The small creek behind our house has been pretty dry since we moved in. That changed with recent rain that caused over five inches of water to fall in less than a day. It caused flash floods in some locations, but we didn’t see any of that. I rather enjoy being able to look out a window to view our small stream. While far too small to hold anything but a toy boat, the water got me reminiscing about the best summer of my childhood.
My mother usually let me visit at my cousin’s house for a few days each summer. That summer, however, special circumstances allowed me to spend a month with them. My aunt and uncle owned a small motorboat and my aunt let my cousin and I take it out on our own. Weather permitting, we would pack a lunch and make the two mile walk to the lake. My mother would have put a quick stop to the visit, if she had realized what her sister was allowing two twelve-year olds to do, so I was careful to skip any incriminating details. I wanted those long glorious days on the water to last for a lifetime.
Over the years, I experienced other crafts that ranged from a small wooden row boat to a yacht that was large enough to hold a ballroom. I never actually sailed on the yacht, but I did get a tour from the owner’s son, while working for a family who had a small houseboat at the same marina. I did enjoy cruising on the houseboat and fondly remember a trip up Lake Champlain and through the locks onto the St. Lawrence River. After a summer of sleeping on the water, I found it difficult to sleep without the gentle rock of the boat.
My worst boating experience was with a friend’s sister and her husband. This couple had itemized all the costs associated with owning their boat. Nothing from dinghy chocks to a bottle of sunscreen went unlisted. Then they used this to calculate how many days per summer they needed to spend on the water in order to justify the expense. Seriously! The beauty of an August afternoon on the water was mostly ignored, as they reviewed the entire list with their trapped visitors. I hope they got their money’s worth, but I never returned to find out.
Nowadays, I can’t remember the last time that I was on the water. I suspect it was on a ferry, but I’m not really sure. The memories of my youthful summer on the lake, however, remain strong. I close my eyes and smell the pines that lined the trail to the water. I feel the sun on my back and the wind and water on my face. Cares melt away. Those days really have lasted a lifetime.