the hell outta there or they’d blast our heads off’ an’ we left there that time an’ didn’t set our line.”
Bobby gaped at Wade. “Do you think they would have shot you?”
“Oh, I don’t think so. They were jus’ strange people. Liked to keep to themselves.”
“Damn strange,” Merle spat.
“Twisted, if you ask me,” Jake said.
“Well, a week or so later we went down there an’ there was nobody around and so we set our line and started catchin’ sturgeon immediately. On the first night we had two fairly good sturgeon, an’ man those things were big. Fact, one of ’em was seventy pounds. What a thrill it was when ya had one on. Ya threw a grapple over an’ ya grappled the line up, an’ the minute ya got the line up ya could tell if ya had a big fish on. “We pulled ’em in an’ ya could see ’em comin’. Usually they were pretty tired ’cause they’d been on quite a while but ya still had to get these monsters into the boat. Now when ya see a sixty, seventy-five, or a hundred pound sturgeon, mister,” he fixed his eyes on Bobby, “underwater — you’ve seen a fish. An’ the biggest one I ever seen was a two hundred pounder.
Bobby stared wide-eyed at Wade.
“Keep pullin’ that chain,” Jake said.
“What we would do, as one got near the boat, is we would gaff him. Now, ya couldn’t gaff him in the stomach, ‘cause ya had to keep him alive and they’d die quickly if ya weren’t careful. An’ if they were dead, ya couldn’t ship ’em to New York. Ya had to have ’em fresh. So what we had to do was to get ’em jus’ right, get ’em jus’ under the mouth or behind the gill an’ get him into the boat. An’ then we threw life preservers an’ bags or anything we could get over the damn fish. They’d pound so on the bottom of the boat we were afraid it’d sink us! An’ we’d hike right for shore, immediately, quit everything, an’ get ‘em in the fish cage before he died. An’ that was the whole secret of keepin’ the fish alive.”
Gravel crunched outside.
“Who’s here now?” Merle asked.
Wade peeked out the door. “Why, it’s Bennie.”
“Pulling these boats is turning into a regular town meeting,” Merle slurred.
“Yes, but I haven’t seen any help from you fellows yet.” Jake observed Bobby. “Slow down there, now, Kid. I need to catch up.” Jake continued rolling the chains through the pulleys.
Bennie’s feet scuffed on the dock outside as he appeared in the doorway. “Why it’s a goddamned party and no one invited me.”
“How did you know?” Merle stammered.
“I followed your breath down here. What have we got going here anyway?”
“Well, Gramp and I are pulling the boat. Wade is telling stories, and Merle’s just sittin’ around.”
The men howled.
“Damn kid.” “Well, some things never change,” Bennie said.
“Bennie, maybe you and Wade could put those beams underneath.” Jake pointed to the side of the boathouse.
“Sure thing, Jake. Why don’t you get the other end there, Wade.” Bennie slid one end of an old gray cedar six-by-six from the side of the boathouse wall and dragged it to the opposite side of the boathouse so it lay across the slip.
“This is the p-problem with big b-boats,” Merle said. “I can p-pull my john boat all b-by my-s-self.”
“Ya still have that thing?” Wade asked as they skidded the timber under the stern.
“You’re lucky it doesn’t sink and drown ya,” Jake jeered.
Bennie and Wade positioned the second beam under the bow.
“Why, remember that old sharpie, Jake?” Bennie asked.
“I remember losing it.” He plodded to the bow — the boat rocking beneath him.
“Watch out, Gramp.”
“Don’t you worry, Bobby. It’s not going anywhere.” He took the chain from his grandson and made the boat rock purposely. “Now we use this other chain here and you just lift it up and the chain fall will take it and lower the boat.” The chain rattled; the boat sank. “Got it?”
Jake shuffled to the stern and grasped the chains. “Okay, now, very slowly, feed the chain up into the pulley and we’ll lower her down onto the beams.”
There was the chatter of chain as the boat sank and swayed.
“How’dcha lose a boat?” Merle asked.
“You tell ‘em, Bennie. I might be biased in my opinions of some people in the story.”
“Well, one winter Jake and I built two sharpies. One apiece for each other.”
“What’s a sharpie?” Bobby asked.
“It’s a boat,” Jake said. “Pointed on one end and square on the other, used for trappin’ and huntin’ and fishin’.”
“Boarded crossways, instead of lengthways,” Merle added.
“That’s right,” Wade said.
“Yeah, well,” Bennie continued. “We always opened the season in Delaney’s Bay, which was owned by Booty Joiner on one side and Buck Calhoun on the other. Now, we both built blinds on our sharpies so we could hunt separately and we were on Mosquito Island and the wind was coming up in the evening and Jake said, ‘It looks like it might blow a gale. I think I’ll take my blind up tonight.’ You know, tow it up with the other boat. ‘Then it’ll be all set in the morning. How about you?’ And I said ‘Well, I’m not going up there in no gale wind.’ So he took the boat up there and the next morning he routed right out about four-thirty or five and took off. I didn’t go ’cause the wind was blowing pretty hard and I never was as big a daredevil as he. But about an hour later he come back. And I said, ‘whatcha doin’ back here?’ Well, his sharpie, with the blind and all, was gone. When he went back, there was nothing there. He didn’t have no blind to hunt out of — nothin’. So we monkeyed around. I run up there with ’em and naturally we ran right into Buck Calhoun and that other character, Booty Joiner.”
