Thanksgiving Day Row 2009

Thanksgiving Day Row   2009

By Barbara Belanger


At first, look early in the morning, the skies were overcast and the day appeared to be drizzly but, nonetheless, ten enthusiastic souls turned up for the Annual Thanksgiving Day Row last Thursday.  Coxed by Tom Blumetti and Heidi Hacking, the Kanawha and Flying Cloud, with crews of four, set off across New Bedford harbor to begin the traditional row and gobble contest.  In Heidi’s boat one rower sported a turkey head dress while another, wore a Pilgrim cap, thus setting the mood for what was to come.  First on the agenda, was a row over to the large ship docked at State Pier where greetings were exchanged with a crew member and where Toms’ crew won the “secret race”. Secret because only Tom’s crew knew they were racing.  Next, the crews “sailed over to the pseudo-Mayflower”, a large schooner moored mid harbor and exchanged pleasantries there with their crew which happened to be on deck having coffee. (Not that anyone could’ve slept in with the craziness that at was going on as the boats approached)


Coming together, once again, the protocol was established for the feature event of the day, the gobble contest.   Rumor had it that one of  Tom’s crew had been practicing in her car  all month, eliciting strange looks from other drivers, to be sure,  and , seeing that Deb Gabriel  was not able to make the row this year, the contest was wide open to crown a new champion. The boats separated, each to find its individual gobbler to enter in the “Gobble off” for the title.As it turned out MJ  McManus, was no match for the duo of Heidi and Jackie Duval, who not only gobbled but  who added a full array of turkey motions as well, and thus, were declared co-champions. It will be tough for Deb to come back after that display but, with many years of gobbling  under her belt, she’ll sure to  be back gobbling strong next year most likely with a few new tricks  under her wing....er…sleeve.


At the conclusion of a sprint race between the boats where Heidi declared her boat the winner since they stopped first, the boats continued to cruise around the harbor, with the crew of Tom’s boat singing and swaying as they rowed along. Just as the row was coming to an end, along came  Steve Gillum in his ocean shell, alas, too late to gobble, and after exchanging Happy Thanksgivings the boats returned to Kelly’s where another crew sporting lobster headgear was preparing to set off. All in all, the row was a great way to begin the festivities awaiting the crews as they returned home to celebrate with friends and family.