Lending a hand on Labor Day

I worked today on Labor Day.  It was a uncrowded commute, a park-anywhere, infrequent email-kind of day.  And at the end of the work day, I was reminded of why I am glad that I am a laborer and have a paycheck

I pulled into the gas station and put the nozzle into the fuel tank.  I was walking around to the other side of my car to gather my little car trash container to empty it when I heard someone ask me, “Ma’am, do you know where Camden Avenue is?”

I looked to the car parked beside me, and there was a man and a woman in the front seat and a small girl in the back seat.  The man was shirtless and the little girl was very quiet and seemed sad.

“No,” I said, “I don’t know where that is.”

The man continued to describe to me that they were out of gas and had spent the night in their car last night.  He had a job and was expecting to get a paycheck the next day, but didn’t have enough for a hotel room last night or today.  He said that there was a church on Camden Avenue and the people at that church had said that they could provide him with some money if he could get to the church.

I dug around in my purse and found $5 (I never carry cash — it’s a bad habit of mine to be cash-less) and gave it to him.  I mentioned another church just down the street that I felt would surely offer them some help.

He told me over and over again that he hated to ask for money, but he couldn’t bear to spend another night in his car, especially since his wife was also pregnant.  He said that his pride was out the window at the moment.

I found the directions to Camden Avenue on my phone and wrote them down for him.  The whole time that this is happening, I am looking at the sad little eyes of the small girl sitting in the back seat, thinking, “I am so blessed.  I have food.  I have shelter.  I have more than I need.  Thank You, God, for my blessings.”

He said that he was going to ask a few more people for money in order to put some gas in his car, because he was on empty and couldn’t drive any further.  But he thanked me for the $5 and the instructions and I drove away.

A few seconds out of the parking lot, I realized, “DUH!  I could use my debit card to put $10 or $15 of gas in his car!”  So, I turned around to do that.

And met him just pulling out of the gas station…right after he had said that he didn’t have enough gas to go anywhere.

I think, maybe, just maybe, I got scammed.

So, the question is:  Did they deserve my help?

No, probably not.  But if we only helped people who deserved our help, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of helping go on, would there?  I can think of numerous times in the past week alone where people helped me and I didn’t particularly deserve it, either because it was my job to do it in the first place or because I had a bad attitude about a specific issue.

And how do we measure someone’s “deserved-ness”?  Is it due to the Rule of Reciprocity? i.e. if they help me, then I can help them?  If that’s the case, then the first one that helps is taking a chance that the reciprocity is going to kick in at some unknown point in the future.  And if it doesn’t, are there take backs?

Is it based on the moral character of the persons involved?  “He is so nice that I should help him.”  Again, what happens when he isn’t so nice, because at some point, he is going to have a bad day and show his ass.  Or make a comment that I don’t like.  Or not laugh at one of my (hilarious) jokes.  No more help?

Do they have to earn it?  I think the guy from today really sold me a story.  He earned the $5 just with his story about sleeping in cars, a pregnant wife (she didn’t look pregnant, but she could have been), a paycheck to be delivered tomorrow, a car almost out of gas.  It was a really good story and very well delivered.

But these examples rely on the actions of others and I would rather base my willingness to help, my willingness to give, on me, on my decisions, on my character.

It makes me think of God.  He helps me, blesses me, saves me not because I deserve it or act in any way to earn it.  Because I don’t.  He does it because He is God and He chooses to.  (I am not claiming to be like God, but I am trying to be more Christ-like.)

So, I’m not mad at myself or at Mr. Slept-in-the-Car-All-Night.  He needed something and maybe the only way he could see to get it was to lie.  And while I may have unknowingly participated in his potential lie (do you like my disclaimers in case the guy ever reads this blog and wants to sue?), I helped my fellow-man.

Happy Labor Day, y’all.

Let’s be lovers, not judgers

I ate dinner with two of my friends the other night and, as always, a good dose of laughter helped to restore a feeling of equilibrium to a work-induced stressful week.

I was talking to my mom later about one of the conversations that my girlfriends and I had at dinner that night:

me: Wendy’s parents were in town a couple of weeks ago. She was telling us that her parents were pretty critical of everyone around. You know, like saying, “Look at that tattooed freak!” and “He looks like a bum.” And “So-and-so is acting stupid.” Wendy said that she said to them, “You two are so critical. You are always judging. You remember those children books about The Stupids?”

