What is a Waterman? by Jennings Evans From the Summer 1993 issue of the Crisfield & Smith Island Newsletter
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What is a waterman? Well, that's not easy to define But he comes from a special breed He's usually not the wimpish kind. He's dedicated to making a living From a blustery Bay That can be unrelenting On any given day.
Each day becomes a battle For which he must prepare To fight against the summer's heat Or the winter's chilling air.
A waterman has to endure it all The wind, the ice, the rain Nothing comes easy to him Except the aches and pains.
Sometimes a waterman is not understood By his fellow man His ways are rough and rugged He's not satisfied too long on land.
Sometimes he's witty and humorous Sometimes he's an ornery old goat But what seems to make him the happiest Is when he's aboard of his boat.
You might say a waterman lives An unusual way of life He spends more time with his boat Than he does with his wife.
Of course, he will try to make sure His wife isn't completely ignored If there's extra work on the boat to do He'll try to lure the old gal aboard.
Now the watermen's news is usually heard Down at the General Store Where each waterman can communicate Or even take the floor.
Many topics are discussed But the most popular form of gab Almost always boils down To nothing but oysters and crabs. It's the pursuit of oysters or crabs That make the waterman's day He's very hard to live with When he can't get out on the Bay. A waterman must have a special knowledge To keep his boat and rig in shape It's really surprising how much he can fix With a piece of wire or tape.
And then a waterman's disposition Is not completely sour Except, maybe when he has to arise In the wee, early morning hours.
But he can be downright entertaining When he spins a yarn for you And he's certainly not above Throwing you a curve or two.
But it would be a sad old day Should the independent waterman Be forced to leave the Bay.
Big corporations with their smooth operations Would quickly move in with their slick manipulations And then, where do you think the watermen would be Of course, working for "The Big Man" and no longer free.
Yes, these are times of apprehension When a waterman can't clearly see What lies ahead for the Chesapeake Bay Or what his catch will be.
Still he must be determined To have the faith, and hope That with the good Lord's help, he'll make it Along with his trusty old boat.
What is a waterman? He's just a man, who works on the sea Who helps provide the food That God has given to you and me.
May God bless all the watermen As they toil on the Bay each day. And may he always watch over the watermen The colorful watermen of the Chesapeake Bay.