Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The First True Voyage of the Lady of the Lake

Dad had just bought a boat, and it was his pride and joy. It was a 30’s model boat that he had gotten from a guy in Duchesne. He had gone on a dive mission for the fellow in Strawberry Reservoir. He did not find the man’s missing engine but he did return home with a motor boat. You should have seen the look on mom’s face when we got back.

We were on the way to Jackson Hole for the boats maiden voyage. My friend Charmayne was with us and we had been crammed in the cab of dad’s truck for hours. We had just made it to the guard station when I guy asked us to pull over and told us that the prop on the boat had been dragging against the ground for the last ten miles. Dad began spouting four letter words like only dad could. He got back in the truck and was on the verge of turning the truck around and going home. At the last minute he put the truck in drive and we joined the long line heading into Teton Park.

It was a family reunion on dad’s side of the family and Mayne and I spent most of our time kayaking and playing with Christa in the lake. Christa was dad’s best friend and the pup had him wrapped around her paw. She was a border collie and was as smart as can be. She loved to play fetch and enjoyed it when dad would throw the ball into the lake. She couldn’t swim and hated anything that was deeper than her chin. At least once in every game of fetch dad would throw the ball and a wind would come up pushing the ball out of Christa’s reach. She would cry and cry running from dad to the water’s edge her big brown eyes pleading for him to save her toy. Completely dressed dad would take off the control pack for his TENS and stride out into the waves to save the imperiled ball. He would come ashore and Christa would greet him like the savior of mankind.

One night everyone decided that they were going to one of the docks to have pizza (we were staying on an island kinda thing) and everyone had to boat over to the pizza place. Dad had taught me how to drive The Lady of the Lake on Sandwash and I had helped drive it over to the camp. Dad had had a couple of drinks and so he put Mayne in charge of the boat. She hadn’t been in a boat until this trip. Needless to say she was a wee bit nervous. Dad told her where to go and I did my best to help. We made it to dock and dad jumped off the boat to tie us up. He turned to grab a rope and a wave came up and caught the boat. Not being quite himself dad reached out and grabbed the boat. It kept moving farther and farther away. Being the stubborn man he was dad clung to the boat until it drifted about 6 feet and 2 inches away. Without even trying to stop himself dad went in. I don’t know how he managed it but the top two feet of him managed to stay dry. He didn’t lose his hat to the lake and his glasses remained on his head. He pulled himself out of the drink and scrambled up on to the dock like nothing had happened. Most guys would at least be blushing but dad just grinned from ear to ear and said “Well that was stupid”.

We did make it into the pizza place and dad sat there with the rest of us eating pizza and dripping on the floor like he had wet himself. Dad being dad was the first one to point this out. In fact I think he was quite proud that he was a spectacle. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my life.

Pictures of Jackson Lake take by Haylee Toland 2010

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