A Boat Story


I borrowed a co-worker's umbrella and went for a walk in the rain.  (I never have an umbrella of my own.)  I just needed to clear my head and be outside for awhile.  And watch people--I love watching people.

The man who was whistling so loudly that I think he had a dark secret he was trying to drown out of his thoughts.  The young dad--who looked otherwise completely out of his element--fretfully covering his newborn to keep her out of the rain.  And the old man selling wooden toys from a tent on the corner.

The last one made me stop and look.  As previously established, I'm a sucker for old men selling handmade wooden items on street corners.  He had a rainbow of dump trucks, fire trucks, airplanes--a little boy's dream, really.  But the boats were what finally caught my attention.

"Go ahead, try one out," he indicated a rubber tub filled with water.  "They always float right-side up."

Clumsily trying to keep hold of my umbrella, I did as he said.  The little boat seemed adequately seaworthy.  Indeed, it popped right back up when pushed to the bottom of the bucket.  So I asked, "How much?"

"Twelve dollars," he replied.

"Well, I don't have that much cash, but let me walk around to the ATM...."

He interrupted, a bit proudly, "Oh, I can take a card too."

He slowly pulled out his cell phone and began to hunt and peck for the right buttons.  As he squinted and looked confused, the man in the booth next to him (selling photos) stepped over to help.

"Now, you have to get back to the right starting place," the photo seller began, as I smiled and did my best to project complete patience.

Eventually, I paid and walked away with my new boat.

I meant to keep it as a surprise for a special moment, but the Kid accidentally caught a glimpse of it sitting in the car.  So, of course, we had to go try it out.

With the rain we've had, Sweet Husband and I guessed that a nearby playground would be full of suitable puddles.  Alas, all we could find was a tiny one, not much good for floating but fun for dipping toes in.

Happily, the boat worked well in the bathtub, instead.  And I think it will be even more fun if we can make it to the river this weekend.