“Yeah, we’ve already heard about them today,” Jake interrupted.
“That’s right,” Bennie continued. “And ‘oh, they hadn’t seen any boat’ or anything.”
“Of course not,” Jake mumbled.
“Yeah, and the huntin’ was all over by then. So Buck, he gets in his boat and goes out and helps us look around.”
“Hell, he was part of the deal!” Jake shouted. “He and that Booty sunk that boat! They took her out in the Canadian channel and filled her full of rocks to keep us guys out of there and she lays out there in the middle somewhere to this day.”
“They fixed ol’ Jake here good. See, they’d started postin’ that marsh, which is illegal. We figured it was illegal anyway. We didn’t pay any attention to those posters. But we never did go back there, did we Jake?”
“Nope. No sense foolin’ around with characters like that, but I’m not the only one’s lost a boat. Remember that time we were huntin’ together with Dexter Hewitt on Mosquito?” Jake reminded Bennie. “The ducks were sittin’ down there, raftin’, and we decided you should go down and make a little circle?”
“That’s illegal!” Wade said.
“Of course it is!” Merle yelled, almost falling off his seat.
“Don’t tell me you never did anything illegal, Wade,” Bennie said.
“Aw,” they all admonished him.
“Now let me finish my story. Bennie here, he started out with my sharpie. This was before it was gone, with a little 5 horse — brand new 5 horse too. And when he gets down there, there was a little followin’ sea. Not a big wind or anything, just a followin’ sea. Hewitt says, ‘Bennie’s driftin’ down there.’ And I says, ‘he is?’ ‘Yeah, looks to me like he’s waving — way down by Flat Iron.’ ‘Well, he must be in trouble.’ So I got in the other boat and rushed right down there and there he was and he didn’t have any motor. The clamps had loosened and he set there kind of half numb with his hand on the handle. One of them followin’ seas had licked it and lifted it right up and took it right out of his hand. Brand new motor!!”
They all roared.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s true, but at least it was your motor,” Bennie gibed. “Either way you look at it, you lost both your boat and your motor.”
“Not by my own doin’ in either case, but do you think that’s the end of that story? No way. In May of the next spring, along comes Coot Mulhull. He says, ‘I’ve got somethin’ Jake; it belongs to you.’ I says, ‘You have?’ ‘Yeah, it’s right here in the back of my pickup.’ I says, ‘What is it?’ ‘Five horse Johnson.’ And there she was. I said, ‘Where’d ja get that?’ ‘Well,’ he says, ‘I was on Flat Iron that day when it fell off. I saw Bennie and I put a range on that motor — where it was and I went out there this spring…’ on that range that he had across from one side to the other. And he looked down in the clear water and there laid the motor. He said, ‘Jake, I’ll sell ya the motor.’ And I said, “Coot, I’ll tell you something right now. I’m givin’ you the motor. You found it, you can have it.”
“Did it work? Did it work?” Bobby asked.
“Hell, no. All them cylinders’d be rusted and seized. It’d been laying in the St. Lawrence River all winter. Never get that motor runnin’. After six months? Nice of him to bring it back though, wasn’t it?”
Jake smiled at his grandson. The chain slackened as the boat rested on the beams. “That’s it, Bobby. Bennie, stick those blocks under the stern, would ya?”
Bobby vaulted to the dock. As his feet thumped on the deck there was a loud crash in the back of the boathouse. Jake peered over the bow. Merle lay on the floor in a pile of lines and fishing poles that had fallen on him as he fell off the bench. He struggled to untangle himself. “Are you okay, Merle?”
“Yes, I’m f-fine. It’s j-just this d-damn chest! It s-slipped out from u-under me.”
“You don’t think it was you or the booze now, do you, Merle?” Bennie teased.
“Of c-course not. I’ve only had th-three drinks t-today.”
“Big ones,” Bennie laughed.
Merle stood. “Well, I-I’m not going to s-stick around here and b-be made f-fun of.”
“Aw, now, Merle. No hard feelings,” Wade said.
“I’ll s-see you all l-later.” Merle stumbled out.
Jake clambered over the gunnel to the dock.
“It’s about lunch time,” Bennie said. “I think I’ll be going too.”
“Yes, I believe it is,” Wade said. “I should be goin’ myself. If I don’t see ya again, Jake, have a good winter.”
“I will, Wade. You do the same.”
“I’m sure I’ll see you before you go.” Bennie strayed toward the door.
