"There is nothing - absolutely nothing -
half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
Wind in the Willows
If you ever spend time on a lake or pond, and there's a boat nearby, you'll find yourself floating about on the water. There happened to be an old (and very heavy) rowboat at the Conner's camp. We had more fun with that boat.
Many times, we'd paddle to lagoon just a few camps away from ours. A small island protected it from the main part of the lake, so you felt like you hidden in a lost world. The surface was covered with lily pads, with yellow flowers scattered around. The bottom was only a couple feet beneath, and it was easier to push yourself along with the oar than rowing through the vegetation. Often you'd see frogs and turtles and fish lurking in the water. (There were other lagoons around the lake, but this one was closest to our camp.)
In an earlier post, I mentioned that our dog, Buddy, loved the rowboat. He'd wait in it until someone gave him a ride everyday. My brother did it most often, even in foul weather, but sometimes we three kids would go together and explore the coves and islands on the far end of the pond.
There was one larger island, basically consisting of large boulders, with some small trees and shrubs growing on it. We named it "Honeycomb Island." One time we found some large dark berries on it. They were bigger than blueberries and sweet. We brought back some to the camp. Mama scolded us good for eating unknown berries. She watched us closely for a few hours to be sure we didn't have to be rushed to the ER. (They were probably huckleberries, but it was pretty stupid of us to eat them without knowing.)
Often a wind would pick up in the late afternoon, even causing a few whitecaps on the waves. My brother, Jonathan, found a bamboo window blind and constructed a simple sailboat with it. I thought it looked much like a Chinese junk. He took it out one afternoon, and that thing worked! He didn't really have a way to steer it, and the wind took him far down the lake. I remember my mother sending Phillip with the rowboat to find Jonathan and bring him back.
It's a wonder we survived!
(a few more memories of Toddy Pond next week)