Friday, June 19, 2009

The Dot's got your goat

A dead goat washed up on the shore of Savin Hill Beach and nobody noticed except a few beach combers and dog walkers. Savin Hill Beach, which isn't much more than a sandy boat launch off to the side of the northbound lanes of Morrissey Boulevard, doesn't attract a lot sunbathers or tourist traffic. Manicured and well maintained Malibu Beach on the opposite side of Morrissey's breakdown lanes, is another matter altogether.

Malibu Beach is connected to Dorchester Bay, and Savin Hill Beach, by a narrow inlet that lets yachts into the Dorchester Yacht Club through a drawbridge that is the bane of commuters. The bridge opens infrequently, but when it does, traffic backs up to Andrew Square to the north and Adams Street Village to the south while sporting types navigate their vessels through the narrow channel. The bridge is an arched one and only the area under the middle span has been dredged deeply enough to accommodate the draught of seagoing vessels. The spaces under the other, adjacent arches have silted in and at low tide you can walk from Malibu Beach to Savin Hill Beach without getting your feet wet if you ignore the signs telling you not to attempt it.

The dead goat, which had a brown and white spotted coat, horns about three inches long, and a lolling tongue swollen by being submerged in seawater for a long time, had landed on Savin Hill Beach close to the bridge. When the tide came in, it rushed under the bridge that connects one side of Morrisey Boulevard to the other and it carried the corpse along with it. A dead goat floated into Malibu Bay and eventually made its way to the opposite shore.

There is a ball field, a boardwalk and a playground at Malibu Beach. To reach there from points inland, you take Playstead Street. The beach and its surrounding parkland is a popular place for families to gather. Those families, naturally, contain children of various ages.

I was sitting on a bench along the boardwalk next to the bubbler that hits everyone who tries to drink from it in the crotch when I heard a tyke yell out, "A goat is swimming!" I looked up and it didn't appear that the goat was even trying to master a dog paddle. These were lackadasiacal strokes. This was a dead goat's float. A group of teenagers gathered on shore and started chanting, "Dead goat...dead goat..." and they pelted it with pebbles and dead periwinkles. It was a gloomy day to begin with but this wasn't the cheerless scene I expected when I decided to relax at Malibu Beach for the afternoon.

A man walking his schnauzer passed me and looked in the water's direction. "Yeah," he said to no one in particular, "That's the dead goat that was on the other side of Morrissey this morning." How long had this goat been drifting along the tides? Where did it come from? It's not every day a dead goat lands in Dorchester, Mass.

Police cars and firetrucks arrived, sirens blaring to clear the way to reach this emergency, and the body was bagged and tagged and hauled off to whatever animal mortuary Boston maintains for situations such as these. Once the commotion had died down, a little girl said, "That goat didn't look very happy. I wonder what his name was."

A teenager within earshot offered, "His name was Billy." I'm not so sure the goat was a he. She may have been named Nanny. I guess no one will know until the coroner makes a positive ID.


Anali said...

That's horrible! But some very interesting comments and reactions. That goat did not look happy indeed!

Whalehead King said...

These things happen. Living goats tend to have a bit of a smile, but you're right: after an unspecified time soaking in seawater they loose their naturally endearing expression.

Kevin said...

It most likely came from Thompson's Island.
Savin Hill Beach is not where the boat ramp is, it is near the ballfield and playground, including the concrete boardwalk. Malibu is off Morrissy and connect to Savin Hill Beach right at the "elbow" , near the houses.
At both, The Dorchester Beach Festival will be held 8/8 , it was awsome last year

Whalehead King said...

Thanks for the clarification, Kevin. Any idea what the boat launch area is called? I can't believe something has gone unnamed for this long.

Kevin said...

I do not think it has a name. It is essentially Morrissey Blvd.
The beaches are on the inside.
There is also a small beach at the south end of HarborPoint; this too does not have a name.
A Map here shows all that is named by DCR.

BTW, I love your blog

Whalehead King said...

Hmmmmmm...I don't mean to be funny about this, but the records speak for thenselves. No policeman or politician's scion is worth having this stretch of beach named after them? I pass dead end streets with semi-official, city-endorsed placards and numerous, off-the-beaten-track intersections called 'squares' in honor of veterans all the time. Why doesn't this stretch of sand deserve a commemoration?

Could this be "The Beach of the Unknown Dorchesterite?" If I had my druthers, I would call it "Dottoman Beach." And from now on, I think I will.

Thanks for doing the due dillegence, Kevin. It didn't have a name until this evening. Dottoman Beach it is!

raf said...

Hi WhK - doesn't sound as though the little tykes were traumatized, that's good!
what we call the primitive boat launch area near the Commercial Point National Grid gas tank [and soon to include a solar farm] property is complicated because of a continuous process of marshland filling on the Dorchester waterfront to create a railroad right-of-way, yacht clubs, industrial complexes, etc. that ended up in the 1920s/1930s with the Old Colony Parkway causeway that cut across the Dorchester shoreline creating a man-made tidal lagoon, on a smaller scale but similar to the Pleasure Bay and Sugar Bowl in Southie. Speaking of which we need a walking circuit around the Malibu Beach/Savin Hill Beach basin...
see Nancy Seasholes book Gaining Ground for some fascinating maps and such.

Whalehead King said...

Thanks, Raf. My neighbor, who's lived here his whole life tells me about how people went duck hunting in the marshland where the Globe is now. Boston's contours have been changing since Day One it seems and this part of town is no different.


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