Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prayer and profanity

I was at my daughter's house for dinner last night with her family and was reminded of this. Her children hate this story I have told before, about her and me. She was born in 1963. In 1978 the two of us came out to the cottage for the evening, on Lotus Island in the Salish Sea. It was November and a looming dark, cold, and misty night. We came out for a short stint ,me after work in my good suit, and her, after school. It was still a little light and she said to me "I'm going to row out and look in the crab trap"." OK " I said. As she left, I could see the tide was carrying her away from the trap, and then it started to rain and became darker. As I squinted across the harbour I lost sight of her, but I could clearly see the little islands, The Three Sisters, in the harbour beyond where she would be. I was certain that she was in the water! The neighbor had a boat and I raced over there, only to fall into a creek on the way,with blackberry thorns and three feet of water. I struggled up the bank of the creek, praying mightily, covered in mud, with my trousers torn from the thorns. No one was home and the boat nowhere in sight. The other neighbor was a rock musician and recording artist. He didn't have a boat, but I raced to his place in panic and knocked loudly on the back door. By now it was dark. He came out of the bedroom, stark naked and his lady behind him, also starkers. I didn't notice! I said to him that my daughter may be in the water. He assured me my worry was groundless. He seemed quite cheerful. Who knew? We went down his rickety steps to the beach. The tide was fully in and we were all standing in three feet of water, me, rock musician, and lady, all of us yelling into the mist. Suddenly, I heard the splashing of oars and a stream of invective from my 15 year old, who had found her way back. She hadn't drowned! That stream of profanity was in response to what she thought were young people making fun of her. I can't tell you how deliciously wonderful that invective was. We must have been quite a sight! All dishabille, daughter in good form. She seemed to have come up from nowhere!

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