Friday, March 2, 2012
I grew up spending part of my summer vacation and other school vacations with my Aunt and Uncle in North East Harbor on Mt Dessert Island in Maine. A quaint little Island community, where life was slow and easy in the winter until the, “Summer People” arrived.
My Uncle did outside repairs, got cars ready for the summer, (spit shined to a high gloss) and picked the Summer People up from the airport when they arrived. My Aunt cleaned their Mansions and got linens ready for their arrival. I was blessed to be able to see all these places first hand and play in them while Auntie readied them for summer. I remember pretending I was rich and she was working for me. I was every beautiful rich star I could think of. Some of the summer homes were so big I could actually lose myself in them. I would call to my Aunt and when she responded, I followed her voice to find my way back to her.
Each summer I was taken,” Down Street” to one of the high end clothing stores where my Aunt purchased a full ensemble for me ,head to toe…
I remember a time when I got into a bit of a quandary. My Uncle had taken me to the dock many times where he had a little skiff tied up. He would row me out into the bay and we would have our lunch out there as we watched the boats come in and leave. I asked several times if I could row the boat,” Not this time, you’re hardly strong enough to handle it yet,” he would say. What I heard was a challenge. I didn’t have to prove anything to him but I had to prove it to myself.
I had a friend named Diana who lived a few houses down and asked Aunt Doris if I could go and play for a couple of hours.” Yes,” she said,” But don’t go anywhere else.” I won’t!” I exclaimed. As soon as I was out of her sight, I headed for the docks. I sauntered up to the skiff, untied it and jumped in; I took the oars like I knew what I was doing. It was my luck that there were not too many boats moored there that day and I rowed out into the bay with ease. I made a few tiny circles, my arms felt like jello! I sat there for a bit to rest and realized I had just passed two boats that were moored. I had no inkling that when I took the skiff…The tide was going out, and me along with it! I knew I had to muster everything I had in my little body to get this boat back to the dock! I could see a man standing on his sailboat watching me and I could see the concern cross his face. I rowed with everything I had but I wasn’t making any progress. If anything…I was losing ground. I was bawling like a newborn baby and I just couldn’t row anymore as the boat slipped further out into the bay. Is that a motor I hear? Up beside me in a boat comes the man from the sailboat. With tears running down my cheeks and the hiccups to boot, I look into his eyes with a,” Please Save Me,” look. He nods with a slight smile, takes the rope on the front of the skiff in his hands and tows me back to the dock. I tie the Skiff up and as I look back at him he leaves with a wave of his hand and returns to his sailboat. That man potentially saved my life. I never said a word to anyone about my adventure; I knew the price I would have to pay would be too big. I learned that day that I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody not even myself and that it is ok to be weak, we are all weak…until we become strong.