Mayor Myrtle P. Goodyear on Decoy Jamboree Special Decoy Jamboree Supplement to the 'Oysterback Bugeye'


OYSTERBACK, Maryland -- As excitement over the annual Decoy Jamboree Weekend continues to mount, a prominent Eastern Shore judge, decoy Collector and Socialite prepares to judge an entirely different event that annually creates lots of excitement among downtown merchants and waterfowl decoy lovers everywhere who come to Watertown just for this annual excitement.

The Decoy Jamboree Weekend Special Supplement caught up with Judge Findley F. Fish at his palatial and tasteful waterfront gracious home in order to interview him about his part in Decoy Jamboree Weekend this coming month in Watertown. We were very excited about his affilification with this exciting and prestigious event that is held once a year in Watertown. The Honorable Fish has graciously agreed to serve once again on the Jamboree Committee which has many prominent Socialite Eastern Shore decoy collectors on it including him. He has the most prominent collection of all the collectors and is looked up to as a collector's collector of decoy waterfowl birds.

Judge Fish is a metropolitist of the first rank who has been places and eaten in hotels and really knows his waterfowl bird decoys, which he has been collecting as a small boy.

His Honor Judge Fish says he has more than 1,000 prominent decoys carved by famous decoy carvers in his house and he has a whole room full of carved waterfowl birds around his swimming pool numbering more than 5,000 more which is closed in all year around with glass shelves full of birds on the walls and is very unusual.

He very graciously hosted a tour of the house which is palatially decorated in the Martha Stewart style by his wife Caroline who lying down with a headache and couldn't be interviewed for this article because and his collection in the pool room except for the ones in the study and the living room.

Many famous carvers

Judge says that he has many famous carvers like the Ward Brothers who were in the Washington Smithsonian Museum where their decoys cost six figures he says. Other decoys include Ira Hudson, Currier and Ives, Shang Wheeler, Umbrella Watson, Cigar Daisy and many other Chesapeake Bay famous old makers and elsewhere.

His Honor Judge says it is the great ambition of his collection to own a Scratch Wallace as Scratch Wallace decoys are very, very rare and almost no one has them except some Japanese collectors who really prefer decorative bird carving because of their multiculturalism but a Scratch Wallace is so valuable that they will collect that because it is so valuable, he lived around Oysterback in the civil war but he died so he doesn't carve any more decoys. This makes them rare and valuable.

Mr. Fish thinks the carved and painted ducks and geese are very beautiful and says a true collector will do almost anything to own one of the really rare ones like a Scratch Wallace which is very old and rare.

Although we wanted to talk and see all about Mr. Judge's individual collection, he didn't want to take pictures for the media because of the thieves who see them and steal decoys and sell them to other people who aren't so honest as collectors will do almost anything to collect those rare and exotic decoys.

Therefore, he has become quite seclusive about this because he doesn't want common sorry watermen and people breaking in and stealing his birds although he says it's not the trashy people he worries about but the other collectors, some of them quite prominently established socialite Types of people whose names anyone would know at once will do anything to own a fine working waterfowl bird decoy like some of the ones in his collection even though they are quite famous and will even try to pass off a reproduction as the real thing, which he would never think of doing if the other person knew his birds. His judgeship says he loves his decoys so much he will do anything himself to own one, even go and buy them.

Over Coffee and mint Milanos in the decoy duck decorated kitchen the Judgefullness said he will do his best to judge all the working decoys just like he does court criminals with impartiality fTC and fairness except when he knows they did it or are Godless communists.

Hon. Myrtle P. Goodyear is guest columnist this month for Helen Chappell, the amanuensis of Oysterback. Hurry back, Helen.

Pub Date: 9/11/96

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