WORD LISTS

"The Line Tender" by Kate Allen, Chapters 14–24

July 30, 2022
Twelve-year old Lucy Everhart learns to overcome grief by studying sharks during a research project at Cape Cod.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–13, Chapters 14–24, Chapters 25–36
tether
When a child is lost at the bottom of a quarry, every minute counts. Dad had told me this plenty of times before. The primary diver enters the water tethered to a search line as tall as a skyscraper. The line tender holds the line above the surface.
resilient
The divers would hope to find the child within sixty minutes, a time span known as the golden hour. The child’s heart rate slows. His blood stops flowing to his fingers and toes, his hands and feet, his arms and legs, to conserve blood for the heart and brain. Children are particularly resilient when submerged in cold water.
tarmac
There were two giant fans at the front of the church, one by the tabernacle and one next to the statue of Saint Joseph. It was like sitting on a tarmac instead of in a sanctuary.
sanctuary
There were two giant fans at the front of the church, one by the tabernacle and one next to the statue of Saint Joseph. It was like sitting on a tarmac instead of in a sanctuary.
forage
On account of his foot, Dad was pretty much living on the couch. One morning, I ventured downstairs and he had made his way into the kitchen and was sitting at the table, with his foot on a chair. We were on the same schedule: forage, nap, Red Sox, insomnia.
insomnia
On account of his foot, Dad was pretty much living on the couch. One morning, I ventured downstairs and he had made his way into the kitchen and was sitting at the table, with his foot on a chair. We were on the same schedule: forage, nap, Red Sox, insomnia.
blurb
I read the Gloucester Daily Times and the Boston Globe every day. The Globe's articles about the accident were short. I didn’t understand how Fred’s death could be reduced to a blurb. The Gloucester Times provided more details.
meticulous
The light was still on in Fred’s room. It was hard to tell if anything had been touched. Fred was meticulous. All of his books were on the shelves.
minuscule
His penmanship was a sure indicator that he would have had a future at MIT, the minuscule mechanical pencil marks designed to maximize the amount of cryptic data a genius could record on one page.
anecdote
I did not speak the language of biology or understand the characteristics that grouped one shark with another. But I liked the behavioral anecdotes.
precarious
“I couldn’t see anything down there. Not even with a light,” he said. “And there was Fred, in a precarious spot. I should’ve gone at it a different way, but I moved some debris so I could get to him, and a log came down on my foot. And all I could think about was getting him up.”
lanky
A skinny rod of yellow gold. I removed the final ply of tissue to reveal what looked like a crayon dipped in gold with a lanky mermaid swimming the length of the piece. “What is it?” I whispered to nobody.
intervention
I’m pretty sure the snails and whatever else is in your aquarium will die without an intervention, but I don’t really want to become a guardian to your orphans.
afterthought
My mom’s interest in the seals was more of an afterthought. She was a shark expert.
stint
“Who’s Stuffy McInnis?”
He threw his hands in the air. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Lucy! He was part of the hundred-grand infield—Eddie Collins, Frank Baker, Jack Barry. But that was before his stint with the Sox.”
rile
“Okay, okay. Tell me something else you remember,” I said, even though I loved Sox trivia and riling up Mr. Patterson.
He scrunched his lips while he retrieved a thought. “My mother’s rhubarb pie. She made it every June when my sisters and I were young.”
delirious
“You’re pretty chatty today,” I finally said.
“Maybe I’m delirious from the heat. It’s a good thing you checked up on me.” He grinned and gestured across the street to my driveway. “Your father doing okay today?”
dementia
“No, ma’am. I know nothing about Vern—other than the fact that he was my mother’s mentor.”
“He has dementia and talking on the phone has become difficult. When he picks up the receiver, he just stands there, quiet. He might listen to the things you say, but he won’t say anything back.”
arbor
I decided to stop at the mailbox to drop off another postcard for Fred. I walked by window boxes and tiny front yards crowded with bright flowers—tall zinnias, yellow daisy-like blooms, and pink roses had exploded like rashes on fences and arbors. Something about the sea was like steroids to the flowers through town. They grew strong.
bask
On the TV, a shark expert explained the difference between the dorsal fins of the two huge sharks that were possible visitors to the area: great whites and basking sharks.
convex
“The dorsal fin on a basking shark is rounded on top and convex in the back,” she said, making shapes with her hand. “White shark dorsal fins come to a point at the top and are straight on the back edge.”
adrenaline
When the story cut out, I was buzzing with adrenaline. I followed Sookie out to his truck. Mr. Patterson was sitting on his porch across the street. It was already about a million degrees outside.
pungent
I was so hungry that the pungent smell of Doritos made me want to hit someone. And the thing was, Sookie had offered me the chips twice, but I didn’t have anything to drink and I knew I couldn’t swallow them without a lot of liquid nearby.
septic
Mr. Patterson shuffled down the sidewalk to the little visitor’s shack that probably smelled like a septic tank, Sookie pinched a coin and started rubbing a wad of scratch tickets he’d purchased at the gas station, and I stuck my face between the front seats.
delusional
I figured I was delusional in thinking I might make sense of my mother’s last research project by coming to this house. Vernon Devine seemed more frail than I had imagined.
frail
I figured I was delusional in thinking I might make sense of my mother’s last research project by coming to this house. Vernon Devine seemed more frail than I had imagined.
feisty
“I’m going to make a few sandwiches. You are welcome to visit with Vern in the study as long as you’d like,” said Marion. “He does get tired, so don’t be surprised if he nods off on you. And call me if he starts getting feisty.”
deplete
I thought I should run out to the car and grab the research proposal before Vern fell asleep, so I left the men in the study and returned with my backpack. Sookie and Vern were talking about the depleting cod population in the ocean. I waited for a lull.
lull
I thought I should run out to the car and grab the research proposal before Vern fell asleep, so I left the men in the study and returned with my backpack. Sookie and Vern were talking about the depleting cod population in the ocean. I waited for a lull.
moor
I stayed behind in the kitchen and looked out the picture window with the binoculars, spotting a small boat moored close to Vern’s property.

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