I noticed that the green boat had something painted on the side. The boat was upside down and until we pulled her off the car top and up righted her I could only guess at what it said. Once on the ground I discovered that the previous owners had used red paint and proudly scrawled the names “Fred and Judy” on the boat. My 10-year-old mind did not realize that personalization of this type would be very uncool as I reached my teen years.
The boat was used in that condition for years and to my teenage dismay my father always refused to remove the names. Forty-two years later the boat is still referred to as the “Fred and Judy”. I lost my father in 2010 and recently a wave of nostalgia has swept over me. I have thought of the endless summer hours my middle-aged father would sit in that boat and paddle us all over the lake searching for game fish.
I have tried to do the same thing in the recent past and after a few hours crowded into Fred and Judy I can barely pull myself upright. All of this pain induced by the uncomfortable position needed to maintain a seat in the boat has made me realize my father loved me more than I ever realized.
Right about now I am sure you are asking “What the devil does this have to do with the state of Georgia?” I am glad you asked! The way I decided to help reduce some of the pain involved with commanding a vessel this old and small was to attach an electric trolling motor to the stern of the beloved boat.
I quickly realized that the state requires any vessel with any type of mechanical propulsion be registered. OK, I have to pay twenty bucks or so and get Fred and Judy registered. Sounds simple enough.Wrong! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources informed me that because the “vessel’s” hull ID number did not match the number in its data base that I would need to load her in a truck and drive her approximately 100 miles round trip to be inspected. This would require more time and money than the actual cost of the boat. I asked the DNR representative why this was necessary. She told me that criminals from surrounding states come to Georgia to register stolen boats and this was the state’s way of stopping such criminal activity. She also told me that the DNR had performed thousands of these inspections recently.
My problem with this genius idea is now we have thousands of law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working people having to haul vessels thousands of miles for inspections because of a handful of criminals. Every time I turn around Big Brother has got his grubby paws in my pocket. This is another case of the government running amok. As for me and Fred and Judy, I guess we will just stick to old fashioned paddles, and the state will not get to invade the privacy of Fred and Judy’s gunnels.