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Man Docking a Boat for web DSC_9450

Man Docking a Boat for web DSC_9450

Rambling Boys
"You see, Barkie, it's not always so easy coming home. With a bigger boat, you might have to lie down like Farmer John there, on a very narrow deck, to make the boat fast at the dock. It's cold if you fall in, boy, I can tell you that. Oh, almost as soon as you touch water you're already trying to climb out. I know you don't mind so much. You'll follow a stick no matter where I throw it. Sometimes I wonder just how smart you are. That's what our grandma Bertie says to me, anyway, when I do something dumb. Like when I wanted to surprise her with more round rocks for her garden and I took the dinghy to that beach and loaded up so many that the boat sank in the harbour on the way back. So, right, you can mean to please and still make people angry. Didn't she yell at me when they had fished me out! Now Daddy Mac, he says that's what happens when a person's worried sick about you. It's cause they love you so much."
As Noah was instructing Sir Barksalot, the little dinghy was drifting with the breeze. And then it fetched up on a rock and the dog, at the transom looking over the side, was pitched in.
"Swim to the land, boy, swim to the land!" Noah said and pointed. "There by Farmer John!"
But the dog had no notion of safety beyond that of his friend in the boat and so he circled the boat paddling and barking, living up to his name with a vengeance. Noah yelled his instructions again to make sure Barkie heard but with no other effect than to make Barkie bark louder. So then Noah did what he knew he had ought not to do. He leaned over and tried to pull the dog into the boat. At which the dog, as he had feared, pulled him into the water instead.
"Farmer John! Farmer John!" Noah called.
The man in the straw hat on the boat at the dock looked up then and, after taking in the scene, began to laugh.
"Farmer John, don't laugh!" Noah called. "We need your help!"
"My name ain't Farmer John," said the man. "And ain't you in a pickle? Mayhap if you could call me by my right name, it would help."
"I don't know your right name!" Noah called. "I know farmers wear straw hats, that's all!"
"You got a life jacket on. Your doggie's got hair. You'll be all right."
"But it's freezing in here! And my boat's going away!"
"You ramblin' boys, you got a thing or two to learn," the man said. Still laughing, he climbed up the dock and disappeared between two stacks of lobster traps.
He had seen a coil of line hanging from a nail on the building at the back of the traps and he intended to get it and toss an end to the boy and haul him out. But it was not his dock and he was unaware of the rotten board that Billy Christian, whose dock it was, always stepped around but meant to repair as soon as lobster season was over and he had the time. And so the man stepped on the board and it broke and he plunged through the dock and came down hard on some rocks in the shallows and was stunned for some time.
Meanwhile, with the wind from the south and the tide coming in, the dinghy and Noah and Barkie were carried into the cove toward the dock they had started out from, which belonged to Noah's grandparents Little Mac and Big Bertha.
The procession was observed from the dock by Little Mac himself, who was sitting in the very welcome summer sunlight whittling a mermaid and whistling a tune he knew well but had forgotten the words to. At the sight of the empty dinghy with its oars askew he put down the mermaid with her bosom half-finished.
"Well," he said, "a self-steering vessel. What will they think of next?"
Then his grandson and Sir Barksalot hove into view and he stood and folded his knife and pocketed it. "Well, of course," he said, answering his own question. "What else?"
With the current, the dinghy was swept under the little road bridge and into the back bay, where it caught an eddy and was grounded on the bank. Noah and Barkie, able to make their own efforts, splashed up to the boat ramp at the side of the dock and came out shaking and shivering.
"Mr. Neptune!" said Little Mac by way of greeting. "Welcome to my humble abode. To what do I owe the honour, sir?"
"I'm not N-n-n-neptune," sputtered Noah. "I'm your grandson."
"So you are," said Little Mac. "So you are. Well, fancy that."
Boy and dog were then escorted into the cottage and dried and given warm milk to drink by Big Bertha. Little Mac came back out on the dock. He had just put the finishing touches to the nipples on his handiwork when the man in the straw hat came limping down the lane.
"Have you seen a small boy and his dog?" said the man.
"In my life, I have seen many things," said Little Mac. "A small boy and his dog are bound to be among 'em."
"Well, they fell out of their boat and I fell through somebody's goldurned rotten dock and ain't this just a mess."
"You're a stranger then."
"I am. I'm headed down the coast. I just put in to see if I could get some gas."
"There's no gas here. We're not that big a village anymore. But I can take you up the road."
"But there's that boy..."
"That boy is fine. You look like you might need some medical attention."
So Little Mac conveyed the stranger into town for gas and medical attention and then he brought him back and then the stranger sailed away. Little Mac was letting the paint dry on the scales of the mermaid's tail a week later when he read on the news that a man had sailed into a storm in the Bay of Fundy and not come out the other side. Some wreckage had been picked up the Coast Guard. There was a picture of the stranger's straw hat.
"You ramblin' boys," said Little Mac, remembering what Noah had told him. "You never learn."
And he added a tear below the little mermaid's eye.
11 June 2018
Texas Jim
Prospect, Nova Scotia
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:boat, canada, catboat, cove, deck, dock, docking, down, harbor, harbour, hat, lines, lobster, lying, man, mooring, narrow, nova, ocean, prospect, sailboat, scotia, sea, straw, traps, water