The End Was Only The Beginning
LIFE ON THE LAKE
Life on Lake Arrowhead would make for more than a few noteworthy stories. One took shape in our first summer there when Reid and Sue McManus came for a weekend. We played bocce, took a cocktail-hour boat ride and grilled chicken outside on the deck. We had a delightful dinner, with the requisite number of adult beverages before, during and after the meal.
Around 11:30 the girls were getting tired and decided it was time for bed. I suggested a midnight boat ride. The intrepid Reid readily agreed while Mary Alice and Sue looked at us as if we were crazy. (Can’t imagine why they felt that way...)
Yours truly decided it would be a good idea to take a large bottle of Kahlua with us. We bid the girls goodbye and headed out on the “high seas” with no other watercraft in sight. As we motored our way through the no-wake zone to the very center of the 540-acre lake, the cloudless sky was absolutely brilliant with twinkling stars.
After dropping anchor, we watched meteors streak across the sky as our bare legs dangled in the cool water. We also settled a substantial number of world problems, of course. Only when the supply of Kahlua dwindled to almost nothing did we decide to make our way back to the house.
Having spent a good bit of time on the water, I consider myself a decent navigator. But never had I spent a lot of time navigating with dulled reflexes at pitch-dark 1:00 a.m. We made our way from the center of the lake to the channel that led to our house... or so we thought. A number of Lake Arrowhead inlets are virtually indistinguishable at night.
When we arrived at the inlet I thought was ours, I turned on the spotlight just to make sure, only to be loudly chastised by a couple obviously enjoying the cover of darkness. (Was it “Bug off!” the man shouted, or did I mishear?)
We circled around and headed back toward our home inlet. When the spotlight beamed out we were yet again greeted with shouts, this time with no shortage of swear words. I have no idea who was doing what on the dock at that hour, but it was clear they weren’t feeling very neighborly.
Intent on finding safe harbor in our own inlet, I finally targeted the right one. Amazingly, we were able to dock the boat without trashing the dock or the vessel. Once we secured the lines and turned off the yard lights, I asked Reid if he thought the girls would be waiting up for us at half past one in the morning. He agreed they must have stayed awake to make sure their brave sailors returned safely from their daunting adventure.
We entered to find our wives sound asleep in their beds. We were shocked we weren’t greeted as the conquering sailors we were, so we meekly slipped into bed and drifted off.
The next morning started with clouded vision and some serious coffee consumption, after which we asked the girls why they didn’t wait up for us. Mary Alice, queen of the snappy retort, said “It’s not like you were going out to sea. This is a private lake. If you guys hadn’t been here this morning we would’ve driven around the lake until we found you washed up on shore somewhere. No problem.”
Reid and I acted offended, but we admitted it was hilarious to think that women like Mary Alice and Sue would wait up for two fools who’d been drinking all day — especially if the fools had gone on a midnight boat ride. Then again, it’s sometimes hard to know what women are really thinking.