He had the typical reputation for a waterman during his day. He worked hard and he played hard. Hard Crab was his nick name. He was a man most didn't want to mess with and you really didn't want to mess with his friends. But I never knew him then. I never knew the man that had that kind of reputation. My husband thought his dad would scare me when I met him but he never did. Maybe it was because I admired the way he lived his life so unapologetically.
Bill always greeted me like my name was the lyric to a song he was playing in his head. Bill always made me smile. He also always made me feel special even though we never had long conversations or did many things together. Maybe it was just the way he said my name.
At the end of Bill's life he became homebound due to his failing health. I think one of the last long trips outside of his home he made was with my husband and I and our two sons. We took him to the new Orioles stadium after it was built. He was an avid baseball fan. Baseball had always been a huge part of his life when he wasn't working the water.
After Bill's death, his family celebrated his life out on the Chesapeake Bay as he had requested. Two boats held the family as they traveled to the place on the bay that Bill threw his pots over. With the motors off, words were spoken, prayers were said and roses were strewn into the water. It just so happened that one of the boat captains had the presence of mind to record the longitude and latitude of where the boats had drifted during the ceremony. I don't remember the exact coordinates that he recorded but this I do remember...the number 913 was part of one of the coordinates; the same number given to Bill with his crabbing license to mark his crab pot buoys. Bill was home once again.
My most recent illustration is still in progress but it is in honor of Bill. Thanks Bill, for being exactly who you were. My son's are all the better for it.
Completed 7/25/16 in Memory of William A. Tettimer, October 25, 1922 - July 12, 2000