May 7, 201310:12 AM
Running In Fog: HeartLand Boating Humor
Shopping with Mom
After so many years, you think you know a person. You think you know their ins and outs, their likes and dislikes, their past, present and dreams for the future. But no. There are always things to learn, things that pop out.
We were shopping, my mom and I. As usual, we headed straight for the discount racks. It’s a treasure hunt/competition for us. Why? Simple. Cheap runs in my family.
“I found a 50-percent off rack,” I proudly announced.
“You lose, I see 80 percent off the lowest price over there.” she said, and poof, she was gone. My sister actually calls my mom “poof” because she can disappear faster than you can sneeze.
So, my mother “poofed” again and I found her a few minutes later at the sale rack with some great clothes on her arm. “People,” she announced, “always go for the trendy stuff, so I can scoop up classic clothes for nothing.”
After she spent about $55, but “saved” $432, we headed to lunch. She asked how I was doing since I’d decided to sell my beloved Sunfish sailboat, Betsy Ross.
It was a tough decision, but I’ve already bought another sailboat that’s still small and manageable, still economical, but is a bit larger so it comfortably fits my growing sailors — my kids — and Captain Nemo, my black lab.
“I used to have a boat, you know,” she announced.
“You owned a boat?”
“Yes. Before I met your father, I had a boat.”
“But you can’t even swim.”
“You don’t have to swim to own a boat.”
“You get seasick driving over bridges.”
“I had a boat.”
“OK, mom. Tell me.”
“I was working as a secretary. I hated my job, but my paycheck was nice. Three weeks’ vacation a year, nice clothes, nice office....”
“The boat, mom.”
“Yes, the boat. I met a nice young man. He was very handsome. But there were other girls who liked him, too. I found out that he loved the water and liked boats. So, I bought one. I just found one for sale and bought it, no haggling either. I just handed him the money. It had a motor on it.”
“What kind of boat?”
“The kind with a motor, not a sailboat or a row boat, just a motorboat. I went up to the lake, drove around until I saw a boat with a ‘for sale’ sign on it and bought it. Then, I went to the marina and rented a spot for it. The nice man who sold it to me even drove it down to the marina and parked it for me.”
“So, you don’t remember the boat manufacturer? Was it a Chris-Craft? Or a....”
“It was wood, it was painted mostly white and it had a motor. The seats were red. It was about 20 feet long and had a flag on the front. That’s all I can tell you.”
“The bow, mom. The front of a boat is called the bow.”
“Whatever. So, now I owned this boat. It was summer, and I thought we could have fun with this boat. And we did. My girlfriends and I had picnics and sunbathed and chatted for hours and hours on that boat. It was great. Sunbathing was still considered healthy then.”
“And the guy? Did you ever take him on your boat? Did you have picnics and go swimming with him?”
“Oh, no. By then I’d met your dad and I forgot all about that guy.”
“Dad must have been thrilled that you had a boat, since he was in the Coast Guard.”
“Oh, he didn’t know. I met him, and we had a few dates and his leave was over. He had to go back to the base in Cape May, then up to Long Island. But I never dated that other guy once I met your dad.”
“So, when dad got leave to come home again, that’s when the two of you took out the boat?”
“Oh, no. I sold it at the end of the summer.”
“How could you sell that boat after you and your friends had so much fun taking it out?”
“Taking it out? I never took it out of the water.”
“No, I mean taking it out on the lake, to swim and picnic and sunbathe.”
“We did all that from the dock. I never said I drove a boat. I just said I owned one.”
“What? You owned a classic wooden motorboat and never drove it? And then you SOLD it?”
“Yes. When your dad found out I’d bought a boat and sold it in four months, he was pretty sad. If he knew I had it, well, we’d probably still own it today. Or you would have it. Then, you would have three boats. Wouldn’t that have been lovely?”
Oh yes, mom, lovely indeed.
In fact, after that conversation, I took the “for sale” sign off Betsy Ross. She is a classic, you know, and maybe someday my kids will be happy I still have her.