Let me start off the post by saying this isn’t Matt — this is his son, Hank, aka the ‘Berlin Büro’. Occasionally I hop on Woody Boater to fix some technical issues that I usually end up screwing up. But today on Father’s Day, my family and I wanted to take a moment to write something special.
As occasional and avid readers may know, my father has NEVER missed a day on this website since its creation. Even to the point where it drives him insane. I’ve seen his obsession grow and develop from vintage cars to vintage boats, (conveniently around the time my brother and I got our driver’s permits…hmmm), all the way to building a supportive and engaging community. We want to thank you all personally for reading, commenting, attending boat shows, and becoming our friends.
For the Smith family, boating has become a central part of our existence. From an early age, my brother and I learned of the etiquette of the hobby, restoration of forgotten boats, preservation of wood, quality of boat trailers, and our fair share of knots. Now as my brother lives in New Orleans and I live in Germany, we still find these skills relevant today, which brings up something my dad often says, “it always comes back to Woody Boater.”
From my brother and his fiancé designing merchandise, to myself helping WB become more digital and social, and finally to my mother who is often the center of many photos and posts (she loves it, don’t let her fool you), we’re all Woody Boaters. And let’s not forget the family dogs! I can scroll back through 10+ years of posts to see our childhood dog, Zipper, forever memorialized on WB! Our entire family history is right there as we’re basically breaking all the internet safety rules from years ago. I cannot even count the number of times my mom has said, “have you seen Woody Boater today?” That’s just who we are.
Without a doubt, my dad is my hero. There will never be a superhero, rock star, or celebrity that can match him in my eyes. There is nothing about the man that is fake or ‘put-on,’ even to the point where we as a family often say to him, “yeah we get it, you’re the god damn Woody Boater.” It’s gone to his head big time. As a family we went from always assuming he was covered in car-oil to now seeing (smelling) the varnishes, stains, and various grains of sandpaper. The past years are divided into boat shows, merchandise sales, and which month is best to visit so that we can take a cruise on the boats.
I know my mom can say more about this, but you all have become a part of our lives, all thanks to my dad’s blog – and the same man who said never talk to strangers on the internet. But hey, it’s now 2020! It’s a small hobby, sure, yeah, I get it.
I often find myself dreaming about what life would be like with open water and a boat of my own. But at the end of the day, I know that out of all of his hobbies and obsessions, my dad will always stick with boating. He found his calling. As my brother and I both search for our places in the world, we both rest easy knowing we have such creative, often distracted, but amazing footsteps to follow in thanks to our dad, even when his socks don’t match.
I’m going to break a WB taboo with this post by proofreading it – sorry dad. BUT Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!