Mom: What? The stupids? There were books about stupids?

me: Yes, a family called The Stupids. I don’t remember them. I never read those books. I told Wendy that you wouldn’t have let us read anything like that because we weren’t allowed to use the word “stupid”, but she said, “They were in the library!”

Mom: Well, you still shouldn’t be reading everything in the library.

me: Ok, not the story. Anyway, she was telling her parents, “Remember the books about the Stupids? If we had books named after our family, it would be The Assholes! Cause we’re Assholes! Cause you judge everyone!”


Mom: And we’d be the “Love Everyone and Get Along With Everyone” Family

me: No, we would be the “Repress All Your Feelings” Family. The Repressors. We would be the “Swallow All Your Emotions” Family. The Swallowers.


me: Yeah, the Swallowers doesn’t sound so good, so let’s go back to Repressors.

Regardless of what you call our family, I have noticed a trend in the general population to be very judge-y and unkind. I have a Pinterest account and when I browse, I always see at least a couple of pins that are very “anti-my-fellow-man-I-am-better-than-you” themed pins, like these:

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 7.05.59 PM

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 7.39.38 PM

I am as guilty as the next person (whom on Wednesday night was my friend Wendy, and we all know that she is an Asshole) to be judgmental, but it really bothers me how casually we fling out insults and criticisms about other people, often (mostly) when we don’t have the slightest idea about what they are really going through. Our immature attempt to make ourselves feel better is by telling ourselves that we are better, but at the expense of someone else.

The ironic and twisted thing about this method of self-soothing is this: Who is using me as their yardstick to make themselves feel better? Who is out there saying, “Well, I know that I blow, but at least I am not as bad as Cristy.” OUCH.

Because I’m sure that happens. (Double ouch, you asshole.)

I am going to make a concerted effort to leaving my yardstick in storage. Can you? If not, I’ll try not to judge.


What do hoarders have in common? Why, too many things to list!

I have a close friend that has been dealing with a very ill parent for almost 3 months. As she has been talking with doctors, learning about her parent’s illness, etc., she has also been cleaning her parents’ house. She told me the other day that as she and her aunt and uncle were sorting through the laundry room and kitchen that her uncle said, “We should call American Pickers!” She said that she replied, “As long as you don’t say, “We should call “Hoarders.””

I grew up surrounded by hoarders, or at least by people who were on some part of the hoarding continuum. Usually, they resided toward the “keep everything” end of that continuum. I have noticed a commonality between the people who I know that tend or tended to hoard — they lived during the Great Depression.

Matt said that his mom was a hoarder, but she tended to hoard food more than anything. She used to describe to him how she often went hungry during the Great Depression. And she (like Scarlett O’Hara) vowed not be hungry again. My mamaw and papaw tended to hoard, but I don’t remember it being food as much as just “stuff”. My mama has said that she doesn’t ever remember going hungry growing up, though a meal may have consisted of potatoes cooked two different ways and three different kinds of beans. So, maybe what each person hoarded was based on individual experience.

I also grew up hearing certain phrases over and over from my hoarding friends and family. (Ok, I don’t know that any of them were ever officially diagnosed as hoarders, but if looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.) As things were put onto shelves, or into drawers, or into sheds, they would say, “We could probably fix this.” Or “Someone might be able to use this.” That last statement was a much used one. Because one thing that I did learn about Depression-created hoarding — it was a community-based practice. You kept a lot of stuff because your neighbors and family might need something that you had — it would have been selfish to throw something away.

Matt's Uncle's Doorbell -- This is how a person from the Depression reuses something

Matt’s Uncle’s Doorbell — This is how a person from the Depression reuses something

Matt and I were talking about hoarding this morning over breakfast and about whether the Great Recession that we have been in (is it over?) the last several years will jump-start another round of hoarding in people. I think that a certain generation of people born in the 80s and later have definitely grown up in a disposable mentality — everything can be thrown away and replaced, much different from the mentality of my grandparents and aunts and uncles. Will the recent years of job loss and unemployment and falling consumer confidence and global recession create a compulsive need to keep stuff?

Matt and I don’t hoard — instead we just don’t buy. When we married and merged two fully formed households, it took months to donate, sell, recycle and throw away the excess to create just one household. So, now we think about everything that we bring into the house. And we don’t hang on to stuff that doesn’t work, or that we don’t use, or that doesn’t fit, etc. We try to find another home for it.

And maybe that is the new mentality. Limit what comes in to begin with, but don’t hang on to what you don’t need.

