Smitten with Uncle Rock

Booh & Uncle Rock. Late winter, 2006.

How could she not be? He sang Yellow Submarine, her all time favorite song. He played the guitar, the one thing she wants from the Christmas Spider. He’s tall and thin, a common thread amongst all her crushes. And funny to boot!

She had been waiting for weeks to see Uncle Rock, who did a family performance at a local cafe on Saturday morning. With songs like “Rock & Roll Babysitter,” “Sugar Talkin’,” and “Gettin’ Big Blues,” his CD is her #1 request every time we get in the car. She even wore her black biker boots so she could stomp around like a rock & roll babysitter.

We met Uncle Rock (a.k.a. Robert Burke Warren ) sailing on the Hudson River aboard the Sloop Clearwater, a historical tall sailboat. We drove up to Kingston, NY, with our neighbor and her daughter and spent the day sailing on the river, learning about the ecology of the river while listening to live music, and then having lunch at Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant in the Roundout in Kingston. (They have the BEST homemade corn tortillas and mole sauce!) The sailboat is part of Clearwater, an environmental advocacy and education organization based out of Poughkeepsie, NY.

The wind was calm that day so we didn’t do much sailing, but I didn’t mind so much. I felt it was better for Booh’s first time on a sailboat (age 4) to have calm waters. She went down into the galley and I told her stories of when I use to work in the galley on the MV Greenpeace. She asked me if there were grocery stores out at sea and if they sold only fish and nori.

That day on the Sloop Clearwater she was given the very important task of tossing the buoy over the ships side, followed by a net to collect specimens for the kids to look at and learn about. Hogchokers (Trinectes maculatus) were one of the several marine species retrieved from the river. It’s a small flat fish that feels like a puppy’s tongue when you run you fingers over it. Farmers use to feed their hogs these fish, but they would occasionally get lodged in their throats due to the fishes morphology, choking the hog. Now when Booh chokes on something she’s eating, I’ll call it a Hogchoker, which only makes her laugh and choke again. (Sometimes I really question my mothering skills.)

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