Okay. I will go ahead and admit that today was not my best day. I drove 40 miles to pay a contractor for work at our cabin at Compass Lake and forgot my checkbook. It was a sign of things to come.
After having to drive back to Donalsonville to get to my checkbook, I finally made it to the lake several hours later than I planned. By then, the workers I had planned to meet with had already left for the day. I wonder what my Dad would have said if I had left work with six hours of sunlight left?
It was then that I discovered that someone had stolen the keys to the little boat that I had just bought to have something to putter around on in the lake. I also discovered the culprits had removed the battery container lid to see why the boat would not start. I could have saved them the trouble, as the whole reason I was there was to change the same dead battery.
I decided to bring the boat home which meant I had to move the trailer from where the construction crew had moved it when it was in their way. After 15 minutes of pulling and tugging, I found I could not open the gate wide enough to get it out to the road because of erosion due to the storm. Argh!
At that point, a gentleman walked up out of nowhere and offered to help. He moved the gate that I could not budge and with his help I had the trailer out to the road. Half of my mission was accomplished.
Fortunately, there was enough juice in the other battery to use the trolling motor so I didn’t have to paddle all the way down to the boat landing. However, I managed to break a small piece that locked the motor in place in the down position. I had no way disengage the locking pins to pull the motor up so I could put the boat on the trailer. Argh again!
Yet another stranger walked up, the second in 30 minutes and offered to help. He was swimming, but managed to pull a knife big enough to dress a deer out of his shorts. I guess he was expecting to catch some really big bass. With his trusty blade, we soon pried the locking pins out and had the boat on the trailer. I honestly could not have done it without the second stranger’s help.
I went to the cabin where I could no longer find the key to the house. By now, what little breeze had been coming off the lake had completely stopped. The earlier rain combined with the increasing heat made it a literal steam bath as I walked here and there looking for the key.
Just as I neared my wits’ end, I finally found it. I had put it in my truck so I would know exactly where it was. This getting older thing is more challenging than I ever realized.
I crossed back over the Chattahoochee River a bit before dusk. I was worn out, had sand in my shorts, was aching from getting in and out of the boat and just a bit disgusted with how my day had gone completely opposite from how I had planned.
It was then that I saw it. The blanket of green that has always been a sight to behold since my childhood days. It was a field of peanuts that was close to lapping in the middle. Green as far as you can see.
It was made even more beautiful because of the damage and destruction that has been so much a part of our lives since last October. It was orderly and neat. It was a sign of good things to come. A return to normalcy. It honestly made my heart soar.
So at the end of a long, hard, and mostly unproductive day, I was faced with the fact that I had not one, but two complete strangers go out of their way to help me and got to see a beautiful field of peanuts to boot. All in all, a pretty good day after all.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org