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Running In Fog

Jun 28, 201310:08 AM

Running In Fog: HeartLand Boating Humor

Turning to Thoughts of Love

Ah, springtime, when a young man’s heart turns to thoughts of love. Or water. Or maybe the man is a Black Lab?

Wait, let me explain.

I’ve been on the lookout for a new (to me) sailboat. I needed something that could comfortably hold us for a day on the lake. No sleepovers, no Circle Route, no circumnavigating the globe. Just a nice, fun-sized boat.

So, when you look for something, you tend to find it. That seems to be the trouble with shopping. Once the looking begins, it’s pretty much a done deal.

Anyhow, I shopped online and off-line. For years, I’ve thought that boats under full sail have to be one of the loveliest sites on the water. While I’d love to write that I fell in love with that Hunter 46 or was totally enraptured with the exotic-sounding Ho Hsing 40, the reality went something like this….

Me (drinking green tea at the kitchen table with my laptop in front of me): “I think I found her! She’s a 21-foot S2 and not terribly expensive.”

Kids (slightly excited but kind of bored with the boat-shopping game): “Is it green?” Or red, it depends on which kid you ask.

Me: “Nope, white.”

Kids: “Just another white boat, huh?”

Me: “Bonus points for blue stripes?”

Kids: “You used up the bonus points when we ran out of cookies on Wednesday.”

Me: “The boat is only a six-hour drive from here.”

Kids: “Road trip! Hey, Capt. Nemo? Want to go for a ride?”

And that is how I ended up so far away from home with a car full of kids and Capt. Nemo, too.

Regular readers know Capt. Nemo, my 90-pound lab puppy. He’s almost 10 but doesn’t know it. We don’t put candles on his birthday “pupcakes” anymore.

And so, we drove. And drove.

Then, a quick phone call to the owner to let him know we’ve arrived and — poof — it was all set. Naturally, the general rule of thumb is that the further you drive, the worse the boat will look when you get there. And this one was no exception. The photos looked great, but they must have been taken in the ’80s. Disappointment set in. All of that driving for nothing.

Until Henrietta showed up.

 Like a slow-motion movie, Henrietta slowly turned the corner into Nemo’s life. Her golden hair was shining in the sun; her big, beautiful eyes were trained on Nemo; and Nemo forgot that the rest of us even existed.

Did I mention that Henrietta was a Golden Retriever?

The owner of both dog and boat said he was downsizing, moving away from the water now that he was unable to sail anymore. The boat “needed some love,” he said hopefully.

Yea, well, I looked at the boat. The list of love that it needed got longer and longer in my brain. It seemed the only thing I could keep was the anchor and, maybe, one of the small windows on the port side. Other than that, it seemed hopeless. I needed a sailboat, not a project.

Still, I felt bad for the owner. He seemed sad to part with the boat, and when I questioned him, he said, “The boat, yup, sure will miss her. But it’s Henrietta that I’ll be missin’ the most. Can’t take her with me into the apartment building.”

And if you think I’m a sucker for a boat under full sail, well, one look at Nemo and Henrietta together melted my heart, soul and bones into a big puddle of mush.

That is the story of how I drove six hours to look at a boat and came home with a dog. I guess sometimes, even when you don’t go looking, the right things seem to find you.

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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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