Betsy, A Wonderful Story Of The Power Of Karma.

Betsy, a 1958 28′ Connie last weekend on Smith Mountain Lake

It comes as no surprise to many of us here in the classic boat hobby that our wood boats are more than just inanimate objects that float around. They are living breathing things that we share our place on the planet with.. So.. you say,  Woody’s gone off the deep end here? He is about to get all spacey – tinkle on us.. Well.. it’s true… Our boats are made from an organic matter.. They breath.. they soak in moisture like we do.. They dry out.. And left alone.. die.. And given love and respect,  thrive and return the favor.. It does not take a huge leap to believe that they also soak in good energy.. or bad.. They for all intensive purposes have a spirit.. Come on.. It’s all part of the hobby.. How many times have you fallen in love with a boat from across the marina? Why do folks restore the un restorable? Why do folks look for years for there long lost boat that they had when they were younger? How many of you long for that freezer that was in the garage when you were a kid? Or the lawn mower you spent your summers making money with? So, what in the heck does this have to do with Betsy, my old Cruiser… Well, about two months ago I sold Betsy to fellow Woody Boater Phil Jones on Smith Mountain Lake.. Folks asked why? We all helped in the naming here of Betsy, we followed her repairs and know her history, why would I sell her so fast and loose money in the deal. KARMA! It’s that simple..

The day we picked up Betsy, her with her past name Odyssey

For those that are new to the Betsy story.. We picked her up this past spring for about $2,500 in a Marina here in VA.. She had been let go for a couple years or so, and she needed a  home.. What was different about Betsy though is that in the late 90’s she had been beautifully restored and loved.. Over restored… Her name was Odyssey.. Now.. nothing special about that.. BUT.. turns out the restorer was a woman named Betsy.. Betsy was an artist like my mother, did landscape painting like my mother, was about my mothers age.. And died suddenly exactly from the same cause of death as my mother..  On top of that, when we were pregnant with our first child, we did not know what it would be.. A boy or girl? if it was going to be a girl, she was to be named Betsy.. So all these things came together regarding naming the boat.. Betsy was a clear favorite here on Woody Boater when we all voted..  Betsy was brought home to Reedville, and her transom was repaired and some bottom planks.. We spent the summer on glorious sunset cruises.. That boat made this summer one of the best we have had down there on the water..

Betsy, after her repairs and about to be  put in the water.. 

But things were changing, Our sons are going off to school, and have not gone down to the river in years.. Woody Boater is demanding more time away on the weekends, and the idea of owning a un attended to cruiser was not in the cards.. Also Phil was looking for a worthy project with a twist.. And that is were Karma comes in.. Turns out Phil sponsors kids with special needs.. and is part of a group of families that also have kids with special needs.. They wanted a project that they could all work on and then enjoy the results.. Betsy in a sense was going onto to help these kids feel joy and giving them an opportunity to learn and enjoy the joy of boating

From Phil. “Wayne is perhaps the most disabled guy I sponsor. He shows little interest in any type of unfamiliar surroundings and often exhibits behaviors during outings into the community. BUT Sunday for four hours he laughed and smiled and would say “water”  “boat” “Dad’s boat” laughing loudly every time the boat changed speed. He will be with me most days on the water from now on.” 

 WOW.. Betsy was put in the water on Smith Mountain Lake about 2 months ago and has not stopped.. The reports of Betsy and her crew have been heart warming and joyful.. The kids LOVE it.. Betsy the artist who donated her paintings to good causes is still helping.. Her simple choice to save a boat over 20 years ago is still passing forward good things.. And now Phil is doing the same.. Thanks Phil, Betsy would be proud..

Betsy still going strong… Note the date..
9 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    You know that is a heart warming story. The thing that gets me where I live is the picture of Wayne and that look on his face because that's me. That pure emotion is what I look foward to when I know I am going to spend time on the water. Bottom line have fun.

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

    Whether it's taking disabled kids out for a ride, having city kids along for some fishing or having troubled youth assist in boat restoration, boaters in general have big hearts. Thanks for the story, perfect for the Christmas season.

  3. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Thanks for the story. And for using the term "Karma" in the true meaning of the expression. Many of us tag this expression with fate and other things that could be considered either positive (if we're lucky) or negative (if we're not so fortunate).

    I think the true meaning of the expression considers things from past actions that flow into the present and on into the future which weren't necessarily planned but turn out good, positive and to the benefit of others.

    This story certainly is a great example of this. It's an inspiration to all of us. Wayne is very fortunate to have someone like Phil Jones to care about him. Phil, along with Wayne and others are fortunate that Betsy came along when she did, and although unknowing at the time, Betsy is the center of this due to WoodyBoater saving her from a different, less pleasant fate.


  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Matt,and fellow woody boaters, Thanks for the kind words. This is a side of our family that most people at a distance were not aware we are involved with. I would also like to take this opportunity to let your viewers know that Virginia is one of a handful of states that still operate "Institutions" for individuals with disabilities. This is a antiquated and unexceptable way to deal with "PEOPLE" as I have proven along with everyone in our organization, there is a loving home avalible for every individual. Take this time to reflect and anytime you have a opportunity to speak to your local, state or federal officials, tell them that you support sponsor placement in the community over institutional settings for individuals with disabilities. WHERE WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE, that question is a no brainer. Have a Merry , Joyous and Blessed, Christmas, our guy's show us every day what Christmas is about.
    Phil in Va.
    PS I to have not learned how to post 🙂

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Hear, hear! Your story also speaks to us about the blessings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we all remember He is the Reason for the Season, and it is is His Grace that makes the "wonderful challenges" of our lives (and hobbies) all possible.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Matt,Our mornings are always a challenge and in my rush to bang out my coment I also forgot anouther aspect of this story and that is the generosity of Matt Smith. Without his willingness to assist and very generous price reduction, none of this would have occured. Our entire group thank you. Our individuals would never have this exsperince were it not for your compassion. Thank You for all you do.

  7. pick373
    pick373 says:

    What goes around comes around! I know thats not whay you did this, it's just what good people have happen to them. Merry Christmas all year long.

    Dave Pickard

  8. Texx
    Texx says:

    This is the time of year when I establish my Woody Boating objectives for the new year. After reading this inspirational story, at the very top of my list of objectives for 2011 is to meet and spend some time getting to know Phil Jones… Hopefully on Betsey…

  9. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Texx, as Matt, Betsy’s light is always on for you guy’s. Would love to have you anytime. Lynn at the Va. Dare Marina also knows that if a guy named Matt Smiyh shows up for a day on the lake to just hand him the key’s.
    Happy New Year.

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