|Like father like son, Hello Goodbye to winter storm Vulcan, Flt 370, and Vince Wilfork
How many of you out there know that I have been arrested before? I bet not many. Though I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Well yeah, he probably beat somebody up for dropping in on him!". That's funny, but no, I was never arrested for doing that. No my friends, I was arrested for...wait for it... here it comes...SURFING!
That's right. I was arrested for surfing. Put in handcuffs on the beach, and hauled off to jail. It's true. I'm not proud of it, and I'm certainly not bragging about it. But this actually happened to me.
Though I suppose I should back up a little here, and let you know the whole story. It was May of 1971. I had been a civilian since January of 1971. Prior to that, I was in the United States Marine Corps. I did a tour in Vietnam in the infantry as a grunt from 1969 to 1970 and was just starting to get my shit together again, as both a civilian, and a surfer. Some of you might recall that I started surfing in 1964.
Prior to my leaving for Vietnam, I had surfed at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts many times over the years. And ever since I got back, I had been surfing everywhere and anywhere I could find waves. I had not been to Good Harbor since my return. Well, long story short-there was a decent swell running and Good Harbor looked like the spot to surf that day.
My buddy Larry Crateau and I drove out to GH and proceeded to paddle out at the rivermouth. The surf was fun. Waist to chest high and super clean. We joined another friend Jay Gustaferro
who lived there in Gloucester. So there we were, all three of us in the joyous process of sharing some fun waves, when we noticed a police cruiser on the side of the road.
It appeared that a police officer was standing on the side of the road near the beach and was waving at us. None of us could tell what he wanted, so Jay (being the true local) paddled in to find out what was going on.
Now for all intents and purposes, Jay was not exactly a conservative looking type. He had very long hair and was the typical (for these times) hippie/surfer. Jay was being very animated on the beach waving his arms while pointing at us and the surf. Larry and I looked at each other and figured things can't be good.
He finally paddled back out and told us the news.
"He says we can't surf here. That surfing is only allowed before 9AM and after 5PM!" I looked at him in disbelief and then at the Police officer on the beach. "What? When did that happen?" I asked. "last summer. " Jay answered. "You have got to be kidding me?" I yelled.
I surfed here before I went to Nam in the summer! And there were no problems!" Jay was sitting there on his board shaking his head.
"Well this sucks. I mean, it's still Spring. No one is in the water. It's still too cold!"
I yelled. "I know " Jay said. I looked at Larry and asked him what he wanted to to do. "I'll do whatever you want to do." He said. "Well, I want to surf. I didn't just go off and fight in that war to come home to this bullshit! I'm surfing!"
And so began the moment of truth for the surfers in Gloucester vs the city ordinance. We proceeded to surf for the next hour. Sharing waves and helping each other retrieve our boards. This was during the days of no leashes. So when one of us lost our board, the others would get to it before the police could grab it.
And by that time, there were many policemen on the beach ss well as a growing crowd.
There were at least three cruisers and a half a dozen police officers. The crowd was getting pretty vocal as well. It was one of those moments in life, where there was no turning back. We had made our stand, and dammit, we were going to go down fighting, I mean surfing.
We all knew that when this was over, we would be getting ourselves
in trouble. There was no getting out of this mess. It was our Alamo.
At one point we heard a low rumbling noise
behind us, and to our surprise and horror, they had launched a Marine patrol boat and were trying to get to us via an amphibious assault. They got pretty close, but could not get right to us, because we were all sitting next to the rocks and the breaking surf. They were getting pretty damn frustrated at our arrogance, and refusal to obey their surf laws.
Finally after an hour of surfing, we surrendered.
We were all handcuffed and hauled off to jail. In our wetsuits.
While in my jail cell, I carved my name on the wall with my metal zipper from my wetsuit, where the other criminals had carved their names. My crime simply read: "Ralph Fatello- Arrested for Surfing
on May 10th, 1971!" I wondered later how many real criminals read that and sneered: "Surfing? That's a crime?" Yes it is. Yes it is.
I went to court the following week and pleaded "NOT GUILTY " by reasons of insanity. In front of a shocked courtroom, I yelled out "I Plead Not Guilty Your Honor,
because this whole thing is INSANE!" Suffice it to say, I was found Guilty and fined $50.
