Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara Larry

Boating on Hogtown Creek

Hogtown creek was a small creek that ran though Gainesville and was a few blocks from our house. David and I would sometimes go down to the creek and fish catching small brim or perch. We sometimes would find crawfish in the creek and would bring them home and keep them in a jar or aquarium. One summer I got an old duck boat that someone gave me, it was made of wood, about four feet wide, eight feet long but only about six inches deep.  It was in pretty bad shape with all sorts of cracks between the boards that made the bottom so I puttied them up as well as I could and was ready to try it out.  With the help of my brother, we loaded up the boat on the go-cart I made from my old soap box derby wheels and towed it down to Hogtown creek where we put it in the water, climbed in and found it had leaks everywhere and sinking withing a few minutes.  We made it safely to shore, leaving the boat there and returned home. I still wanted a boat so somewhere I found a sheet of plywood and cut out a boat sawing the boards with a handsaw. The boat was a simple rectangle shape with a sloping front, six feet long with foot high sides.  I got some black tar from one of the new houses begin built over on Skateboard Hill which had tar and gravel roofs.  I then melted the tar in a tin can over a camp stove that Dad had got from Camp Blanding surplus. It was a cool little stove that fCamp Stoveit in an aluminum can five inches in diameter and eight inches tall and unfolded when you took it out.  It ran on gasoline as a fuel which you put in a small tank which you then pumped it up, opening a starting lever let some gas flow into the top which you then lit and, in a minute turned into a blue flame.  No problem for me to operate, it worked just like the Colman camp stove that we used on family camping trips.  I thought it was the coolest thing.

With the stove going, and the tar melted, I grabbed the hot can with a pair of pliers and proceed to  pour the hot tar along the inner seams of the boat which quickly hardened.  After a quick coat of some white paint I found in the garage, it was finished and looking pretty looking pretty good boat I thought.  Once again, we loaded the new boat on my go-cart and hauled it down to Hogtown creek, put it in the water and David and I climbed in and shoved off from shore.  Although a little unstable, but it floated so we paddled down stream going as far as we could then turned around and paddled back upstream going past Glock’s hard to the bridge at 34th Street where we turned around and started paddling back.  We were about halfway back to our launch point when I noticed some water in the bottom of the boat that didn’t look good.  The amount of water in the bottom continued to increase until if finally flooded in, filling the boat with David and I sitting up to our waists still paddling to get to shore.  We finally gave up, got out, leaving the boat there in the middle of the creek and walked to shore in the waist deep water.  It seems the flexing of the sides of the boat broke the tar that the sealed the seams.  I was 0 for 2 with boats sinking, Gus Grissom did better than I. Oh, well we still had fun.

Updated: 09-03-2022