Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Missing the Boat

"It's so much friendlier with two."
-Winnie the Pooh

We owned a house in Texas once- in as much as anybody ever really owns anything. We did not stay there for more than a year but in a brief span of time we made a number of friends and established some cheerful and indelible memories. Purchasing a house opens one up to new contacts as it is such a lengthy and complicated process.
Our Realtor, who quickly became our friend, took me out for shopping excursions, showed me the local areas and bookstores and encouraged me to meet people, that Spouse and I might become acquainted with the community.
One such time she thought it would be fun to go canoeing on the river that runs through downtown Austin. There were many grassy and shady nooks along the bank and despite it being in the heart of a city, the river was very beautiful.
We hired a canoe, dragged it as close to the water's edge as possible and prepared to climb in. We had to walk in the water first so my friend took off her shoes and flung them into the boat.
I did the same. One of my shoes, however, kept going, flew out over the boat and landed with a miserable splash in the river.
I stood numbly on the bank and wondered what to do next. The entire day would be a disaster if spent with just one shoe.
Without a thought for anything but said shoe, my friend stepped into the current and waded until she was more than knee deep in the Colorado River. She grappled around below the surface and grabbed my shoe before it sank too far and was lost forever.
In the interim she had forgotten all about her cell phone, which she had put carefully into her pocket. The phone had been submerged for a good minute or two. As things turned out, it never did function again. She kindly and patiently laughed it all off as an adventure.
We rowed as we had intended, splashing serenely through the water, slicing the river with our paddles, passing careless idle turtles perched on wet and floating branches.
I cannot separate the two events. I think of the solitude of the slapping water, the mild rolling of the boat, the lush green of the park we set out from, and I think of my sodden shoe and a ruined cell phone; and I think, too, of how utterly useless the excursion would have been had I gone canoeing by myself, even if I had possession of both shoes.
The company we keep nearly always makes the day.


Anonymous said...

Your story reinforces the truism of friendship - without good friends what would life be? Not much really.


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Steve, you summed up my feeling exactly. It would be a lonely life with not much to look forward to, without friends and someone to share it with. Thanks for your thoughts.

polona said...

that was a lovely story.
friends are necessary but true friendship is not easy to find.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Polona, thank you very much for your kind comment.
You only need a handful of good friends in life but it's rare to find even that. That's why it's wonderful when we do.

Pauline said...

Turn about is fair play - I am equally delighted to have been introduced to your blog! I am not going away permanently - just not posting as frequently as during the winter months. I still take time to read some before bedtime however, and am pleased to add you to my reading list.

I liked how you weighed the happier aspects of the trip with the cell phone/shoe incident and how you cannot now separate those memories. Isn't that just what life is - the balance between good and not-so-good?

julochka said...

i'm always fascinated by memory and what our brain chooses to hold onto and what it chooses to link together in memory.

Beth said...

I agree with jolochka, it's really interesting how our brain synthesizes an experience down to a bundle of bound together memories and ties them up with a bow. Beautiful story.

Pappy said...

Town Lake - A beautiful respite in the middle of an ever growing city. Austin has some real beauty downtown in spite of the steady influx of steel and concrete. I'm glad you had the chance to see it. My realtor from Austin showed up at my motel room door in Bermuda shorts and cowboy boots. He said, "I'm the worst d@#%&* realtor in Austin, but I know where to get the best steak in town, let's go." We went, and he was right. As it turned out, he was a great realtor too.

julochka said...

...really excellent title to the post, by the way...

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Pauline, thanks for your comments. I'll be back to read your blog too. I agree, life is all about finding a balance. It's not all one way or the other.

Julie, it's funny how you can be in the middle of something and all of a sudden a memory hits you, one from a long time ago. Where do they come from after all that time? I always like to read your thoughts on memory and perception.
Thanks for the note about the title, too :)

Beth, that's just lovely- "ties them with a bow." And true, as well as poetic!

Texican, yes, Town Lake, that's the place. I was astonished by how beautiful it was despite the urban setting.
I'm glad you found a good realtor also. We were very lucky to find ours. She helped us so much.

Jaime said...

A wonderful time with friends and nature is truly worth more than a pair of shoes and cell phone...personally, I might have tossed the phone into the river voluntarily! (I am trying to stay anti-cell's getting harder in this busy world we live in.)

Barb said...

Friends are such a treasure ... the cell phone was a small price to pay. And what a selfless act on your friends part!!!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, she couldn't really toss the phone because she is always on call as a realtor and very busy. (When not canoeing, that is). Other than that, I'd do the same ;)
Everything seems to get faster and faster and there's so little time left for anything, it seems.

Barb, yes it was a small price to pay. And yes, she just dived in to get my shoe :) I never forgot it.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

entertaining story...yes friend do make a day!

austin is a wonderful area - I lived in texas myself for 8 years (and married a boy from texas) and have many good friends that live in the austin area, always thought if I had to live in texas the austin area would be where I'd want to be....lovely hills, rivers, lakes, great music, and of course the famous bats of congress avenue!

texans on the whole are just about the friendliest folk (but there are exceptions to every rule)!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Kimy, I remember the bats.
Austin is beautiful, true. We had less than amiable neighbours, though, and people who patrolled our street anonymously and ensured we got notes if our front lawn grass grew more than an inch high. We once left Christmas lights hung on our outside balcony until mid January. They were colourless, and were not lit, and were up high.
We got a note asking us to remove them immediately :|
That of course wasn't the only reason we left but if you haven't got good neighbours then what do you have?
We have good memories from the time there but we had to move on.
We loved San Antonio also, for a day trip.

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