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The End Was Only The Beginning

LIFE ON THE LAKE

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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.

Copyright 2016     John Bevilaqua
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