Timless Voyage

January 10, 2010
In the unturned pasture of my grandparent’s lot, sits an old, unused boat with an idle engine and cracked leather seats. I wander my way toward the side of the twenty-footer, which is filled with my childhood memories. I drag my hand across the sturdy metal surface. As hands rub across the dry, rusting boat, I come across the chipped and peeling paint. As each piece falling to the rocky russet ground of Nana and Papa’s land, my youthful days float with the chipped old paint to a time long ago when I was carefree and the boat was our vessel of vivacity.
Built out of love and made for water, the boat always filled my youth with a voyage of family fun during summer days. When we pulled up to the lake lot in Papa’s truck, Brownie, the crunching of drought coming from the parched grass is heard along with my wet flip-flops as I flop my way to the tied boat on the shore of Lake Athens. The holler of a neighbor across the way saying “Hey Johnny!” to my grandfather leaves an echo in the air while my cousins and I load the luscious, smooth watermelon onto the boat’s floorboards that are hot on my feet. The chirping of crickets and the soothing melody of the whooshing water as it gives and takes with the sandy shore like a calming romantic dance, are gently heard in the background. The splashing of the neighbor’s children as they jump off their deck and laugh, and the faint callings “Marco-Polo” of their childhood games are heard from the distance.
My balance is lost when the boat gets pushed off the shore and I land backwards into the lap of my aunt. The back of my hand skims her cold, damp hair and I let go quickly, awkwardly laughing off the fall with the rest of my sun-burnt family. As Papa drives our ferry of happiness gently to the middle of the lake, I can hear the clunk of the water heavily splashing against the boat’s sides. I reach across the sun-warmed metal handles, on the edge of the boat, which I had been sternly gripping. Stretching for the shimmering caps of the lapping water, I allow water to spray my face. Cold and satisfying, the water strokes the tips of my fingers, making them tickle as the boat moves. I look up from the water ecstatic by this feeling, searching for Papa to show my satisfaction with a big huge grin and he nods his head and gives me a smile as if to say, “Go on, you’re doing just fine.”
The old boat does its job with the sun beating, the perfect song on the radio and the fun of the lake. The taste of sweet tea still left in my mouth and the hot sun beaming down on me while the breeze of the boat brushes my hair, I sit in the captain’s seat feeling stately. The brightness of the sun peaking around the clouds and into my eyes. The sun crowns through the fluffy, bleach-white cotton balls hanging in the air. A glitter of sunshine trickles out from the dazzling ginger ball of a bright glow and dances a dramatic tango with the sky. The sphere of daylight exposed the skies with two-toned colors of pink lemonade and orange juice.
In my sparkly pink Wal-Mart bathing suit, I plug my nose and give out a girlish yelp as I run off the deck of the boat. Cold water stings when I first hit the water, so I move my arms and legs in a circle until my body loosens up. Country music twang of Alan Jackson and George Strait fill the boat with singing. The sweet scent of freshly cut, perfectly picked, prized watermelon hits my nose and my lips curl up in a smile of fulfillment through my singing lips. The gleaming of the bright white and maroon paint of the boat shines the Aggie colors proudly in the sun and leaves it hot.
Shimmers of golden rays ooze out by the bright orange ball of light onto a buried sight, just before the sun plunges into the mouth of darkness to repose itself. Fireflies on a summer’s night scatter against the dark water playing tricks on my eyes. Pops of fireworks and the sparkle of their colors can be seen in the sky, while a juicy, orange Popsicle hangs from my mouth. After all the excitement of the day, the water leaves me sluggish and ready for bed. As I lay my head against the side of the leather seat, I force my eyes to stay open.
I take my hand off the rusting boat side letting the memories fill my head as I take a step onto the deck hoping it won’t give in. I take my old seat back into the now faulty captain’s seat. Memories flood back of being that little girl having the best of times on this aged boat. Times when I felt truly alive, was cruising on that boat. It was just a little lake in the middle of Texas but I was high on a mountain when that boat was in the water.





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