It’s been a while since my last addition to this beloved blog, going back to August of this year. Hopefully you’ve had your share of fun in the sun, barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers over this past summer. On Labor Day Weekend, since I was leaving my summer job at the Unisex Gynecological and Proctological Clinic to resume teaching for the new school year, my boss, Dr. Ben Dover, invited Millie—one of the girls from the office—and me up to his vacation house at Bluestone Lake for an end-of-summer shindig. It was his annual way of thanking me for my faithful service, having worked for him during every summer since I started college, graduated, and began my job at the elementary school.
We left on Friday afternoon and had a glorious trip up to the mountains. Early on Saturday morning, Dr. Ben had to leave on a medical emergency. To save some time and to give us something to do in the meantime, the doctor asked us to take the tarp off the boat; for me to back the hitched Bronco and trailer away from alongside the house, and run it down to the access ramp ahead of the lake, knowing I was raised on a farm and could handle maneuvering the load. He would launch the Bayliner when he returned. It brought me back to the old days when I would park the tractor and hay wagon in the barn.
Hours had passed when Dr. Ben called, apologizing and saying he wouldn’t be coming back until late that night, telling us to make ourselves at home. “Great,” I said to Millie. “So much for taking a spin. Let’s go down and bring the boat back.”
When we got there, Bluestone Lake was brimming with cute boaters. “Hey, why don’t we launch it ourselves?” Millie suggested.
“What, are you nuts? I don’t know a thing about driving a boat, let alone launching it.”
“Don’t worry,” she said. “My ex-boyfriend was a sailor.” OK, that made all the difference in the world.
Against my better judgement, we put the boat in the water and started it up, taking off exceedingly slowly and chugging along at a turtle’s pace. We got nowhere fast, no matter how hard Millie tried. The boat didn’t perform well at all, very languid even at full throttle. After about an hour of attempting to make it cruise, we putted over to a nearby marina, thinking maybe they could tell us what was wrong.
A thorough topside check revealed everything was in perfect working order. The service manager said the engine was fine. The out-drive went up and down. The prop was the correct size and pitch. One of the mechanics jumped in the water to check underneath.
“What’s so funny?” I inquired after the diver came up, choking on water from laughing so hard. “Did a catfish swim up into your bathing suit?”
The man stumbled over to his fellow mariners and they all started howling. Three of them jumped into a large fishing boat afterward and rode beside us.
“Where did you girls come into the lake from?” the driver said.
“From Powder Inlet,” I replied. He hooked up a tow rope and said they were bringing us back.
“What for?” Millie said with an impatient tone. “Can’t you fix the problem?”
“Nothing is wrong with the boat,” the mechanic said while looking at each of his cohorts. Once again their belly laughs prevailed. “I suggest that you ladies take some boating classes.”
“I’ll have you know that my ex-boyfriend was a sailor!” Millie exclaimed with her matter-of-fact way of speaking. “He taught me all there is to know about boating.”
“Well he should have taught you how to unstrap a boat trailer from beneath a vessel before launching it.” The men wailed, all hee-hawing hysterically for a third time in less than ten minutes, merrily towing us back to Dr. Ben Dover’s boat ramp, placing the boat and the trailer back onto the incline, reattached to the Bronco. Thank goodness our boss hadn’t arrived home yet. We would have never heard the end of it.
After paying the bill with my credit card, I invited the marina employees to our cookout, later that evening; but they never showed up. I wonder why? Millie should have been the one to pay for the tow, being it was her idea to launch the boat to begin with. I told her so. She offered to split the charge and give me the money on the following Friday after she got paid. That was mighty big of her.
Dr. Ben put the boat in the water on Sunday, taking us onto the lake; and we all had a wonderful outing. I couldn’t believe how fast that boat is, especially without the trailer attached underneath it. Our boss kept asking why all the watercrafts that passed by had people pointing at us, laughing sidesplittingly, whistling and ballyhooing.
“I don’t know,” I said. “They must be all jealous about your having two stunning bathing beauties, sitting beside you in your ultra-fast speedboat, having a grandiose time.” We chortled exuberantly and enjoyed the rest of the day thoroughly, partying together throughout that night, and boating again on the next day, returning home on Labor Day Monday night, worn out and tired, feeling melancholy about the season’s end and my leaving the clinic until next summer.
Now back in class, I feel already like I had never left the school’s hallowed halls. The kids are ornery as ever. Mrs. Quackenbush, the school librarian, is as sour-pussed as always; and the spectacular fall’s splendor has begun to appear lavishly. Nature is painting the already beautiful landscape in and around Beckley, WV, with golden hues, bright reds and yellow shades of brilliant colors; and hints of orange contrasts are becoming copiously evident.
Autumn is my favorite time of year: time to pull out all the woolen sweaters, hoodies and sweatshirts, long knickers and warm outfits; for ’tis the season for chopping the newly cured firewood, stacked up from last spring; and for firing up the wood stove in preparation for a cold winter. I hope you share my enthusiasm for the upcoming, scintillating weather. Until the next time…
The preceding was an excerpt from Comedy Corner.