Running In Fog

Jan 2, 201412:56 PM

Running In Fog: HeartLand Boating Humor

The Mayor of Port Matilda

I’m sitting on a most unusual dock. It starts off narrow, and gets wider and wider, until, at the water end, it measures about 20 feet in width. The narrow portion is about 10 feet in width. Out here, at the end, rests a cabin. Not a boathouse, not a picnic area, but a cabin.

Inside the cabin resembles the interior of a sailboat. Compact, lots of storage in creative spots, furniture that can do double or even triple duty — a bed becomes a table becomes a desk. And it’s all wood. There are a few big windows, and the curtains on those windows, believe it or not, have purple violets on them.

The sign above the front door says "Town Hall." The person who lives here is the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Port Matilida." I never set eyes on him before today. If I had, I’m sure I would remember. He has on neatly pressed green pants and a white shirt and a khaki vest. His blue baseball hat proclaims him to be "The Mayor."

How did I end up here? A friend of a friend told a third cousin who emailed her husband. I guess they all felt that the mayor was a colorful, interesting guy that I needed to meet. So, here I am.

"Tell me about your duties as the mayor."

"We meet every week, just to have an intelligent conversation about the goings-on around here. Then, after the meeting, we play poker."

"How long is the meeting part of the day?"

"Depends upon the goings-on that need discussing, doesn’t it?"

"How long does the poker part last?"

"The poker game lasts until we run out of two of the three main ingredients that make up a successful poker game." His three stubby fingers suddenly materialized a few inches from my eyeballs. "One: money. Two: food. Three: beverages of the alcoholic type. Without those three things, well, you may as well just play bridge or go fish.

"Then, after the game, they all go out to their boats and go to sleep. That’s why the end of this dock is so wide, so everybody can tie up nice and close to the Port Matilda town hall, which is this place right here." He tapped his hand on the bed/desk/table to prove his point.

OK, I get the poker part. But honestly, I’m a little fuzzy about the whole town of Port Matilda and why it needs a mayor. And, if it’s such a great town, why is it not listed on the map for the state that I’m currently visiting? Is it real? Does it have a zip code?

"Nope and nope. It’s a great place to be, but it doesn’t really exist and has no zip code."

"And so...?"

"What I am about to tell you is a closely guarded secret, got it?"

"Yea, well, I may just tell a bunch of friends about you."

"Well, that’s OK. I’ll just pass a resolution allowing it to be shared, part of the Port Matilda Sunshine Act."

"What’s the secret?" Hooo, boy, a scoop? A treasure map? A long, long eccentric relative? I just loved the suspense of it all.

"The secret is that Port Matilda is named after my dog. This dock was the only place that fool dog was happy. I couldn’t keep her out of the water. As she got older, I had to keep a closer eye on her, so I built the cabin out here. Friends said I built a whole world for that dog, and I was the mayor."

And where is Matilda now? A few minutes after we had that part of the conversation, she walked in the door, wet and dripping all over the floor. As the other poker players (or maybe members of the mayor’s cabinet?) came in, each one carried a treat for Matilda. Official "town business" took just long enough to carry in the snacks and drinks each member brought.

Later on, we checked all of the lines, made all of the boats fast for the night, and I left the town hall. As I brought the boat about and headed out of the cove, I could hear the mayor laugh and shout at the top of his lungs, "Order, order please! It’s Bert’s deal. Let’s ante up!"

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About This Blog

Pam McDanolds has been writing "Running In Fog," a humorous look at our favorite pastime, since 2007. In her family are two kids, a black lab named Captain Nemo, a powerboat and a sailboat. Illustrations by John R. "Jack" Cassady.

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