I have spent plenty of time on a boat in my life. The boat was not always in the water, but I definitely spent time in a boat. We had a decent size boat when I was young that had a cuddy cabin. I thought this was the best hiding place there had ever been. It had a really cool V shaped ‘bed’ where I could pretend to sleep while playing with my imaginary friends. Of course, it was a padded bench seat, but when you are young, you are fairly creative.
Once I hit the teenage years, there was very few weekends I was not on the water. Skiing, hydro-sliding, diving off the side of the boat and swimming near the shore of the local lake was the best way to keep cool. I have not been on skis in many-a-year now, but I know it would not take long for me to be up and skipping across the water again.
We would even hit the coast each year bottom fishing for spot and croaker. The fish would drop in regularly and it would not take long to fill the cooler. I hated cleaning them though! That was what Mom was for. We catch ‘em, she cleans ‘em!
A couple of years after my wife and I were married, we spent the weekend at the coast. On a whim, we decided to take one of the party boats out to some deeper water. On the way out to sea, one of passengers decided they just could not handle the rough water. All I could think about was the trip would be another 6 hours and how I was glad I was not him. In fact I had never been sea sick…until that day. Whether it was the sun, the heat, the motion of the waves, or a combination of all three, I could care less at that time. I could feel the basketball sized knot in my throat and had no way of figuring out how to get rid of it. My wife caught fish and I caught heck! That’s one of the sad things about irony.
Back in 2006 I had surgery for three collapsed vertebrae on a nerve bundle. I was out of work for nearly 2 months. I hated that time in my life. I understand how people get depressed having to stay cooped up inside all day. The last day before returning to work, my wife convinced me to get up and do something, even if I did have to endure a little pain. I got the small creek boat and got it ready. I decided I would take my daughter out on a boat for the first time. After hitting one of the small creeks near the house, I realized it was a great day to be alive. Her amazement of a world she had never witnessed before restored my energy that I had lacked over the previous 3 months of pain and rehabilitation.
Last weekend, I decided again to hit the water. I have a small john boat I have restored and wanted to get it wet again. It had seen better days when I took it over. Several large gashes were in the floor and the transom was torn away from the sides. I sealed the bottom and put bedliner in to protect it, then rebuilt the back and had the transom welded. I am rather proud of the rebuild. As I backed the boat out of the driveway, my wife and youngest son were coming back to the house from walking. Cooper asked, “When can I go out with you?” Without hesitation, I told him to jump in the truck and let’s go!
Once we got to the reservoir, I removed the straps and prepped the boat for the water. Cooper studied everything I did. I gave him the job of holding the boat while I parked the truck and trailer. After donning his life vest, he was also allowed to be the first one in the boat. We headed out to a corner of the lake where I thought there may be gar. I originally went out to scout the waters and test the boat. I was only out a few minutes when I changed my mind. I wanted him to see what he had never been able to before.
The nutria, the turtles, the fish breaking. Bull frogs and spiders. There is a poem here somewhere about this is what little boys are made of. We only stayed out in the water for a little less than an hour. It may have been the best 45 minutes I have spent this year. And neither of us became sea sick.