Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wow, Look at the Time

If you found out you only had one year to live, what would you do?

That was one of the 36 questions my girl crush and I spent last evening answering - not that we didn't already know plenty about each other - more as a conversational jumping off point than anything else.

As her husband joked when we told him about all we'd learned about each other, "You two would make a great lesbian couple."

What we all agreed upon by the end of today was that one way we'd spend that final year was exactly how we'd spent today: on the water.

When the captain said he was going to spend the day working out and cutting grass, I wasn't shy about asking him how I was going to get a boat ride if he didn't give it to me? It was enough to get him checking the forecast, only to find that there was no wind predicted, a bummer since we'd hoped to go sailing.

The way I saw it, though, that was of no consequence since he also has a motor boat, so a cooler was packed, bathing suits were donned and the dog began running in circles in excitement second only to mine.

What followed was a glorious two and a half hours cruising the Rappahannock on what turned out to be not just a a beautiful day but a recon mission. Once out there, we realized that the wind had picked up after all.

The two of them claim I bring luck with me, but I'm inclined to think it's more about what happens when we're together. We're magic together.

We'd passed under the Whitestone bridge and were tooling along when I spotted a dolphin jump out of the water, do a somersault in the air and slap his tail on the way back in. That was all the captain needed to hear to turn the boat in their direction, the better to appreciate the show these dolphins were putting on.

We'd seen dolphins in the river near the bay last year, but these were three young pups - no scarring on their bodies or fins - with endless energy and they were in full-on play mode. They didn't just swim nearby, they jumped, tumbled, rolled and entertained us in high fashion.

At one point, they ducked under the boat and came out in front of us, facing us head on and looking directly at my girl crush and I. I mean we locked eyes with these dolphins.

We came back through an especially narrow channel that took us by Parrot Island with its decrepit pier and overgrown green-roofed house and then within sight of Merroir and its colorful umbrellas.

Returning to the cottage only long enough to eat lunch, reapply sunscreen and repack the cooler, we loaded up the car and headed to the marina to take out the sailboat. It had been almost a year since I'd seen the sailboat and she was looking mighty fine, having had her bottom painted since I last saw her.

We headed out, passing a regatta struggling in a particularly un-windy stretch of the Carrotoman River and were greeted with whitecaps on the Rappahannock, an indicator of good winds just waiting to be taken advantage of.

Although technically I'm part of the crew, it's only my fourth time sailing, so my contributions are small and untrained, but I did well enough to be dubbed the "winch wench." Mostly I reveled in the sight, smell and sound of the river around us while they did the heavy lifting.

I did, however, contribute to the innuendo-filled banter that we're inclined to toss around, being great fans of each other and all. Today's recurring theme was "It only takes 15 minutes...and then a lifetime," a phrase we applied to everything from successful relationships to tying off sails.

After a couple of hours of pitch perfect sailing, we decided it was time to head back, but given the wind direction, it was a lovely, leisurely return trip that allowed the female members of the crew to stretch out on the bow of the boat under the jib (not to be confused with the lower part of the butt cheek, which has always been known in my family as the "jibs") and admire the mast and sail against a sky so blue it a good way.

If that's not zen, I don't know what is.

So it took us another couple hours to get back, not a one of us regretted a moment of such an idyllic sail. It's not always about the speed and angle of the boat, although some of us are inordinately fond of both.

Back at the cottage after our four hour sail, it was decided that Mojitos were in order and while the captain took over the outdoor shower, I was sent to the yard to fetch mint. When I asked where I'd find it, her response was, "The toilet."

Because all the best river people grow mint in in old toilet tank, you know.

We sipped our toilet Mojitos and ate dinner while crowing about how perfect our day had been. When talked turned to the Monument Avenue business and our young mayor, I wasn't shy about sharing my thoughts.

"Karen, I love your mind," my host tells me after I get off my soapbox and before he makes me watch a clip of Elvis dancing, part of a tribute to the 40th anniversary of his death today.

It only takes 15 minutes to meet a charming couple...and the rest of your life to enjoy their company fully. No less so if it's your last year.

Lucky me that so much of that time involves bawdy humor, dolphins and wind.

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