What I Did On My Summer Vacation

This is not Bill Littlefield. Nor is it the place he kayaked. (AP)
This is not Bill Littlefield. Nor is it the place he kayaked. (AP)

What I did on my summer vacation that had to do with sports. Sort of.

On one especially sunny, calm morning, I took the family kayaking.

Actually, I enlisted the services of one John McGrath to take us kayaking, and if you were going kayaking in Chatham, Mass., you'd have been wise to do the same, at least according to John McGrath, who has saved or rescued two hundred people in the waters adjacent to Chatham, Massachusetts, at least according to John McGrath, who also has seven ferrets.

The ferrets are necessary to a full appreciation of Mr. McGrath, because for many years owning them was illegal in Massachusetts, meaning that Mr. McGrath was a criminal. He was sought by various law enforcement officers with nothing better to do than keep the Commonwealth free of ferrets, which engendered in Mr. McGrath significant skepticism for a system against which he has been bumping up for some time.

Now John McGrath claims to know the various waters around Cape Cod better than anyone, and it may be true. I can testify that he knows the Oyster River, Stage Harbor, and the Snake River well enough to guide a party of six - only one of whom could kayak with grace, and it wasn't me - on a journey during which we were accompanied by egrets, herons, hawks, and gulls. Where the Snake River ends in a quiet marsh, we watched walls of crabs scuttle up the muddy banks and one of us - the one who was least concerned that her kayak might tip over and present John McGrath with somebody else to rescue - plucked several oysters off the bottom.

By the time we all got pointed back toward John's shack on the dock, the wind had kicked up. Motor boats crossing the harbor were ignoring the "no wake" rule. We bobbed across the choppy water as best we could, at least one of us determined not to acknowledge that his shoulder hurt. John McGrath raced ahead, slicing through the waves like a man worried that his ferrets might be hungry. Or lonely.

It was a fine day during a vacation full of fine days, and the memory had to become sustaining, since just two days after returning home, like lots of other people around here, I could have kayaked - in the dark - across my basement.

This program aired on August 31, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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