I literally kicked over a box of photos in the closet this afternoon. Spilling out of it were these two photos of Wife Lila’s brother, John F. Perry. In the first photo, he’s heading off to Boy Scout camp.
Headed for Vietnam
Only a few years later, in 1970, still looking young, he was in his Navy uniform getting ready to ship out for Vietnam.
A family tradition of service
This photo was taken almost exactly 42 years later at a going-away party for his son, Wyatt, who was headed to Marine boot camp.
Brother-in-law John Perry was down to sharpen scissors and knives at a quilt show ramrodded by Friend Jan. We kept him busy installing vinyl siding on the house and doing other odd jobs that we save up through the year.
On a 2002 trip, Son Drew made such an impression on his fishing boat captain that the man sent him a copy of The Old Man and the Sea.
He had hooked a dolphin that was at least 60-80 pounds, one of the largest the captain had seen that year. He fought the fish from 6 p.m. until well after 8:30 when it made a run under the boat and was able to cut the line on the motors.
Captain Neal Rawls of The Riggins Too wrote, “Though the fish got away, I hope when you think back on that fight you see it as the success I do… I’ll always remember how your family all fought that fish together. You held the rod and fought the fish while your father pointed out the direction it was running and your mother held the spotlight….
“You are a lucky man to have a family that sticks together and without hesitation faces up to challenges together. As time goes on, if you ever feel life has thrown you a curve ball, remember that fish, and that with your parents’ help, you can tackle anything.”
Looking for a boat
We put out the word that we were looking for somebody who wanted to take a boat out. Son Matt hooked up with one of Son Adam’s buddies we always dubbed “My Friend Jon” because that’s the way Adam always referred to him. Jon Pauley’s brother-in-law Matt Douglass (I THINK there is a double S at the end) was available to head out Friday morning.
“Morning” to a fisherperson means middle of the night to me, so I was content to let Wife Lila take him down to Boynton for his adventure. The alarms went off at 5:15. John and Matt were at the boat at 6:10, and out the Boynton Inlet by 7ish.
Started getting hits within 10 minutes
They caught the first fish within about 10 minutes of clearing the breakers, John said, “and for the next three hours we hammered them hard.” They were so busy hauling in fish (and letting a few of the Big Ones get away) that they barely had time to take a tiny nibble at the sandwiches and my Cajun trail mix road food they took with them.
New Jersey in three days
We expected John to call for pickup by 11ish, but that deadline came and went. Then noon, then 1 o’clock.
I warned John’s Wife Dee that the lack or arrival could be caused by several things.
They were catching so many fish they didn’t want to stop.
They weren’t catching any fish and didn’t want to admit it.
Their engines had failed and they were on a Gulf Stream expressway to New Jersey, where they should wash up in about three days. “If they didn’t catch anything, there’s a good chance only one of them will make it to New Jersey: cannibalism usually starts off the coast of North Carolina,” I posited.
A good day for John and Matt
The answer was behind Door Number One. They hauled them in until “it was like someone threw a switch and they quit biting.”
The duo scored seven dolphin (not the Flipper variety) and 3 wahoo. At least that many got away, John said.
The men cleaned their catch and the boat, then brought home the fish filets in coolers. Neighbor Jacqie fired up the grill and worked food magic. It was a good day for all but the fish.
Need anything sharpened?
John and his sharpening equipment will be down here in West Palm Beach until March 19 if you need anything touched up. If you’re in Missouri, he’ll be back in your neck of the woods after that.
It gives me great pleasure to say that the high school boy who went away is now a Marine. After a too-short visit, he’s headed to Camp Pendleton. From left to right, Dad John Perry, Sister Laurie Everett, Wyatt and Mom Dee Perry.
I went over to John and Dee Perry’s house Saturday afternoon for a going-away party for their son, Wyatt. He’s leaving town Sunday morning to be shaped into a Marine. It’s been a dream of his for several years. John is Wife Lila’s brother.
Today was a sort of bookend day. December 29, 1993, I was itching to head back to West Palm Beach from Cape. It’s a long drive, particularly over a holiday, and I needed to get back to work. Dee, unfortunately for my schedule, was in labor with who was going to become Wyatt. Lila kept saying, “Let’s wait a little longer, let’s wait a little longer.” We stuck around long enough to welcome him into the world.
I was here to see him off to start a new life.
A family tradition of service
Left to right: Laurie Perry Everett, Drew Perry, Wyatt Perry, John F. Perry, Rocky Everett.
John Perry was Navy and served in Vietnam. Drew just finished up his enlistment in the Marines.
Laurie Perry Everett, joined the Army, where the diminutive blonde became a Military Police officer. She was stationed in Kitzingen, Germany, but she either visited or was deployed in France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania, Israel, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece and Switzerland, among others.
One of her jobs was processing new troops, explaining the local customs and making them aware of what they needed to know. One soldier, Rocky Everett, commented to his buddy, “I’m going to date that girl one day.”
Rocky and Laurie were married in Cape on a cold October night in 2003. They have one son, Fletcher, AKA Flea. She’s the owner of the highly-regarded Annie Laurie’s Antiques on Broadway. (Follow the link to see her as an MP.)
Marines rebuilt Drew
I saw someone at the party who looked familiar, so I went over and said, “I’m Ken.” The good-lucking guy who took my hand said, “I know. I’m Drew.”
You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather. Gone was the skinny, goofy kid I saw head off to the Marines a few years back. In his place was a solid, self-assured, mature man who seems to have his head screwed on straight.
Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery. Thanks to the extended Perry family for its service. You’ve done more than your share.