Before you’re married twice

My mama had some key phrases that she used regularly in response to certain situations.  For example, when my sister or I were complaining or whining about something fairly (in retrospect) insignificant, she would say, “You’ll get over it before you’re married twice.”

I don’t know where she got that phrase.  I never heard any of my aunts say it, just my mama.  But to this day, it sticks in my head and I find it bouncing around in there whenever someone around me is grumbling about something small.

As a young girl, I used to think that her statement didn’t make any sense.  If she was trying to tell me that I would soon be over my anguish, well then, telling me that I would be over it before I was married twice caused me great confusion.  Since I would never be married TWICE, I would obviously have to spend the rest of my life working through my heartache.

I knew very few people who had divorced parents.  I had one cousin whose parents were divorced, but we never talked about.  None of my friends had parents that were divorced, and if any of the other kids in my classes had divorced parents, I didn’t know about it.  In my very protected little world, divorce just wasn’t a known entity.

So, it was with authority that I would reply, “Then I’ll always be unhappy because I’ll never be married twice!”

Ah, the innocence of youth.

At the age of 42, I have not been married twice.  But this is not a result of being so smart and emotionally mature that I just waited for the exact right person.  No, it’s the result of things not working out the way that I wanted them to.  I would have married a man who I dated in my 20s, and I am fairly certain that it wouldn’t have lasted.  It’s only stubbornness on his part that prevents me from being married twice.

Matt and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  Each year has had its challenges.  Each year has had its joys.  And no matter how much you are advised that marriage is work, you can’t appreciate how much work until you are in one.  I couldn’t appreciate the blessings, either.

I hope this is Matt and me in 40 years.


Speaking of marriage, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my mama’s house.  My Aunt Baby, Uncle Joe and cousin Judson came over on Christmas Eve.  During the evening, the topic of “John and Jill Doe” arose.

mama:  You could be like John and Jill Doe that got divorced after 42 years of marriage.

me:  Who are John and Jill Doe?

mama:  They used to live across the Blue Ridge Parkway from Mama and Daddy.  They got divorced after 42 years.

Judson:  Why after 42 years?

Baby:  Because John stayed in the bed drunk all day while Jill worked.

me:  And that had been going on for 42 years?

mama:  Yes.

Matt:  Well, what happened after 42 years?

Baby:  Jill got tired of John staying in bed reading westerns, being drunk all day, while she had to work.

me:  Yeah, but why did she put up with it for 42 years and then decide enough was enough?

mama:  Maybe she figured he was never going to change.

Joe:  I’ll say one thing.  John is a better man than me.  If I were in bed drunk, I couldn’t read.  That would be too much for me.  Maybe TV, but definitely no reading.

Cross-country chronicles

As a lifetime resident of the same state, I just spent my second Thanksgiving away from home.  The first time was during my semester abroad when I had a good excuse for not flying home for Thanksgiving.  This year, Matt and I decided to fly across country to visit my sister and her family.

I have only heard tales, urban legends, about holiday travel.  The lines, the delays, the crowds, oh my.  It wasn’t that bad, but I am very grateful that we got to see my sister and her family with relatively minor incidents.  Some, though, are just worth repeating.


Scene:  Flight from Charlotte to Salt Lake City; 7:30AM

I am reading my SkyMall magazine, doing what I always do–wondering if people actually order things from the SkyMall magazine, like the $300 Star Wars chess set.

Matt:  They are taking us back to the terminal because there is a medical emergency on board.

me:  Really?  What’s going on?

Matt:  See the guy two rows behind us?  He’s unresponsive.

Flight attendants are standing around the guy, asking him, “Sir, sir!  Can you hear me?”  The guy said something that I couldn’t hear, but then I heard the attendant say, “How much did you have to drink?”  It became clear that the guy was just stinking-ass drunk.

Drunk guy:  I need to get to Seattle.  I’m going to Seattle.

Attendant:  No, we’re taking you back.  You shouldn’t be on a long flight.

We waited and waited to go back to the terminal.  Then they had to pull us to a gate and people with a wheelchair came on board to get the Drunk guy.

Attendant:  Sir!  Sir!  Can you hear us?  We need to get you off the plane.

Drunk guy:  Where are we?

Attendant:  We’re in Salt Lake City.  You took quite a nap.

Drunk guy:  I gotta get to Seattle.

Captain (of the plane, y’all):  No, you gotta get off this plane.  (You could almost hear the ominous music).

Attendant:  Come on sir!  (Pulling him up.)

Drunk guy:  DON’T touch me!  I’ll go with you, but don’t touch me.

