Stinker’s History: Harry Larcombe Part Two

As legend would have it, Harry was playing darts or chess when the shack was washed into Esmeralda Cove.

THE following is Part Two of a three part series on one of Broughton Island’s true characters – Harry Larcombe.

The final instalment will be printed next week.

Part Two – Harry’s Teeth

OVER the years Harry Larcombe became the unofficial ‘Mayor’ of the Island and an increasing number of visitors continued to bring Harry gifts of food, bread, beer, fresh clothes and fishing gear.

On one occasion Harry was presented with a great big, juicy rump steak.

Harry’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.

A steak!

How fantastic it would be to chew on a beautiful steak cooked on the BBQ.

He could just smell it.

There was only one problem – Harry did not have any teeth, he was gummy as a frog and had only chomped on soft food, boiled vegetables, fish, soups and an occasional lobster for many years.

How he would love a steak.

It was the Ward boys, regular island fishermen and mates of Harry, who took it upon themselves to confront the issue.

One of the boys, Lyle Ward, had the solution and on his next visit to the island carried a box up to Harry’s hut.

The box contained 60 sets of false teeth!

Lyle had a friend who worked in the city morgue where a large box of false teeth had been gathered as they were of no further use to their previous owners.

The sets of teeth were taken out onto the island and presented to Harry, who enthusiastically commenced trying them on for size.

After trying 40 or so sets, a dejected Harry, whose gums were starting to blister, had all but lost hope when to his sheer delight a pair fitted perfectly, as if they had been made for him.

The teeth were to open a whole new world of munching and chewing.

The grateful recipient insisted that he sterilise his new dentures.

This seemed to Lyle to be rather strange considering that he had just placed more than half a box full in his mouth.

Harry quickly boiled water in a saucepan and dropped his new teeth in.

Three minutes later, to his absolute horror, he placed the dentures on the table, only to see every tooth fall out of the pink plastic gums.

A feverish effort was made to glue the teeth back into the corresponding hole – to no avail.

Back to the mush.

It was said that one night in the 1975 big blow, when the sea was enormous and threatening to wash every hut into Esmeralda Cove, Harry was playing darts by the light of a hurricane lamp in ‘Mouldy’ Tarrant’s shack.

Just as he was preparing to throw his final dart, the door burst open and a huge wave washed through the hut.

The massive body of water lifted the flimsy construction and washed it and its occupants into the cove.

Another version of the same night tells us that Harry was playing his dog chess and the score was one game all when the big wave arrived.

Some say that Harry was about to checkmate the dog, but another story suggests that the dog was about to checkmate Harry.

Of course there is a possibility that this may simply be another Broughton Island fairy tale.

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