We had just finished the racing part of Polly’s Folly Fall Regatta, an annual small- boat event on our local lake, and had come ashore for the celebratory barbeque. As the adults stood around eating and drinking, a small horde of young boys ebbed and flowed through the crowd finally lighting upon our outboard-powered tin skiff. All of these boys had been out in various sailboats, canoes, or kayaks during the day, but nothing, for them, could match the beast with the “nine-nine” outboard. Here was the thrill of freedom and speed (though modest), an elixir for the 13-and-under set. They could be heard whooping and hollering with joy. And that is what Polly’s Folly Fall Regatta is all about. Joy.
Later in the evening my wife, Polly, patron saint of said regatta, had just arrived back home with the last of the leftovers. “You have to go back,” she told me. “The Big Dipper is in the lake.”
Out on the end of the dock, the lake waters were smoother than ice. The air was still warmish for late September, and there were stars. I could see some reflected in the water. Soon my eyes grew more accustomed to seeing, and there, as if shining from the bottom of the lake, was the Big Dipper. This was the glorious finale. A curtain call by Mother Nature after a fabulous day of small boats, friends, family, and food.
Little dippers on boats, big dippers in the water, I am very pleased with the life I’ve been able to lead. On one weekend, all of my loves came together—friends, family, boats, water, nature. And one must not forget—barbeque.