It’s been a slow week here at Purgatory Cove. New Year’s Eve was no exception. It was a quiet end to a quiet day and time for the annual Cove New Year’s celebration.
Actually, celebration is over stating the event. Along about dusk, Lefty and Wade sweep out the boat shed and make sure there is enough firewood cut and ready to feed the pot-bellied stove in the shed. Soon the stove is roaring and the chimney pipe is glowing a dull red. They gathered up some chairs and a bench or two to place near the stove. Wade threw a couple of handfuls of coffee into the big coffee pot and sat it on the stove to brew.
Sam’s Momma had made up a special batch of her special recipes for those brave enough to partake of it. The coffee was for those too weak-knead to taste the special recipes and for those who partook a little too much.
One by one the regulars began to stop by the boat shed. In addition to Sam, Lefty and Wade, Willy the crabber, the Judge and Clem from unclaimed freight arrived and chose a spot near the stove. Clem brought along several boxes of Christmas cookies that hadn’t sold while the Judge contributed a fruitcake he had been bathing in rum since Thanksgiving.
Outside the snow was gently falling. The flakes twinkled as they fell through the cones of light from the security lamps. The snow covered the mundane details of the boatyard with a blanket of white. Tools, blocking and more were all hidden under that pristine blanket. Even the burn barrels looked good under their coat of white.
The Cove itself began to develop a thin layer of ice, sparkling off the reflected lights of the boatshed. Willy might have to break some ice to get his crabbin’ skiff out tomorrow morning.
Around the stove, the conversation was slow and sporadic. Events of the past year were remembered, discussed and debated. The fire at the fertilizer factory, Lefty and Wade’s run in with the coasties at night, Willy’s latest girlfriend were all recalled, sometimes in more detail than desired.
With the past thoroughly debated, talked turned to the New Year. Would there be a major hurricane? Would Willy keep on crabbin’ or finally give it up? Where would the best fishin’ spots be?
As the evening wore on, the firewood pile began to shrink as did the level of Special Recipe. Even the stale Christmas cookies were disappearing. ‘Course, a dunk in the strong coffee or Special Recipe was enough to take the stale out of just about anything.
The evening finally came to a close when Wade nodded off to sleep and fell out of his chair. That roused up the rest of the folks and they headed off to their homes, a little bleary-eyed but not much worse for wear.
Other than that, it’s been a slow week here in Purgatory Cove.