It was late July or early August and we were all at the lake, hanging out at the old cabin. It was just past sunset – that time of day when everything cools off and those familiar night sounds begin to echo from the surface of still waters. There was always a damp earthiness that filled our senses reminding us that we were part of a unique environment, tied closely to nature.
We could hear them talking and laughing, our mothers, the ones we were at that moment uneasy about. It was getting darker by the minute and as we paced the length of the small beach we wondered about their unusual behavior.
Shadows from the thick forest of evergreens kept the little paddle boat they were in well hidden. The two sisters, paddling around the shoreline of our mountain lake, laughing and talking and drinking wine from a box they’d brought with them. They didn’t normally do these things, drink wine in a paddle boat in the dark, that is. They were normally home, waiting on all of us kids, making sure we were safe and in sight.
Finally, we spotted the small boat in the moonlight heading towards the shore. They paddled it right on to the beach then struggled to climb out of the low vessel without falling and landing in the lake, apparently finding the situation quite humorous.
We were quiet, not saying a word, yet stepped forward to hold the boat steady and give them a hand.
They looked at us as though we had no business being there, then momma shrugged and she and her sister grabbed the box of wine and their glasses and headed up to the cabin, still talking as though they were the only people there.
“Don’t worry,” Dad chuckled from somewhere in the darkness. “It’s good for your mom once in a while. They’re just having a little fun.”
We took the line and pulled the paddle boat to the end of the dock and tied it up.