Archive for November, 2012


My Favorite Things: Celebrating the holidays with Ramsey Brother’s and the Metroparks.

Tis the season!  UGH!



Well last March the day before heading to Mt. Dora/ Tavares, Florida for the boats show, Scott Ramsey of Ramsey Brothers Restorations and myself met to propose and exhibit to be displayed at the Manor House on the property of Wildwood Metropark in Toledo, Ohio.  At first the people responsible were hesitant or shocked we wanted to bring a boat inside this lovely home and display it.  I don’t think they initially grasp how boating and Christmas were tied together.  Well…they’re not!

However, in Toledo, Ohio and all across the Great Lakes, I suspect many like the Ramsey’s and me begin to get boating withdrawal in mid winter.  What better way to chase the blues away than with boat stuff.

We presented the managers of the display with a final exhibit that clinched the deal by way of my recently acquired and restored 1940-ish Thompson 8 foot Cedar Strip and canvas Dinghy.  So far no one can resist her…the dinghy that is.  Everyone smiles when they see it.

This little boat was bought and restored in about two months. It brings smile where ever she is seen. Yes! I do use it for an occasional cruise. More on that in a later blog post. Check back soon!

So upon seeing my little dinghy(Uhem!), the ladies from the Metroparks came around to our way of thinking!  They were in love with the boat and our concept…or at least seemed tolerant of the ideal.

Advance ahead eight months and all I’d heard from Ramsey’s about this project we were entering into jointly was “Hey!  Is the dinghy still available for Christmas?”  The Ramsey’s are amazing guys, but worrying about details on this sort of thing doesn’t happen until the last minute.  I on the other hand began sweating blood the Friday after Thanksgiving and we were to set up that Sunday.  I hadn’t heard much from the the Ramsey Camp!

My wife and I decided we better get cracking, so Sunday evening we hauled the dinghy and other maritime paraphernalia up to the Manor house.  We got the boat situated, and then I looked at the room assigned to us and began to worry if we could fill it.  Our wall was 35 FEET long.  Now we had eight feet of dinghy filling less than 1/3 of the space.  What would fill the rest of the space?

I text-ed Scott Ramsey letting him know we had done our bit…maybe hoping to prod some details out of him as to what they had planned on their end for the display…that hundreds of kids were counting on to get their juices flowing for the holiday.  Scott did little to help soothe my worries by saying “My wife wants me to make dolphins for the dinghy…so I’ll probably start that Monday.”

The display had to be done by Tuesday evening!!!  UGH!


I digress…

Monday I dropped by the Ramsey’s shop in downtown Toledo.  Chris was sitting atop an inverted trash can or something and hunched over a piece of paper lofting in the maritime tradition an outline of a dolphin.  He seemed unconcerned.  The dolphins seemed a bit anemic to me.  Smallish!  BUT at least we were going to have something…ANYTHING…to pull the dingy through faux-water.


WATER!!!  WATER!!  What the hell are we going to use for water inside a mansion!?!?!?


As I left the manor house the night before…listening to my iPod, Duke Ellington came on playing “Blue Cellophane”!  If it worked for the Duke, it should work for a Dinghy!  Off to the craft store for blue cellophane.

As Monday came and went, I was assured the dolphins were under construction, Dave Ramsey was working on a way to mount them for display…and everything would be fine.


Tuesday afternoon, it was announced, that the boys were on the way to deliver the goods.  Indeed…in typical Ramsey Fashion…the good were delivered.  So with the help of their wives Melissa, Ellie, and Sarah…my wife Erin…the exhibit speaks for itself…in photo form below.

The Metroparks provides a tree for our decorations. We were to be in the glass solarium of the Manor House once owned by the family who owned Champion Spark Plugs…manufactured here in Toledo, Ohio

The other tree, and stuff dragged in from various point of the Ramsey compass! These guys come up with stuff from the past like you can’t believe! Old souls in young men.

Using a radio I gave them, a chair and table reminiscent of Edith Bunker and some other whimsical clutter, this display took a turn I did not expect. It felt so warm and wonderful. The kind of place I have always dreamed of sitting and reading a book while smoking a pipe or cigar in my smoking jacket. No television or computer…just tranquility.

My buddy Scott Parish adorns the cover of “The Antique Outboarder” sent to members of the Antique Outboard Motor Club group that is now international in scope and has over 3000 members who collect and cherish these old motors from a bygone era. This Chris Craft model is also a thing of the past.

Yes…that’s right…NINE tiny dolphins pulling an 8 foot Thompson Dinghy. The leader has his red nose…
I swear I could smell paint when the dolphins arrived, but they were done and the antlers…a late addition by Melissa Ramsey…made the whole scene work…with the blue cellophane “water” created by Dave Ramsey! Chris cut the dolphins out and Scott did the paint work.

While I worried the size may be too small… these dolphins were perfect in proportion to the dinghy. Perfect!!

Loaded for a final trip delivering toys of a maritime nature, this little Thompson 8 foot dinghy has her navigation lights beaming. My wife suggested several stuffed sea creatures for overseeing the trip.
Of course my collection of Captain’s hats came in handy!

Just in case the dolphins poop out, the auxiliary power plant is an 1938 Elto Ace 1.8hp outboard motor.

Another shot of a few outboarding relics. Yes, both motors run…and well!

So…as usual, the Ramsey Brothers pull off a photo finish.  This morning I went in early to finish some electrical issues before a fire inspection.  and all is well.

So in closing, may I take time on behalf of myself, my wife Erin, Remington Marco Jones (Our doggie), the Ramsey Brothers and their wives wish you a very Merry Christmas and fine Holiday Season from all of us to all of you!

L to R Scott, Dave, and Chris Ramsey of Ramsey Brothers Restorations of Toledo, Ohio.

And Remy