It was the Perfect response.  Have you ever noticed when someone is drunk and someone gets too close to them (in a non-sexual way), everyone always pulls out the “Don’t touch me!” line?  Like, “hey, everyone….I’m being all reasonable and stuff and it’s this asshole who is touching me that is crossing the line.”

After they got the Drunk guy off the plane, they had to put more fuel in the plane because turning back to the terminal used so much fuel that we might not have made it to Salt Lake City.  Wha?  Isn’t that cutting it a bit close?  I could have totally lived the rest of my life without that bit of information.


On my flight from Salt Lake City to Seattle, I sat beside an extremely gawky and large 12-year boy.  He picked his nose a lot.  Matt asked me what he did with his “findings” — I had to admit that I didn’t know because I was trying to avoid looking.  I hope that he wasn’t flicking them my way.

Then the little girl sitting behind me threw up.  A couple of times.  It was righteous.


It was very wet in Seattle.  A lot of rain.  Did you know that they just voted to legalize marijuana?  But I still had to go to the pharmacy to get my Advil Cold and Sinus with pseudoephedrine.

I’m a fickle dog person.  Ashleigh and Dan have a French bulldog, Lola, and she was a sweetie pie.  So, now I want a Frenchie.  A bulldog, people.  I’m too tired to be thinking about anything else.

Lola, the Showgirl

Just another Friday night in my (red)neck of the woods

Time:  Early Friday evening

Scene:  Matt walks in the house while I’m walking on the treadmill, says “Hi”.  I get through walking about 10 minutes later and can’t find Matt anywhere in the house.

Txt to Matt:

Matt walks back in, rattles around in the kitchen, and starts toward the door again.  In his hands, he carries one (1) quart of moonshine, one (1) fifth of Crown Royal and some Solo cups.

Matt:  I’ll try not to burn anything down.

me:  Are you burning trash or dead limbs in the back yard tonight?

Matt:  No, I’m heading over to J.R.’s [our nephew who lives in the woods behind us] for a little while.

me:  Are you coming back [eyeing the alcohol]?

Matt:  Yes, later tonight.

Fifteen minutes later:  BOOM!  It was the sound of the “homemade” golf ball cannon being fired from J.R.’s house.

I turned up the volume of Prison Wives on TV.

Easing our way into the weekend, one redneck activity at a time.

Hell Yeah!

Source:  http://forums.jackcolton.com/showthread.php?1690-Favorite-quot-Motivational-Posters-quot/page3

Lottery Thoughts

There is a PowerBall drawing tonight worth $100 million.  I don’t normally pay any attention to the lottery because I know the odds of winning are stupid.  You know, like you’re 30,000 times more likely to get hit by lightning than you are to win the lottery, or whatever the statistic is.  (Of course, one of my aunts, my sister and my cousin were struck by lightning while they were in the car, driving down the road, and apparently that’s like supposed to be super-extra rare,and it happened to them.  So, the improbable does happen.). But I’ve been having a tougher time than normal at work recently, so I have been spending time fantasizing about being independently wealthy.

Any time I think about the lottery, it makes me think of mine and my sister’s babysitter’s husband, Roger.  Roger is one of the sweetest, kindest men that I ever met in my life, and as a distant cousin, my mom and my family have always known Roger and his family.

At our wedding (Susan Roark photography)

Roger used to talk about winning the lottery.  He had a plan.  And he always included giving part of his winnings to my mama, to help her pay off our mortgage.  When I was growing up, I thought the only reason that my mama had to work was this nebulous thing called a “mortgage”, and if this was gone, she could stay at home with me and Ashleigh, so I LOVED Roger’s plan.

How awesome was it that Roger was going to give us part of his winnings?  I don’t know many people who would give me any of their lottery jackpot…

I haven’t seen Roger in a couple of years.  The last time that I saw him, he didn’t remember or recognize me because of dementia.  I reminded him that I was Libby’s daughter.  To which he replied, “You’re Ashleigh’s sister, right?  You used to be the pretty one, but now she’s the pretty one.”

I agreed with him.  My sister is the pretty one. 

And she’s been hit by lightning.  Dang, she does have the luck.  Maybe I can get her to buy me a PowerBall ticket.

Happy Birthday to My Mother

Today is my mom’s birthday.  I called her tonight to wish her “Happy Birthday” and she was getting ready to have dinner with some friends.