So what does this all have to do with my son?
Well my son was recently involved in a surfing violation right here in New Hampshire. And the irony is, he was basically doing the same things that I did. He was surfing against the law. He was surfing in a manner that was not conducive to the town ordinance. But more specifically, he was being like I was, arrogant and dismissive of the authorities. And the results were the same.
The lesson learned here is this. If a Lifeguard or Police officer tells you NOT to surf, you have to listen to them. Regardless of how absurd it is. And trust me
there were statements in the reports that were beyond absurd. I wish you could read the statements made by certain individuals who said that Max was surfing "sideways" on a wave instead of going straight in! WHAT??? Oh yeah, it's true. Surfing sideways on a wave! It was beyond laughable.
But they are the ones who uphold the laws. The Lifeguards and the police don't make the rules, they just have to enforce them. The smart way to make things better is by changing the rules and ordinances the right way. The smart way. The legal way. By voting them out. There is strength in numbers. That's what elections are for. If you don't vote, you are part of the problem.
Don't be like me or my son... be smart. Learn to surf another day by changing the laws legally. Otherwise, it will be costly in more ways than one.
*All the photos were taken by Michael Sacco a month later when other surfers got arrested for the same reason. To this day, you CAN'T surf in Gloucester between the hours of 9AM and 5PM from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Send lawyers, guns, and money!
Winter Storm Vulcan did not live up to the hype, as far as the surf went. But there were some beautiful images on the seacoast that provided some impressive footage for my movie. At this point, it appears that the Cold Coast will be delayed in it's release at the
end of March. It's looking more like the end of April. But it will be worth it. Trust me. It will be worth it.
"Surfing heals all wounds!"
First it was Wes Welka, then it was Talib...and now.
Vince Wilfork. The Big man gone? Yep. Like my son keeps telling me..."It's a business dad." Sad but true. It's just a business. It's all about the numbers.
We are all going to miss you Vince. Thank you for the
amazing memories. You were something special. No question. You were special. Please don't hurt Tommy if you are on an opposing team. Please go easy on our boy.
Now for Some Of My Weekly Global Observances
The big story of the week is the missing plane out of Malaysia. Flt 307 with 239 people on board just vanished. Gone. A large 777 is missing. And all the experts and conspirators all have an opinion about where it is, and what happened.
There are no real answers to this mystery. I must say that it's intriguing. And I'm hanging on every word when the coverage is on the news.
Another interesting story is the fact that the Great Lakes are 93% frozen over. Talk about flat spells. This is crazy. Those poor surfers out there must be going insane. Remember this the next time you complain that it's flat for a week.
And now for my weekly humiliation of Khalid Sheik Muhummed (KSM) the mastermind behind 9-11. This week KSM is seen enjoying the Saint Patricks day celebration. Though he does look like his miserable self. But that's why
we like the old boy. We love it when he's miserable.
KSM looks like a little lucky leprechaun..
So once again, let's all take a minute, and enjoy the weekly humiliation of the mastermind terrorist who killed 3,000 innocent civilians on September 11th, 2001.
Note to self: Must pick up a case of Green plaid curtains at
Home Depot this week.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lynn Jackson March 16th, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Shane Taylor March 16th, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Carter Walsh March 18, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Phil Munson March 20, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Gale Brunault March 20, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Danielle Moran March 20, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DC Langer March 21, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Johnny Grasso March 22, 2014!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Brian Landergan
March 22, 2014!
HAAPY ST PATRICKS DAY MARCH 17TH 2014!
GETTING ready for RPOTW 10th Year Anniversary 4-15-14!
Our Thoughts and Prayers are with the Cropper family with the passing of father James Cropper. And to the family and friends of Cliff Pratt. Finally our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Paul Fitzgerald who's mother passed away this week.
The Patriarch of the Cropper family, James Cropper passed away on the 5th of March surrounded by his loving family. James is the father of Dave Cropper owner of Cinnamon Rainbows.
There will be calling hours from 5-8PM on Friday March 21st, 2014 at REMICKS Funeral Home in Hampton, NH.
Meanwhile his sons and daughter, and his wife and grandchildren need your love
and support. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
And please continue to send positive thoughts and prayers to our dear friend Debra White and family.
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 9 years. **Think about BUYING a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.
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