Our dock keeps running away from home.
We’ve needed a new dock at the cottage for several years. Wood deteriorates, and wood being mangled in the thick ice that heralds winter in cottage country is facing a lofty foe.
We – Roz, Gilly and I – own the cottage our parents purchased 42 years ago. That sounds like they made a decision to jump into the holiday home market. They didn’t; my Dad said he was going to check out a cottage. My mother gave him a look I soon learned said far more than words. That night he came home and we owned a cottage. I remember yips of joy from girls with no clue how much work was about to happen, and a look of thunder from a woman who did.
Gilly was up first last year, and called to say the dock was gone. Gone? How does a dock be gone? She called again to say they’d found it at the other end of the lake and had hauled it home with canoes and ropes. She and her husband managed to get it back on its crib, but she warned us it was a little precarious. The main source of security was a rope tied to the pump house. We started pricing building another dock and left it tied with a rope to the pump house.
A few days before I was taking up my crew this year, I popped in during a work jaunt. It’s called “checking on the mouse situation”. Every spring, you open the door nervously, wondering how many small intruders have left behind their caraway seed calling cards. Not bad, I noted. Less work than usual would be required.
Until I went to the lake, and stared at the naked shoreline. No dock, no rope. I called back home to let the others know. Roz said somebody probably stole the rope.
Ari and his friends, Ben and Pat, are all cottage veterans. We went up a day ahead of the others, and I’d warned them there was no dock. I’d also told them they’d have to find it; you can’t leave a dock floating around loose. I checked my rear-view mirror and saw 3 Tom Sawyers looking back at me.
In record time, they had the truck unloaded and were digging out paddles and life jackets. I heard whooping from the lake as they tossed a canoe into the water, and headed out like Viking warriors, if Viking warriors liked rap music, nachos and cushioned flip flops.
Not half an hour later, I saw Ari and Pat struggling to paddle the canoe, the waterlogged dock trailing behind them. And Ben, all 6’6” of him, standing on the dock waving to me.
“Hey, Swim Team,” I called, “why aren’t you at least kicking?”
“It’s too shallow.”
“So get off it and push.”
“The bottom is all mushy.” The two paddlers yelled unkind things to him.
When two more sets of shoulders got there, we managed to push it almost back into place though with a few inches of water covering most of it. Hunting for a rope, I found a thick cable with huge hooks on each end. Our cottage shed is a testament to the way my father faced the world: thick chains, violent scythes and about a dozen axes. We cabled the dock to a huge tree and pounded back some stray nails.
A new dock will be lovely. But I had 6 kids last week who couldn’t have cared less, and I was reminded we sometimes spend too much time worrying about the wrong things.
After all, they got to be Vikings.