Growing up, my sister, cousins and I used to have the best birthdays.  They weren’t huge parties and they didn’t involve huge cakes or mounds of presents, they just included small parties at my Mamaw and Papaw’s house.

Wendi, Matt, Birthday Girl JJ, Cristy & Ashleigh

On the Sunday closest to the birthday, after all the lunch dishes were washed and the kitchen table was cleared, the birthday cake was brought out and placed before the guest of honor.  The rest of us gathered around and sang “Happy Birthday”, while our aunts and Mamaw looked on, then we got down to eating cake and opening presents.

Ashleigh, Birthday Girl Cristy and Matt
Aunt Baby, gamely wearing her headdress

I don’t remember any of us having big parties where lots of people were invited, where school friends came, where venues were rented out to entertain all the attendees.  Instead, I remember these simple Sundays at Mamaw’s with just my family.

One birthday that stands out was either my cousin Matt’s or my cousin Wendi’s.  I know it was one of them because the mother of the birthday girl or boy was responsible for bringing the cake and on this birthday, the cake had had an accident.  My Aunt Mary June (Wendi & Matt’s mom) had put the cake on the roof of the car while packing the car, unlocking the door (back in the day of inserting a key into a door lock), etc. and she forgot it was on the roof.  She drove off and the cake fell off.

The damage was minimal.  We only had to pick a little bit of gravel out of the icing before we cut into the cake.  We kids thought that was hilarious.

Front:  Birthday Girl, JJ, and Cristy
Back:  Mamaw, Aunt Margo, Mom and Aunt Baby
(One of my FAVORITE pictures–love my Mamaw in a birthday hat)
Birthday Girl, Ashleigh

If it wasn’t our birthday, we didn’t expect to get any gifts.  Only the birthday boy or girl had presents to open, and the rest of us were okay with that.  But, the birthday guest of honor usually let the others play with his / her presents.

I hear about the parties that parents throw their kids these days and I’m a little astounded.  They seem like very complicated and expensive.  But I don’t have children, so this is a current mystery that I just cannot answer.

But I can say with complete confidence that these birthdays of my youth were wonderful days, full of laughter, happy expectations, and feelings of being special for the day.

I hope that my mom is having as wonderful day today as she provided for me all those many birthdays.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Where Did That Red Hair Come From?

I have suffered from headaches for as long as I can remember. In an attempt to control them, I have been going to physical therapy recently to relieve the tension in my neck and shoulders. While I was at the physical therapist office the other day (which is really one big room where several people are doing exercises), an elderly lady was working on her hips and knees. It was her first visit, and she was struggling with her exercises. As she was finishing up, the therapist told her that after she came in the next time, they would give her “homework” that she could get her children or “…her 100 grandchildren” to help her with. The lady laughed and replied, “Don’t give me any more than I already have. I only have 45 grandchildren.”

I almost fell off the table. Forty-five grandchildren!! Wow! Did she remember all their names? Did all the cousins know each other? Did they get together at Christmas? What about Sundays?

I grew up in a family where my mama’s side of the family ate lunch at my grandparent’s house every Sunday after church. I saw my maternal cousins almost every Sunday. On my father’s side, I didn’t see my grandparent’s nearly as often, but we spent at least one week each summer with them in their RV while they were camping at in Boone, and they always came to spend some time with us at Christmas and several other times during the year.

What would it be like to have 40+ first cousins? I couldn’t imagine. And then I think of my parents. Both of them come from families where they had many more first cousins than my sister and I. I don’t think that either one of them had 40+, but there were a lot. They kept their families together by family reunions.

One of my favorite memories growing up is the Baker family reunion. Every year at Thanksgiving, my fraternal grandmother’s family would get together at Ocean Isle, NC. All of Grandma’s brothers and sisters, their kids and their grand kids. We would leave out early every Thanksgiving morning (hardly any traffic on Thanksgiving Day), arrive in Ocean Isle around 1 pm, and stay until Sunday. This was the one time during the year that I would see my cousins, John, Jr. and Jason, my cousin, Leal, my cousins, Michelle and Mitch. These weren’t my first cousins that I knew so well, but my “mysterious” second and third cousins that lived in exotic places like Roanoke, VA, and Columbia, SC. John, Jr., was so cute and played the guitar. I knew that he would fall in love with me one day and we would move to a place where cousins could legally marry (by the way, when applying for mine and Matt’s marriage license, I discovered that John, Jr. and I could have married here in NC, but the desire to marry him was, alas, gone).

