That first year, the party went from one o’clock in the afternoon to one o’clock the next morning. I got the jug band from Provincetown and some rock groups and they played all afternoon. I went around with a cigar box and collected money for the Falmouth girls track club. I think we raised about $430. We had three cases of warm Schlitz beer and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on day-old bread. Now it’s a big buffet. It’s really Hollywood now.
The field of runners is now 11,000. It started with 98. The fire in the belly is kind of gone—I’m not really involved anymore. But it was a lot of fun doing it. It was like having a baby and watching it grow.
I remember telling Joe Concannon [from the Boston Globe] that someday we’re gonna have 5,000 people or I’m going to do a swan dive off the Bourne Bridge. Now we have 11,000. There’s probably some people that would still love to see me swan dive off the bridge—it screws up the traffic, it’s nuts. But for 90 percent of them, it’s a reunion and it’s a homecoming.
The Falmouth Road Race is built on friendship. I don’t have many material possessions, but I have the best friends in the whole wide world. I have to stop and think about how fortunate I am to have friends like that.
I used to come to the Quarterdeck as a customer. The previous owners, Rob and Rita Pacheco, knew what was happening at the Eliot at the end of that era, and they invited me down. The clientele here at the Quarterdeck—I don’t know if this is the proper way to say this—is a bouillabaisse of humanity. You sit here in the afternoon, and what an assortment of characters. They’re all loveable.
I totally lack logistical or organizational skills. I’ll be the first one to admit I’m the worst bartender you ever saw in your life. I’m spacey. But people put up with it obviously.
I love to walk. I can’t run anymore so I walk with a cane. I had a knee replacement that didn’t really take. And no fault of the surgeon—I just have a lot of mileage on my wheels, and it finally caught up with me. When I was a kid I worshipped Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and Donald O’Connor, and I used to love to dance on tables, jump off, and do splits. And I’m payin’ for it now. It was worth it (laughs).
I go out to California once a year to the desert, to La Quinta. I live like a millionaire for about eight or nine days, but I can’t wait to come back to Falmouth. It’s like a magnet. It’s the people. I’ve said this a few times: I love this town with a passion that would probably shatter the foundation of the Bourne Bridge.