Minus a lower leg and a wheelchair user since a spinal trauma, Ed Boynton is not disabled, dismayed or discouraged.
The welder and former commercial fisherman with a caustic wit and indomitable spirit has been busy this week at Rose’s shipyard painting his two masted schooner Sugar Babe so the vessel will look the part of a respectable entrant to Gloucester’s Schooner Festival at the end of the month.
Sailor Boynton acquired his Babe in 2006 and sailed her in that year’s festival, but in April 2007, he suffered a catastrophic injury to his spine. He fell backwards about five feet one day, and when he hit, his spine took the brunt of the impact, compressing thorasic vertebrae 8, 9, 10, in the middle of the back.
Compression of the vertebrae prevent the nerves beginning there to function. No longer sending out electric charges to move the muscles in the legs, feet and toes, the injury denies Boynton of the use of his lower body.
Bottom line: Boynton, who lives by himself near downtown, lost the ability to walk, hence the wheelchair. The injury was diagnosed as incomplete, leaving some thread of hope of regeneration, but if that was going to happen, it would have within the first year or so, and it didn’t.
Boynton has accepted the outcome and gathered himself to deal with the hand he was dealt in the middle of the game.