Thursday, July 14, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 24: Call Me "Ishmael"

          Believe it or not, I am the captain of a ship.
          Okay, it's more of a boat. A small inflatable one. However, I have a pretty decent imagination, and I once had four crewmen with me on it, although when I told them to "hoist the mainsail," the ensuing argument about the existence of said mainsail caused the boat to capsize.
          Before I got my boat--ship--two summers ago, Nemesis and I decided we really, really wanted to play pirate out on our new pond. Our first boat was a sheet of plywood. Unfortunately, we were not familiar with the principles behind flotation. In retrospect, we shouldn't have let it drift so far out from shore before jumping on.
          After we retired inside for a change of gear, wisely settling on swimsuits this time, we began looking around for another boat. Our little red wagon was our next victim. After fishing it back out, we collapsed on the bank despondently. Well, Nemesis collapsed; I landed on duck crap and hurled myself back into the water to wash off. Washing completed, I chose a better resting spot and we watched goldfish for a while.
          After a while, my sister walked down to the barn to drop some treats off to the chickens. The stupid rooster started crowing. "Dumb bird," I muttered to Nemesis. "Aren't they only supposed to crow in the morning?"
          In one of those moments that seems like God is smacking you upside the head, my brother and I sat up with the exact same thought. "The chicken tubs!!!"
          We had two of them, reserved for the chicks that we got each spring. They were huge, and I was confident that this time we wouldn't have to swim for it. We dragged them over to the pond with much effort, got a couple of sticks, and gingerly climbed in.
          It worked. True, they were a little hard to control with the sticks we used for paddles, and they yawed alarmingly at the slightest redistribution of weight,but we were sailing! We played pirates for a while until I managed to capsize Nemesis's craft and sink it; re-floating it was so hard that we decided to knock off pirates for a while and play something safer. We set sail again and pondered...then I saw the fountain and pointed dramatically.
          "Thar she blows!!"
          We both flipped over, we were laughing so hard. But our course had been set--for the rest of the day, we hunted whales (well, we did have some pretty good-sized goldfish). The only thing we caught was a toad, though, and Nemesis accidentally dropped him back into the water when the toad...uh...did you know they drink water all day in case someone picks them up?
          We used those things all summer. The next year, I was able to pick up a really nice inflatable raft off of Amazon and have been using that since. I like my current ship, all right. But I'll never forget my first boat...which is currently home to some new chicks.
          I wonder if they'd appreciate a tour of the pond?

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