Saturday, September 27, 2008


Rube Allyn wrote his stories
of the Water Wagon,
his home-made Best Bet houseboat,
when I was two years old

but the book was still
there on the shelf when I
reached reading age and dreaming
age, complete with schematics

and the smell of adventure
pressed between the pages.
There were lists of lumber
and fittings and maps to places

with names like Withlacoochee,
Okeechobee, even
Helen Blazes. I've been
to all of them since

and the names still whisper
their romance, remind
me of how I longed
for sky and open water.

My dad bought every one
of Rube's books, the reptile
and fish encyclopedias,
the yarns and histories

that were the Florida
of then and before then.
Paradise has faded;
faded like those pages.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Rube Allyn Jr was a prolific writer and publisher of books about Florida and, especially, its outdoor life back in the 4os through the 60s (his life was cut short in '68 by an auto accident). The publishing company Rube started, Great Outdoors, is still cranking out books about Florida today, with his granddaughter running things. His father, Rube Sr, was a pretty colorful guy too -- someone should write a 'Florida song' about him, assuming that hasn't already been done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather gave me a copy of Rube's Dictionary of Fishes in 1975 and it has been a never-ending source of pleasure ever since. R.I.P. Rube.