The old man nearly coughed up a lung hauling the twelve foot dingy down the beach to the water, dragging it over piles of driftwood, gravel, and rocks. His hip-waders had sprung a leak somewhere along the way, and water was slowly seeping in, soaking his toes on the right foot. He’d forgotten to put a plastic bag over his foot before putting on the boots as he normally did. He’d been forgetting a lot of things lately, he noticed.
If she were still around, she would never let him out the door on a day like this, let alone anywhere near the water. The waves crashed against his legs as he struggled to shove the little boat up and over them, scrambling at the same time, to climb in. He managed to slam into one of the oars, popping it out of the oar lock and sending it overboard.
“Shit,” Matthias mumbled. “Won’t due having only one of the bastards.”
Using the other oar, he paddled furiously toward the one escaping. Unfortunately, the current was strong and pulled the little boat south even though the waves were carrying the desperately needed oar toward the north. Matthias fought his frustration as he relentlessly battled the tide and the current, making no progress whatsoever towards recovering the oar.
A spasm in his lower back caused the old man to straighten up and catch his breath. Looking around, he was shocked to discover how far down the beach he’d floated. It became apparent how useless his one oar struggle had become.
Matthias sat as far forward as he could without sending the small craft head over teakettle and paddled for shore as furiously as possible, to no avail. It seemed the harder he tried getting to shore, the faster he was being swept out to sea.
Sighing deeply, he brought the oar he had into the boat and took stock of the situation. The bad news was he didn’t even have a life jacket, he had one very wet and cold foot, and he had no control over his destination.
The good news was, she wasn’t here to berate his stupidity, and if all went the way it appeared to be going, he’d be bumping up against the dock at Anthony’s Restaurant at the Port of Everett in about two hours.
Just in time for dinner, Matthias thought. And still with a bit of daylight to spare.
The desperateness of the situation disappeared. The old man sat back in the small craft and smiled. He loved Anthony’s, and he’d always wanted to go to dinner by boat. In his mind, he was already ordering a cold beer and a large bowl of their famous clam chowder. He’d figure out how to get home later.