Conversations

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come? (Psalm 121:1 ESV)

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We’ve been on the river for three days now. It’s been pretty much a relaxing time. We get up in the morning and enjoy our morning coffee and hot cereal. Oatmeal for me, grits for Les.

One of the preparations for the trip, when traveling with Kokomo, our reluctant, but amiable boat dog, is that we have to think ahead to where we might let her off to get her potty break. The first night, we landed the boat on a fairly steep sand bar, and Les and Kokomo climbed off the front of the boat, and sunk into the sand a little. After Kokomo sniffed around a bit, and left her mark, Les lifted her back on the boat. I coaxed her in through the front hatch window, wiping sand off her feet. Les climbed the small ladder, after hefting the anchor back on the bow, and I gently backed the boat off the sand bar. Nice teamwork!

Next we dropped anchor in a quiet inlet, except for the mooing cows, a machine pounding in the distance and the whistle of the lock and dam. (We made it through the Howell Heflin lock earlier in the day, with a little wrangling of the boat, and wrestling with our expectations of how smoothly the operation should go. (Les and I think differently, literally.) He thinks in linear, spatial, logical ways and I feel my way through situations; problem solving and improvising as I go.) This can lead to heated conversations, especially when neither one of us wants the boat to bang into the side wall inside the lock.

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Part of our struggle occurred because I was trying to hold ropes, and take a picture at the same time. Once Les got his rope secure, he came on the back of the boat to give me pointers on how to get the boat settled. I did get a little bent out of shape, but once we waded through our various ways of looking at the situation, I asked him to please take the picture. And he graciously did.

Later that day, I had to admit to another mistake. I tied the boat to the dock using the back rope first. Les reminded me that I should use the mid-ship rope first, and I retorted, “You never told me that before.” And he just looked at me, patiently explaining that we have more control when we tie off the middle rope first. I apologized immediately because, he was right. And I did know that, I just forgot.

We anchored near a state park last night, and enjoyed a balmy breeze while Les grilled chicken off the bow.

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The dock where I recalled how to tie off a boat.

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One of my favorite things about boating is the solitude we enjoy. We tend to travel during off-season, and this year we decided to travel upstream, so we have had the river mostly to ourselves, and our little pit stops allow for us to enjoy the quiet. We found a secluded little dock, where white lilies greeted us, and we had time to brew a second cup of coffee, while the dog wandered around the grassy knoll. Little conversation, yet we communed together sipping coffee and enjoying the greening of spring.

Today, we were heading to a marina, after two days being anchored out each evening, we looked forward to a hot shower and shelter under a covered slip. (Rain is in the forecast.)

In the morning, we heard two tow captains on the radio. One asked if the other one could get past him, because apparently the first one was out of gas. The second one asked if there was anyway they could help. The distressed captain replied no, someone was coming. They conversed some more, and then the second one said, “Are you sure? We want to help, if we can.” Some how that phrase hit a chord in my heart, because so often I resist help.

“We want to help you.” The we of the Father, Son and Holy  Spirit came to my mind. A little nudge. We WANT to help you. Not we are able, or we are willing, but we want to help. (I wish you could have heard the tone of  the man’s voice, it was just so beautiful to hear another human say, “We want to help you, if we can.”

I treasured that thought the rest of the day, and tried to remain more open to the help of others, even Les.

When we pulled up to the marina tonight, the marina manager was super helpful and seemed so happy to serve us. He just started working here, and it was obvious that he is proud of his work. It was a real friendly kind of day, and we made it through the lock without much fussing today.

One last conversation of the day. There is a restaurant that looked closed near the marina. After Les got back from checking in with the marina manager, I asked if they knew anything about the restaurant. Les replied, “They didn’t recommend it.”

Have you overheard or had an interesting conversation lately?

 

 

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