Tradition matters. And it was tradition that brought Brad Jolliffe, Jeff Mast, Mike Valentine, and me to the Detroit River dock of the J.W. Westcott Co., on Tuesday afternoon. Tradition and a box of second edition copies of Lake Boats hot off the press.
With a sack of sandwiches from Gonellas and a stack of books, we gathered — just as we had for the release of the first edition of Lake Boats on September 17, 2007 — at the Westcott dock, home of mail boat J.W. Westcott II, the only floating United States Post Office and the only boat with its own zip code. One of the most satisfying aspects of publishing is the opportunity to present the work of talented friends. Lake Boats includes the work of Jolliffe, Mast and Valentine, along with Jim Koglin and Mike Harting. Unfortunately, Koglin, who recently passed away, and Harting (unable to secure a day pass from work) were absent. They were with us in spirit, though, as we honoured the ritual of gathering to celebrate the new title.
A steady procession of ships kept the mail boat busy as we marked the occasion by collectively signing a few special "first day" copies of Lake Boats II and imprinted each with the mail boat's unique postmark and "Mail by the Pail" cancellation stamps. The choice of location was doubly significant. Not only were we returning to where we'd launched the original edition of Lake Boats, the second edition includes an essay recalling the 2007 experience.
Thanks to Brad, Jeff, Mike, and the mail boat crew, September 9, 2014 was one for the book(s).