Memorial Day is a day to pay tribute to those who have served our country. And a day to relax! However, my husband and I had some work to do before we could relax. We still hadn’t cleaned up our old boat for the summer. It had been in the water for two weeks. But we’d been too busy to clean it and do the maintenance. Honestly, I was kind ‘a glad, not to work on it. Because it had been unseasonably cold here in Minnesota. Not the kind of weather you’d want to spend near the water.
And so, that Memorial Day morning, my husband and I decided before we went out on the river, we’d spend a few hours working on the boat. We got up early, had breakfast, packed a lunch, and some cleaning supplies, before heading to the marina. It was a leisurely drive. Looking out the window, at the winding road and the Mississippi river shoreline, I sipped my second cup of coffee. When we pulled into the marina, that was the extent of my relaxation.
The early morning sun was warm even though the breeze was still a bit nippy. I put on my raincoat, rubber gloves, and Crocs, then grabbed the pressure washer hose and began washing the boat. It didn’t take long before I was drenched from the over-spray. It was hard work. But I remember thinking, “Once we’re anchored in one of the scenic bays off the main channel of the river, this hard work would all be worth it.”
When I turned off the pressure washer, I realized the marina was filling up with people and thought, “Aah, looks like we’re done just in time!” I took the lunches from the fridge and sat on the aft deck. It was great chatting with all our boat neighbors as they passed by. It was almost a little hard to believe, there was some normalcy to our lives again. I don’t know why, but we hadn’t spent much time on our boat during isolation last year. Maybe that’s what made the day that much more special.
Well, we decided to invite a few friends that don’t get out on the river too often. When they told us their daughter would be meeting them in a few minutes, we opened the invitation to her as well. Little did I realize the kind of adventure we’d find. It was a shorter trip than we’d imagined.
A mile upriver, the port engine started sputtering. With guests on board, we decided it would be best to turn back. The engine kept running just long enough to get us off the main channel of the mighty Mississippi. But as soon as we were out of the strong river current, it died. Just as I turned the key to restart it, the starboard engine died. Both engines had failed. Our 1976 ignition systems were both being fussy today. Being that my husband understands engines better than I do, he took over the helm station, while I went out to flag another boater for help.
Like many activities, boating brings people together. Have you ever noticed, where there’s a commonality in a group, it brings camaraderie? I have to say, “Thank goodness for the willingness of boaters to help fellow boaters.”
The second boat that came by was willing to tow our poor old boat back to it’s slip. As we drifted along, I couldn’t imagine what our friend’s daughter was thinking she got herself into. There was a nagging going on in the back of my mind, “Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to take passengers along on our maiden voyage this season.” However, that weight of embarrassment, began to fade when I notice the crowd standing on the dock. Even the owner of the marina, was among those waiting to help grab a line and pull us into our slip.
There was never a time when I felt unsafe. And I guess, our passengers didn’t mind our wild adventure. Because they all said they had a great time! So, the embarrassment was only my pride and ego talking. I reminded myself of the old saying, “What others think of you, is really none of your business.” And in this instance, I wasn’t even right about what they were thinking. Because our passengers obviously didn’t think poorly of me or my husband. And from the look of all the people on the dock waiting to help, they weren’t thinking negatively of us either. Our little blunder had shown me just how blessed we are to have so many people that care. When all was said and done, it really had been a wonderful day on the river.
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