Being 11:00 a.m. on the seventh day of September, I and five of my many relatives set forth on Castle Rock Lake. We had every intention of gamboling in our boat, which was owned and captained by my Uncle Joseph, and returning around four in order to ready ourselves for supper.
Our expedition began uneventfully. We had brought with us a tube, which we tied temporarily to a stranger's unused dock while my father skiied behind the boat. We then retrieved the tube, and I was given command of the helm while my sister was towed behind us. Having never captained a vessel unto this point, and being unfamiliar with the controls, I did my best and traversed perhaps a mile of open water. Uncle Joseph then regained control of his vessel, and I joined my sister upon the tube.
Only a handful of times have I ridden in such a vessel. The tube's handles were in odd locations, so that my sister and I were nearly lying on top of one another. But we sallied forth at tremendous speeds, and my body was lifted into the air multiple times, soon after which I requested to return to the main vessel. My sister, however, continued tubing; we lost two hats and a pair of goggles on our voyage, and only one of the hats was recovered.
The time now being past noon, we put off our gamboling to find a sandbar on which to consume a picnic lunch. The first sandbar we lighted upon was far too small for our purposes (there was a mere two feet between the water and the underbrush), and so we left once more. All this time, my sister we towed behind us on the tube, and she nearly fell asleep as we drove slowly beneath a railroad bridge, then through a channellock (a word that means nothing to my non-nautical mind) to another bar of sand.
This island proved much more suited for our purposes. It was surrounded by minnows, some quite large, and at least three frogs leapt into the bushes as we set up our umbrella and chairs. After running the ship aground, we dined on sandwiches prepared for us by my Aunt Lily, and as we had misjudged the amount of water we would need to bring with, I drank soda in an effort to save the healthier beverages for my parents.
With our luncheon thus finished, my sister and I decided to explore our surroundings. We found a small cove of lily pads, which I had never seen before in person. We waded to another sandbar where we found the tracks, we presumed, of a doe and her fawn, along with more minnows and a beautiful pink flower that our mother thought might be cloves. We then explored the extent of our original sandbar. There was a large area we could wade through, but it dropped off steeply past a certain point, so that I was treading water while my sister four feet away from me was merely ankle deep.
After a pleasant foray into Doyle's The Sign of the Four, as I had brought the book with me sealed in a Ziploc bag, we desired to return home. The hour was 3:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter, and there were ominous clouds forming to the north of us, the promise of rain along with them. We weighed anchor, loaded our chairs and our persons, and shoved off.
Uncle Joseph plied the throttle, but nothing happened.
The jets were clogged with sand, and we were stranded.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.