CoolHandLukes

Thirst Quenching Beverages

aaThe marina is deserted, save for one man standing on the dock next to the ramp. He smiles and asks, “You’re here to get my Chris-Craft?” He’s joking, of course, a way to ease the tension. The man is waiting for a commercial hauler to show up, and it’s not easy to wait with the clock ticking. It’s about 3 in the afternoon, and the village is under an 8 p.m. evacuation order. He wonders whether there is enough water on the ramp to pull the Chris.

My brother and I have the Whaler on the trailer and out of the water in a flash. The man comes over, and we strike up a conversation. His name is Ron Kenyon, and like most folks you meet on or around the water he has a story to tell.

Kenyon, of Westerly, R.I., has been one of those proverbial jack-of-all trades his entire life. He is a craftsman and fine woodworker who at various times has been a homebuilder, boatbuilder, lobsterman, commercial fisherman and more.

Kenyon is in his 70s. He has a woodworking shop where he builds, among other things, custom kitchens. Hand carving, stained glass, custom moldings. You get the feeling he could build just about anything.

“When I was 13 my dad put me with every tradesman he could find in town,” Kenyon tells me. Plumber, plasterer, carpenter. You name it. “My dad didn’t let them pay me. He’d ask them, ‘How is he doing?’ If they said good, he’d say, ‘Give him enough money to get a haircut.’ ”

The father wanted his son to have a trade. “He didn’t think I’d make it through college ’cause he knew my nature,” says Kenyon, with a smile. Which is? “I was a happy go-lucky guy. And I was handy. I got my trade as a cabinetmaker.”