Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lady Skippers

Molly Kool died at the age of 93:

A native of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, Ms. Kool was known familiarly throughout her life as Captain Molly. She qualified as a captain at age 23, and she spent the next five years in command of the Jean K, her father's 70-foot engine- and sail-driven scow. In 2006, she was officially recognized by the Canadian government as the first woman to hold captain's papers.

Hauling cargo up and down the Bay of Fundy and as far afield as Boston, Ms. Kool faced rain and fog, fire and ice, and the violent tides for which the bay is known. She also earned the disbelief, disdain and, eventually, respect of her rough-hewn male colleagues.

Molly Kool (with that cool name) was the first woman in North America to be licensed as a ship's captain. It takes a lot of character and guts to be the First Woman in anything, and we should celebrate the ones who had those guts and that character. I propose a toast of nectar to celebrate Molly.

And to celebrate Brittany Cantazaro, who

is NY Waterway's first female ferry captain and helped rescue passengers on the US Airways flight that crashed in the Hudson River.

She is also the youngest ever ferry captain in that state (only nineteen years old).

These Firsts are important, because they work as machetes, cutting through the jungle and making a rough path for others to follow. But of course I look forward to the time when we no longer have any need for First Women in some new field.