Jake waved. “I’m sure too.”
They disappeared outside off the dock.
“Is that all Gramp? I’m hungry too.”
“Almost. We still have the kicker.”
“Tell you what. Why don’t you go out to the kicker? We’ll get her going and you can take out all the bumpers and cushions while the motor drains its gas and I finish with this one. I just have to lube it.”
“Okay.” Bobby dashed out to the side of the boathouse.
Jake followed. It took several pulls to start the motor and Jake suddenly felt nauseous and tired. He popped off the gas line. “Now, Bobby, when this thing starts to sputter, I want you to rush back here and keep pushing this choke button until the engine stops. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, I remember doing this last year with you.”
“Good.” Jake struggled out and returned inside. He was hot, sweating profusely, and felt like he was going to faint. He sat on the dock and leaned against the wall.
“All ready, Gramp.” Bobby came into the boathouse. “What now?”
Jake glimpsed Bobby, breathed deeply, labored to keep his grandson and the question in focus. He was exhausted. “We’ll have… your father… come down here… and drag it out… for us.”
Sweat stung his eyes and poured off his forehead. He wiped it off with the sleeve of his shirt. He squinted and blinked. He inhaled then exhaled deeply, keeping his head low, bent over. Suddenly his chest felt tight — like it was going to explode. He gripped his shirt and moaned. “Ahhh.” He grimaced. His body coiled.
“Gramp! Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he forced.
“Are you sure? I’m going to go get some help.” Bobby whirled abruptly.
“No!” Jake barked. Bobby stopped and looked back at him. “It’s just… bad heartburn,” Jake stammered. “It happens…… all the time.” The pain began to pass. He fumbled in his pocket for his nitroglycerine, concentrated on his breathing — deep, steady, forceful breaths. He beheld his grandson and perked up.
“Geez, Gramp. You really scared me there for a minute. I thought you were having a heart attack or something.”
“No. Just Grandma’s… cooking.” Jake made circles with his index finger on the side of his head.
Bobby laughed. Jake chuckled too. Then Bobby lowered his head and scuffed the dock with his sneakers. “Do you ever worry about dying, Gramp?”
“It happens… to all of us.” He was still having difficulty.
“Yeah, I know, but does it scare you? It scares me sometimes.”
Jake pursed his lips, heaved another deep breath. “Oh,…… I don’t know. Sometimes. But it…… scared me more…… when I was young,…… like you. Now? Well……” His voice drifted off. He knew it was another heart attack. It wasn’t the first time — though this had been the worst. He’d hidden the attacks from Emily and the family because he knew the big one, the last, was close at hand. He knew if anyone suspected, they’d insist he go to the hospital. That would mean tests. He’d miss his flight or they wouldn’t let him go at all. The collusion between his children and Emily and the doctor was something he couldn’t fight.
He gazed away from Bobby toward the marsh, deep into the bay, at the golden reeds then above the cattails, through the bare trees rising behind the river — into the heart of the forest and gilded leaf-covered floor. If he was going to die, he wished he could do it here. It would almost be pleasant to lie on the forest bed, enjoy the serenity of the sky through the trees, and then close his eyes — to rest. He would rather die at the river — but not in the cold. “I’m just so tired.” He said it more to himself than to Bobby. He took a deep breath and sighed.
“Should we go, Gramp? I’m awfully hungry.”
“Just a few more seconds, Bobby. I want to enjoy this view… just a little bit longer. It might be the last time…… I’m down here…… this year.” But Jake knew it might be the last time in his life. He’d seen this bay thousands of times — in all seasons and weathers and years. In an instant he tried to remember them all as they merged into a few brief memories. It had come to this — a perfect day. He stared across the water — the dark blue under the light blue, the sand-colored marsh, the specks of ducks in the bay, the light so bright it cried for him to stay.
But then the wind shifted to the north — a cool breeze, just a light gust. It nipped on Jake’s face and arms — drying the sweat. Tiny ripples on the water formed a small cat’s-paw that sparkled speckles of yellow light. Soon it would be a gale and Jake knew the day was just a ruse, a trick — and he wouldn’t be fooled. He was too old to start spending his winters here again. As much as he loved the river, it was the spring and summer and early fall that he loved. He stood, taking one last view of the bay, engraving it in his memory so he would never forget, no matter what.
By Thomas French
Tom French was raised on an island in the St. Lawrence River. His book, River Views: A History of the 1000 Islands in 3-D, won a Silver Medal in the 2012 Independent Book Publishers Awards, for Best Regional Non-Fiction, in the Northeast. He received his Bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University, his Masters from Potsdam College, and teaches English in Massena, NY. Tom’s work has been featured in Mac|Life Magazine, Adirondack Life, The Watertown Daily Times, Thousand Islands Life.com, and Stereo World, among other publications. Several of his commentaries have aired on North Country Public Radio. He is a member of the band, The Buoyrockers. He spends his winters in Potsdam, NY, with his family.