Today, early, before the rain started and while the air was calm, I sipped coffee in silence, mesmerized by the still surface of the lake.
In a half daze, I suddenly saw a boat half a mile across the bay, speeding away from a pretty little point jutting out from shore, always a brilliant beacon from my perch in the Palace.
My mind wandered to the near-full moon rising above the bay last night. It was a wonderful, cloud shrouded night. I grabbed a camera and positioned to capture the Saturday night geranium moon shining from the far shore into my face through a hanging basket of brilliant flowers.
"Wouldn't Ma love this," I thought, reminiscing about her many visits over the years. As I watched the moon I could envision my mother sitting with me, a blanket draped over her shoulders to keep out the slight chill. She would show the contentment of a lady at peace, but her eyes would twinkle bright with mischief. Her mischief came often, unexpectedly, but always welcome. I think sometimes that she has moved on, still clutching some unused marvels from her bag of mischief.
I continued to watch the speeding boat across the lake. It was going much faster than most boats, angling away from me, heading for the main lake a mile east at the mouth of our bay. I thought it strange that I couldn't hear the motor.
Once my vision was obscured by a tree in the yard that came between me and the vee left behind by the racing boat I hustled inside, grabbed my binoculars, focused across the bay.
Last evening, before the moon rose, I discovered a Mallard hen and nine tiny ducklings hanging out between the pontoons of my docked Minnitaki Queen. I had gone into town to transfer boats and captain a surprise birthday scenic cruise for a grand young man and his beautiful family. It was a glorious outing and I was able to share pictures I took of the ducks as I hung over the rail of my big boat. The ducklings were so tiny I'm sure they were hatched only hours before I discovered them and it seemed special that all nine of them and the birthday boy shared the same birthday.
Two hours later, after the cruise, I again transferred from the Queen to my Pelican Belle for the return to camp. The mother Mallard and her brood were still at my dock, hunkered onshore in a patch of grass for the night.
The boat I saw with my naked eyes, speeding across the water, was nowhere to be seen through the binoculars. More puzzling, besides the disappearance and total lack of engine roar, was the mirror surface of calm water. No wave or wake broke the stillness.
Several hours and a pot of coffee later my wandering mind wished my dad a happy father's day. He was only 49 years old when he died 41 years ago. I thought, with much happiness, of my visit to dad's grave in Ohio last fall, only a few months after my mother joined him there. It was nice to see them together again.
As I smiled and lost myself in pleasant memories from years gone by, I looked up and over to the beacon point across the lake where my brother and I scattered a handful of Ma's ashes last summer.