Girlwonder leaned back in the bow of our boat on the blessed Independence Day holiday, her legs stretched out in front of her as she soaked up the sun.
Smiling, she said that one of her biggest fears would be marrying into a family that runs marathons on holidays.
I understand her concern. We may not be one of those families that celebrates holidays with 5K runs, but we are pretty good at hanging out in a boat together. Usually.
There is a saying “I’m sorry for what I said when I was docking the boat.” We try very hard not to have to use it.
Mr. Wonderful is a trailer guy. He can back a boat trailer down a launch ramp like he’s threading a needle. He backs us down, I back the boat off the trailer and tool around the lake while he parks and meets us at the dock. The children are usually with me on the boat. We bob until we see Mr. Wonderful stroll back down the beach. Only then do we approach the dock to retrieve our Captain.
Things tend to go well. Save the time we forgot to unstrap the boat from the trailer at launch. Or the time the keys were locked in the truck on the boat ramp. Or the time I may have reversed the boat from the dock at the exact moment Mr. Wonderful stepped off the dock. He’s fine. He landed neatly in the water.
Suffice to say we are like a well-oiled machine if said machine occasionally requires a flotation device.
Heed the warning
On this day we had launched without incident and were happily idling in the no wake zone, waiting to come around to the dock.
Suddenly GirlWonder warned me, somewhat shrilly, “Buoy!” to warn me of a buoy I had already noted bobbing in the water nearby. I nodded in acknowledgment (because that seems like something a cool captain would do).
Seconds later, BoyWonder also warned me of the exact same buoy in the tone I feel best reserved for, say, spotting a shark.
“Buoy, you’re gonna hit the buoy!”
(For the record, I was nowhere near hitting that buoy).
Frankly, I felt attacked. Admittedly I became a little snappish. “I am not blind!”
This left both children grumbling that they had their doubts.
We enjoyed the rest of the day very much. There is something about being in a boat on the water that just heals my soul. After a day of fun that passed all too quickly, it was time to head to shore.
We dropped Mr. Wonderful off at the dock and I backed the boat, deftly I felt, back into the lake.
Admittedly, I get a little cocky from time to time. It is common to see people launch with passengers who cannot drive their boat. This leads to boats with passengers waiting at the dock while the captain drives away, parks the trailer, jogs back to the dock to jump on the boat, and so on. I feel for those people. It must be awful to have to sit there just waiting for someone to come along who can drive your boat.
Not I. Sunglasses on, eyes on the horizon, hand on the wheel as we glided along the water, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. My sense of accomplishment lasted right up until I came within a millimeter of scraping a buoy.
I missed it (but barely) and immediately snapped at both kids, “Didn’t you see that?”
To this, they both, in perfect chorus, smiled smugly and said, “We assumed YOU did too. You aren’t BLIND, after all.”
I deserved that.
Note to self, do not snap at First Mates or Navigators.
I suspect I will be reliving the parable of the Battle of the Buoys for years to come. What happens at the lake, stays at the lake — and in our memories forever.
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