photos by John Kerschbaum
A long time ago I was told:
"if properly cared for,
your forcola will outlive your gondola,
and possibly you!"
It was as amusing as it was memorable.
And the statement obviously stuck with me.
I've heard similar claims made about parrots and tortoises,
and while not all forcole live up to the claim, this one does.
John Kerschbaum inherited this solid piece several years ago.
It's believed to be over one hundred years old.
If that's true, then I believe this forcola has outlived the man who commissioned it.
At some point, it made it's way the America,
where it was cared for by gondoliers who recognized it's value.
Over years of use, this forcola has stood the test,
but the constant rowing seems to have widened the morso a bit.
Of course I could be mistaken, the gondolier who ordered it might have had a preference for a wide morso, or used a thicker remo, but my guess is that, when well cared for, the forcola will last, but the morso may get bigger.
Today, as I write this, my grandmother is celebrating her birthday
...her one-hundred-eighth birthday!
Needless to say, I hope to have inherited her longevity.
Our whole family has been watching her,
realizing that whatever she's been doing - works.
At 108, she has a system that's pretty well established - a system that involves careful approaches, and vigilant health maintenance.
In some ways the care of wodden boats, and indeed even a forcola is comparable.
John rows in Minnesota, on the St. Croix River,
on this forcola all season, every year.
He takes good care of it, and doesn't get crazy, and in return, the forcola continues to support each and every stroke.
I haven't had the chance to row on this "big morso" forcola yet,
but when I finally get out to Minnesota, I'm sure it will still be in service.