A Beautiful Pea Green Boat

The rich man goes out yachting,
Where sanctity can’t pursue him;
The poor goes afloat
In a fourpenny boat,
Where the bishop groans to view him.

As Spring has turned to Summer, Bud has been bearing up and going about the business of living his life without my mother. Preparing for the memorial service a few weeks ago was one major focus of his activity; Bud undertook the responsibility of honoring her memory with the same concern and love he gave to her care in the months preceding her death. He’s also started getting out and about more, walking three miles a day with his friend, Ray. They went together to pick out the suit Bud would wear for the service; I told him he looked positively GQ, And you know what? He did. All the ladies lined up to hug him good. Bud_1
Bud has also been rebuilding part of the cottage, putting up new bead board ceiling and laying down carpet- things my mother wanted him to do but he couldn’t get to as her breathing grew more labored and she needed more attention.

Lost Loon Lodge is situated on a fantastically beautiful, big and deep lake just a couple miles inland from Lake Superior. As we turn down the mountain at Gratiot Lake Road off US 41 in our final approach, we know we have finally arrived when we see both the blue of their lake and Superior beyond. Bud has had a little dock and a tiny row boat- meager means to explore Gratiot Lake. He used to fish and the lake holds giant walleye, muskies and pike but in recent years he hasn’t either the time or means to go meandering on the water.

Back here in our neck of the woods, Wit’s End is up for sale. For me this is the ultimate letting go in the transition to my next chapter (the one where my wagon is completely hitched, probably for the first time ever, to another’s star. And I agree with Bonnie, it’s quite romantic…). We’ve talked through the pros and cons of keeping Wit’s End and the decision is mine. Parting with her is sweet sorrow indeed but I’ve realized the advantages of turning over the keys. Whoever owns her next is in for one of life’s great luxuries in that modest little niche.

I can’t write more about that now or I’ll never get back to sleep here, but what I was getting to in this post was the disposition of our pontoon boat. A good pontoon boat is one of those oxymorons in construction: impossibly awkward out of the water but calm and graceful in the water. When Patti and Audrey and I were out at Wit’s End a week ago for precisely the sort of thing I’ll miss sorely- a girl’s night out- we were on the boat just at dusk and the water was like glass. We could see the bass beneath us. Suddenly we heard that oddest noise of hot air balloons firing up and there they were, coming down right over the tree line of the 100 Acre Woods to float near the water’s surface. They were so close and the air and water so calm that we could talk up to them. Where was my camera?

Anyway, I was sort of musing aloud about the future of Wit’s End when I spoke with Bud on the cell phone the next day (I’m back to phoning up to Lost Loon Lodge while going between home and the cottage. In fact, I use almost every opportunity while driving any distance to call Bud; we talk about every other day and he has lots to say so I went out and got a hands-free ear set. It makes him nuts that I talk and drive but that’s when I have the time.). Bud asked what would happen to the boat and I started to say we would just leave it with Wit’s End. Bud said, in slow Yooper drawl, "Ah, you would leave it there, eh?" and the light bulb went on. Bud, who asks for nothing, who gives and gives and gives of himself- Bud had an eye on that boat. I said that I was thinking we would probably have to leave it because we don’t have a pontoon trailer and they’re awfully big and I couldn’t see a window of opportunity when we would be coming up between now and the move to Chicago. Bud said, "Ya, it’s probably too hard to move such a ting (he’s lived there so long now, he’s dropping his "h" sometimes) and I said, "Well, let me think about this." Then Bud said quietly, "I could store it for you, ya know."

My life has turned into a tangle of logistics. We will leave our home here and Wit’s End and move to Chicago. But we will also have a moving van picking up furniture from here and the cottage to go to Florida. We have to empty the mausoleum storage locker of all the stuff from Rich’s previous house and business office. I talk more with Greg from Aslan Moving in Ohio than I do my husband. So what’s another snarl? I called up Matt, the handsome young man who we hired a couple years ago to start blowing the 300 inches of snow up at Lost Loon Lodge. Here is a dyed in the wool Yooper; we can barely understand each other, But he was willing to give this a try,did his research on trailers and I went to the bank yesterday to get funds to cover his time and gas and the rental over a thousand miles and now the pontoon boat will make the move to Gratiot Lake.

Where Bud will store it for us. First he’ll patch up the little mouse tears in the upholstery. And tweak the motor, Make sure the gas/oil ratio is just right. Get that engine running smoothy. See if the anchor line is long enough for deep water. Tidy up the life jackets under the bench. Straighten the canopy. Check out the best fishing spots. Find the just right position for the finest sunset, And sunrise. He’ll take good care of all of that for us. This will, hopefully and baring unforeseen high winds on the Mackinaw Bridge, be the best win-win situation imaginable.

I also have to remember to put the giant cast iron mosquito in the boat for the ride up; another item that truly befits Lost Loon Lodge and thus, will not be going to Chicago. Pictures later today but right now I need to catch a few winks before we start lifting boats.

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12 responses to “A Beautiful Pea Green Boat

  1. Why is it that I weep every time that I come here these days? Your life is so full of metaphors and lessons for me lately.

    Or maybe I’m just hormonal. Who the hell knows.

    Sending internet hugs and kisses to Bud. I am so much enjoying the thought of him puttering around with the boat.

  2. I will admit to being hormonal also, but tears came to my eyes reading about Bud storing the boat. What a lovely, lovely man.

  3. Your mom was a lucky woman to have Bud and now he is lucky to have you! How wonderful that you are able to give him something he wanted.

  4. This post absolutely made my day, Vicki. Life is good, eh?

  5. “They carried a net, and their hearts were set
    On fishing up the moon.”

    Love Thomas Peacock, almost as much as I love you.

    Continued prayers for your sanctity!

  6. This story was just so beautiful, for all the little day-to-day reasons that we get caught up in. I’m with Miz S – it IS hard to come here without tearing up, lately… but I wouldn’t stop dropping by for anything!

  7. You’re so swell. And so is Bud. After taking care of this, I am sure you slept soundly, indeed.

    (Get out of the bass plugs, Bud. I will be there on Aug. 24. Hoo boy.)

  8. I just loved this post. I am so glad you are leaving the boat with Bud. I am moved by your words. I know how hard moving can be. Hugssssssssss

  9. I have no hormones, no husband to hitch my star to, no boat, no house, and no moving guy. I do have a few marbles left rattling around in the old head, enough to spare one or two. (You will understand this later) I have two baby robins in a plastic bowl/ makeshift nest that I hope in a couple of days will fly away (another semi-sweet-sad story) and I HAVE GROWN CHERRY TOMATOES for the first time in my life. I am now ready to live off the land.

    That, or else my lack of hormones has finally caused me to crack.

    It will make for an interesting picture…. pontoon boat pulled on trailer, down the interstate with a giant mosquito statue in the back.

  10. The further south you go, the closer you get to ME. Chicago is still quite a trip, but it’s closer. And the very thought of being closer to you makes me so happy my earlobes itch. Yes, Yes, Yes, closer to Vicki! Closer to you! Close to you!

    The Carpenters should have done a song about that. Oh wait, I think they did.

  11. Who was that pea green boat writer? I remember reading it to the kids at one time. Your life is full of changes and adventures; I admire your attitude and courage. I would be crying and stressed all the time. I wouldn’t handle it well.

  12. Sigh.

    Oh Vicki, you are just so lovely.

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