Jul 16, 201409:19 AM
Running In Fog: HeartLand Boating Humor
Peter and Bethany, or rather, Pete and Bet, were nice people. They had a nice car, nice clothes and a nice, tidy boat. They were not extravagant with their money; nor were they cheap. They were always nice to friends and happy to see them.
They were the sort of friends that I liked to visit. They always had chardonnay and cheese in the fridge for guests, or cookies and milk if you'd rather have those. They were the best kind of people, the kind of people who earn love and respect.
So, when they landed at a faraway marina and heard a funny mewing noise at dusk, it was perfectly natural for them to do the nice thing and check it out. Not only did they walk around to find the mewing noise, they carried a little pitcher of milk and a small bowl with them, just in case.
As you may imagine, they already knew the noise sounded like a kitten. What they didn't know was that it was actually three kittens, no mama in sight. Hungry, cold and alone in the world, they were crying at the top of their wee little lungs. Bet was on them in a second, cradling all three in her arms, oblivious to the tiny claws.
While she kept them warm, Pete poured the milk into the small bowl. "Bet would not put those kittens down. I had to hold the bowl up for them, so they could drink the milk and be cuddled at the same time," said Pete. "I really had no say in the matter. As soon as Bet saw those three little ones, I knew they were coming with us.Ф
Trouble was, Pete and Bet lived aboard a small boat. "I mean to say, a 36-footer is a nice-sized boat. Nothing shabby at all. But when the average house on dry land is over 2,000 square feet, and now we've got two people living on something 36 feet long, well, that means you think long and hard about adding new stuff to the household," said Pete.
Bet added, "No thought required at all. Those kittens needed us, and we must have needed them."
The problem remained how to raise and train not one, but three kittens to live on a boat. "I never had a cat before, and I had to read up on training them. I figured it would be the same as training a kitten on land, with the added problem of keeping them on the boat," said Pete.
"'Course, we didn't figure on Captain Jack over there. He's the gray one with black patches on his head and eyes. His favorite place is the swim platform. We have to keep it closed off, or he'll be back there playing in the water. He's the bad boy of the bunch."
"Redbeard is the calico. He's a pretty relaxed guy. We call him the 'library cat' because he just hangs out all day. He's quiet and kind and sweet. When I sit and read on a rainy afternoon, he's on my lap and perfectly content."
Pete shook his head sadly. "Then, we have Lulu." He sighed, took off his glasses and wiped his eyes with a hankerchief. "That one worries me."
Bet looked at me and whispered, "She likes to walk on the railings all over the boat. She's fallen overboard six times."
"Seven," corrected Pete.
Bet nodded her head and said firmly but nicely, "I just cannot imagine what our lives were like before they came to live aboard. A home is just not a home without a pet. I never really knew what we were missing."