A Friend of the Hudson
by Vermont Rice
This last week we lost Pete Seeger. Ceres was very lucky to have gotten a cheerful visit from Pete just under four months ago when we docked in Beacon. Beacon was a pretty busy market day for us. Because of the distance between our berth and where we were setting up our open air market, our crew walked an estimated 15 to 20 miles combined running stuff back and forth from the boat. I personally ran a lot of that distance when I could to save time. On one of those trips, Steve Schwartz (whose friendship with Seeger goes back to the earlier days of Clearwater and her smaller cousin the Woody Guthrie) was showing Ceres off to Pete Seeger, who had come down to see her. Pete was able to hop up on deck with just a little help, and looked down into the hold.
“Wow!” he said, “Look at all this cargo!” True enough, even with half of it fanned out over tables at the Beacon farmers’ market, there was still an outrageous amount of flour, beans, canned goods, potatoes and all the rest still down in the hold. Around this time I hopped up on deck and Steve introduced me to Pete. I told Pete that in my mind the mission of Ceres–to connect sustainable transport with agricultural revival in the region–was the next logical step in the work he began with Clearwater. I was ready to elaborate but I didn’t need to, he understood me right away and shot right back, “Yes! I totally agree!” We then posed for this group portrait! From left to right, Pete Seeger, Erik Andrus, Steve Schwartz and Jordan Finkelstein.
I wish I had had more time to spend with Pete but I am happy and honored to have at least met him. And I hope those reading this can take some comfort in knowing that just a few months ago Pete was still getting around and plenty alert, and taking delight in new things.
Planning continues for 2014. The plan is to make some improvements to the hull, get the last sail completed and rigged, and tip Ceres back into the lake a few short months from now. I want to put together a mailing list for those in the area who would like to crew on a volunteer basis. We’ll be moving smaller loads and won’t be at work every day, but we hope to get around. Plus a second run to NYC is also in the offing.
While winter lasts the Willowell crew and I are hard at work mopping up the last of the rewards for our gracious Kickstarter backers. The main item still on my personal plate is the construction guide. I have made many, many drafts of the hull in the past couple years, and my SketchUp skills have evolved along the way. Now I am setting about making a complete, accurate digital model of the boat we actually built. Lots of lines!
Into this model I have incorporated some planned upgrades, including a possible switch from a tiller to a wheel in a wheelhouse, a folding bowsprit, and some alterations in the living quarters. There are a lot of details!