It's been beautiful lately; yesterday, the lake mirrored puffy white clouds. But infusing everything is the heat, saturated and intense.
Don had to get his boat motor serviced this week, which necessitated getting it off the lift on the boat dock, where it generally stays, on to its trailer, and to a town some 60 miles away. The service completed, he brought it home, where of course, it had to be launched off the trailer to get it back to the dock.
When he asked me to help him yesterday morning, I agreed, but silently wondered how it was going to fit in an already busy day. Don had to get to work early, so we went first thing in the morning. As we left, he assured me, "If we don't get into a hillbilly fire drill, this won't take long." Maybe he shouldn't have said that.
We drove across the lake, and Don, after pulling up and back a half dozen times, got the boat into a good position to launch. I slipped into the driver's seat as he unhooked the strap to the boat and climbed in. Backing the truck slowly, I hit the brakes on his signal. That's when the boat was supposed to slip gracefully into the water, but something was holding it up. It turned, as if on an axis, still attached to the trailer. It was then Don remembered the extra safety strap that a friend had attached for him. The problem was getting enough slack to be able to disattach it. Thinking I might be able to help, I took off my Timex and waded into the water, clothes and all, just as Don, up to his waist in water and balancing on the edge of the trailer, finally freed the boat. While I held the boat in place, he maneuvered it into position, and finally powered off to the dock. The cost so far: Don's watch and old billfold, and the cell phone I retrieved from my pocket, dripping wet.
I made my way home with the truck, the trailer following so nicely that I hardly knew it was behind me. As I turned into the driveway, I couldn't see the trailer, and something felt funny, so I stopped and went back to look. What I saw astonished me. In my wake was a pile of rubble where the fence used to be. I had taken out a good 18 feet of fencing, an oak corner post, 2 braces, and 2 street signs. On the back of the trailer, metal was twisted into a bizarre shape, wires were loose, and a taillight was broken.
Don was a prince about the carnage I had caused, assuring me that the trailer could be fixed, and the fence, well, that old thing needed to be replaced anyway. And that, I like to think, is a good dose of Ozark grace.