The End of an Era

Provincetown has lost a great citizen

I just learned of the death of “Flyer” Santos, boat-builder, mentor to the young, and all-around decent human being. He passed on at age one hundred. I first met Flyer nearly thirty years ago when he would walk past my home to visit his mother who lived next door to me. From twenty feet he would announce the degree to which my second floor deck had settled since its construction and pronounce it shoddy work. He was spot on. Hurricane Bob blew it right off the side of the apartment.

Flyer did so many things to support Provincetown. He built the half-scale model of the Rose Dorothea, which is housed in the P’Town library. Scores of folks from this area learned to sail because of his work with the West End Racing Club. It’s no exaggeration to say that Flyer was a large part of the history of Provincetown for the last century. I loved to listen to his stories of how Town Hall was built in mere months with a small crew and a block and tackle, and hear him sputter that our recent renovations took years and cost millions. We’d talk sailboats and where they worked and where they didn’t do so well. There were many moments for which I am so grateful.

I’d like to think there’s a bit of Flyer in The HomePort Journals. There’s no question his consummate seamanship and love of the ocean worked its way into the character of Captain Staunton.

And so Provincetown reaches another chapter. We’ll remember him at town meeting tomorrow night and for years to come. For the moment, I think of him in the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

Sunset and evening star,
And on clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Safe travels, Flyer. Calm seas and a prosperous voyage.

A. C. Burch
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