I was fortunate as a child to grow up in Washington State on the Puget Sound. It was wonderful to be able to look west out our front window and see the beautiful blue-gray inlets and harbors framed by the strong evergreens. The view also included the perfect panorama of the majestic Olympic mountain range. Sunsets were never lovelier than right out my front door.
One of the best things about living on the sound was having a dad that loved boats. We didn’t have a lot of money but my dad often managed to own a used ski boat. He always complained that the boats were nothing but money pits but I knew he loved every minute out on the water.
There are many family legends built from our time on the water in our used, blue ski boats and I wanted to share a few of them with you today.
There were two things my family liked to do on our boat. The first was water ski and the second was fish. One day my dad, my brother, and a few friends took the boat out to fish. On that day my brother convinced my dad that it would be fun to take our dog. He was a small, sandy-colored, mongrel that we just called “Puppy”.
The fishing trip went as they usually did; lots of dog fish and very little of the much hoped for salmon. Near the end of the day, as the boat drifted in the middle of the sound my brother noticed that Puppy was nowhere in sight. My brother became distraught and implored my dad for help.
Now my dad could have told his son that it was a hopeless cause, that there was too much area to cover. He could have reasoned to himself that Puppy was just a mutt that wasn’t worth a whole lot, but he didn’t. He turned the boat around and the search began. As my dad drove the boat back and forth across the sound my brother sat on the bow intently searching for Puppy’s little canine body. They looked for quite a while and I’m sure prayers were said by everyone on board the boat.
My brother’s heart began to sink with the sun as he realized what an impossible task they faced. Just as they were about to give up my brother saw something strange in the distance. It looked like a tiny blond head moving in a steady, straight line toward the shore.
With an exclamation he pointed to the dot and my dad turned the boat around and raced to the spot. Finally they got close enough to see that it was our bedraggled, beloved mutt! They hauled him into the boat and dried him off with a towel and my brother held Puppy in his arms the whole way home.
Here’s another memory on the boat:
Sometimes my family used to take our boat to lakes in the area to get a little fresh water skiing in. One day at the end of water skiing my dad anchored the boat to let us jump off and swim around.
My brother and I gladly dove off the side of the boat and began to paddle around. Before too long we both noticed that my little sister was sitting timidly on the side of the boat. We called out to her trying to persuade her into joining us. She refused, claiming the water was much too cold. We tried to convince her for a few more minutes but eventually we gave up and decided to have fun with out her.
After diving off the boat I looked back and saw my dad come up behind my sister. He grabbed her by the waist and hurled her into the water. My heart leapt with joy as I watched her flailing, reluctant body arc through the air breaking the surface of the water with a great splash.
She came up angry and sputtering and she quickly dog-paddled back to the boat, pulled herself up, and flopped herself down with a pout. Our swimming had come to an end but I didn’t mind. It was worth it to watch my sister fly.
I learned from my dad that it’s good to have patience with someone when their hearts might be breaking and sometimes it’s ok to push the party pooper off the boat.