Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Ker-splash.

Jimmy and I had the pleasure of visiting Dad and Karen in their lovely new lake house this past weekend, and it was a pile of fun except for the part where Jimmy nearly drowned.

Okay, that's overstating a bit. It was all fun. Including the part where Jimmy nearly drowned.

Dad retired at the end of last semester, and he and my stepmom sold their house in Our Town and moved to the Lake of the Ozarks. (Karen's right behind him on the retirement train, but she's still working one day a week for now.) Now they live just far enough away that we can't harass them on a weekly basis, as was our wont, and probably half the reason they ran away as quickly as possible.

Or it could be they wanted a beautiful house in a quiet forest, so they could go out on their boat anytime they wanted. Something like that. Here they are with their new boat, which needs a name, folks - help us out there?

Early suggestions include Geronimo or perhaps The SS Minnow. Titanic was vetoed.

We had a delightful time, including a fantastic, luxurious spa visit for me, Karen and my stepsister Kim while Dad and Jimmy went fishing. Later was lunch at a tasty lakeside grill, and a road trip out to the local Mennonite community to snag spices and foodstuffs. Anyone ever had real roll butter? Me neither, but I'm planning things to bake just so I can smear it with the stuff.

Then steaks on the grill, relaxing in the hot tub...

Wait. I forgot the part where Jimmy nearly drowned.

He didn't nearly drown, okay. He's a fairly competent swimmer - well, he's drownproofed at least. But Jimmy came back with my dad from their fishing trip dripping wet, right down to his sneakers.

"What happened to you?" I asked.

"There was this giant alligator gar," he said, holding his arms out this big. "I snagged it and it pulled me overboard - it was huge! - and Pop had to hit it over and over with the butt of his rod to get it to -"

"You are so full of shit," I interrupted. "What really happened?"

Dad walked in after him. "See, there was this great big fish -"

"You are both terrible liars."

Turns out that as Dad was nosing the boat back into the slip, Jimmy stepped onto the dock to help guide it in. That is, he put one foot on the dock with his other foot on the boat. As boats do, it drifted a bit, and it turns out Jimmy can only do the splits so far. In a perfect face-first Jerry Lewis pratfall, Jimmy hit the water.

Dad did help him to safety. I'm absolutely sure he ascertained that Jimmy was whole, breathing and uninjured before he laughed his ass off.

So the rest of the day, all of Jimmy's cards and receipts in his wallet laid out on the counter to dry, as I snapped my fingers in frustration that he'd left his bedamned cell phone at the house for the day. I'm not sure the sneakers have recovered yet.

We revisited the as-yet-unnamed boat the next morning for a quick boat ride around the lake before we had to head home. It turns out that Dad is like a 68-year-old Speed Racer when he's behind the wheel of the boat. Zoom zoom! With the wake from all the boats in the middle channel, it was just like a watery rollercoaster ride! I'm a big fan. And Jimmy... well, Jimmy's more of a paddleboat type.


You can see him mentally updating his will. Dad's only going about 30 mph here. That's about 26.5 knots, Patrick Stubblefield.

Whee! I had a blast. Many thanks to Dad and Karen for hosting us, feeding us and for not killing my fiance. I do wish we could install a wormhole from Edwardsville to the Lake so we could simply step through and see them, but I have a feeling we'll be wending our way along I-70 quite often.

See? I eventually got him to sit up front with me.

P.S. They didn't catch any fish.

P.P.S. This blog has been edited to correct my father's age. I suck at math. Both gentlemen also point out that they did in fact catch two small brim, but threw them back. Therefore I should have said that they didn't bring home any fish. This is a serious point of fisherman's pride, it seems. Noted and logged, gentlemen.

P.P.P.S. It seems that particular kind of fish is spelled "bream," but is pronounced "brim" by bearded Southern gentlemen. I'm not writing about fishing anymore.

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