Those trips to Ocean Isle each year were gifts that my grandmother and her siblings gave to me and my cousins because they allowed us to meet family that we probably never would have ever known. As my grandmother’s generation has passed on (only my grandmother and one brother are now still with us), the reunions ended. Now there are great-grandchildren (even some great-great-grandchildren), but I don’t think that these Baker descendants will ever know each other except maybe in stories.

That is too bad. Because they may never know that the Bakers were tall, had red hair and liked to laugh. And if one of the descendants suddenly has a tall, red-headed, funny child, they won’t know that’s “the Baker in him coming out.” And Baker is a pretty good thing to be.

How We Became the Griswolds

Matt and I went out to eat tonight at one of my favorite restaurants. On our way home, we drove over one of the many bridges that span the lake. It was a great day for the boat owners to get out with their “toys”. We saw lots of families out on their boats or wave runners, enjoying the last few hours of sun before the new work week begins.

Living in a town dominated by a lake is an experience. Everyone seems perpetually tan. The second question (after “What do you do?”) that most people ask upon meeting you is “Do you own a boat?” The attraction of spending hours cruising the lake appears to most as impossible to resist.
Matt and I do not own a boat, but I have spent my fair share on the water. For most of my life, my father, Tom, has owned a boat of some variety. Sometimes it was a fishing boat, sometimes a ski boat. Once it was a little jet boat. He has even owned a cabin cruiser upon which he and his girlfriend lived for several years. He has kept his boats on lakes, on the Intracoastal Waterway, and even on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, where he currently resides. The type of boat may have changed, but I don’t think that he would ever be comfortable without ready access to the water.
With so much experience on boats, in different types of environments, most would assume that a trip with Tom would be fairly routine. This would be an incorrect assumption — something always seems to go wrong. The engine blows, or the plug is missing (I swear that happened, like the stopper was gone), or there is water in the line. It is always an adventure just to get started on a boating trip with Tom.
My favorite and most memorable trip with Tom, however, began before we even got in the water. Sometime late in my teens, we decided to go and visit my Aunt Linda and Uncle Philip in Charleston, SC. As part of the trip, we would haul the boat to the Intracoastal Waterway near Myrtle Beach, SC, load up and cruise the waterway south to Charleston. The journey would as much fun as the destination.
The trip to Myrtle Beach was routine until we hit the small town of Conway, SC. As we were driving through the town, the engine on our Ford Bronco died. Tom was able to coast into the parking lot of an Amoco gas station and assess the situation. It should come as no surprise that Tom’s luck with boat engines carried over to car engines; something was always dying, breaking, blowing up, smoking or doing other things equally as expensive.
Tom had a plan. He knew a local that could help us. His name was “Spanky”. Spanky would know who to call to get us out of this jam and back on our way. First thing Spanky was going to do was call the Ford dealership to get help for us with the Bronco. They would come, tow the Bronco, quickly get it fixed and we would be on our way in no time.
As the minutes progressed into hours, we had no choice but to make the best of the situation. Stuck in a parking lot, in the middle of summer in South Carolina, sitting in our broken down car wasn’t an option. Sitting on the boat, still on its trailer, was a much better option. Ashleigh had on her headphones, listening to her music, sun-bathing, pretty much ignoring the rest of us. Mom sat in the co-captain’s chair, sun-bathing, reading her book. I tried to lie down on one of the bow seats, keeping my head low from the people who continued to drive by and shout directions to the water, while Tom sat on the dive platform, drinking beer, swinging his feet back and forth, waving at all the passersby.
For four hours, we sat in our boat, in the parking lot of the gas station, enjoying our vacation. We even sat there for a while without the Bronco after the dealership tow truck came and towed it away and before Spanky could come with his truck to hook up the boat. At least we had access to the gas station’s restrooms, but it definitely felt like a “Griswold” vacation.
The dealership had to order a part in order to fix the Bronco, and by that time it was too late to put into the water. We did not spend the night on the boat in the parking lot of the gas station, but slept in a hotel. We cast off the next day for Charleston, leaving the truck behind for repairs until we returned. I remember my Aunt Linda and Uncle Philip getting a good laugh out of that story.
Over the years, we have also laughed at this memory, at how silly a family of four must of looked sitting in a gas station parking lot, in a boat, on a trailer, doing the things that you do when you’re on the water. Of course, with gas prices as high as they are now, I’m surprised that I don’t see more families enjoying their boats in their driveways (or a gas station) instead of the water. I did learn that day that the water isn’t what makes a boat fun — the people in the boat are the reason that boating is fun.