FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy said he has often talked with his brother, Luke, who shared the driving here this week from their home in Alabama, about how his own boys -- Jake II, Jud, and Wyatt -- have things he and Luke never dreamed of having growing up.
Like a duckboat, for example, in the backyard -- backyard, in this case, being a 5,000-acre ranch that is something of a southern-fried paradise. A miniature Fenway is being built. There's a swimming pool and a bowling alley. A resort-style playground. A facade of a Wild West town. Lots of room to hunt and fish. A private plane at the family's disposal, because they're so far out of the way. Ponds and streams and yes, the duckboat, the souvenir from last fall's World Series. And a remote-control, mini drone equipped with a video camera that provides aerial views of the whole shebang, which Peavy proudly shows on his cellphone.
"My mom and dad worked six days a week," Peavy said. "My mom delivered mail, my dad had his cabinet business."
Salt of the earth folk, who he trusts will help him and his wife, Katie, to keep their kids grounded, and appreciate the fairytale aspects of their existence. Will they ever be as driven as he was? "I ask myself that every day of my life," he said. In the end, he thinks, it will come down to character, and the strength of the family values that helped make him the man he is.
And the hope, he said, is that in time his ranch, Southern Falls, will bring smiles to the faces not only of his kids, but the many kids he expects to host one day on camping expeditions. And he had the idea, he said, almost from the time he was traded to Boston last July, to bring home a duckboat as a future attraction.
"The paint scheme's going to have the world champions logo that we have, a picture of the trophy, the 'Boston Strong' logo will be on it," he said. "There will be some photos, actually, of me and my family, even Jon Lester and his family, on the boat the day of the parade on there.
"It's a pretty detailed paint scheme, and that's why we had such a problem with it. At the end of the day, we're going to do some stuff on the ranch at Southern Falls when I retire, some different summer camps. This is going to be a neat piece to have down there, to take tours in. It's able to go in the water obviously. We have a plan and a design for the duckboat, but first things first, we've got to get it looking the way we want it to look."
Peavy fancies himself a history buff, and it excites him to know that the duckboats -- or DUKWs as they were officially known -- were used to ferry men and personnel in World War II, in Guadalcanal, Sicily, Normandy and other historic sites. He's not certain where this one was deployed, he said, but he intends to find out.
"This thing is so stinking cool," he said. "The history behind this thing; this thing served in World War II, so it's got some great history in this country. And the history of me and my family, who rode it. So to have it where it is -- and I think one day you guys might get a chance to see what we're doing down in Southern Falls, and you'll see the duckboat just fits in perfectly."
For now, Peavy said the duckboat is grounded. They spray-painted over the old trademarks, but more work needs to be done.
"It has to go to Texas to get the paint scheme we want on it, but it's going to be a fine piece of art, a piece of memorabilia when it does get finished," he said. "Jonny Gomes already started the paint process when he came to visit, kind of a freestyle paint job."