The Boat at Our Little House

Our 1979 Sea Nymph, built the same year we met

Dale and I have never been early season boaters. From the first year we had our boat, when we bought it in July 1996, we usually didn’t get it out until at least July.

Life – or more accurately – work usually got in the way of the maintenance and cleaning it needed before being launched for a new season.

However, we’ve never been as late as we were this year, but given our track record of going against the grain in life, leave it to us to be getting our boat onto the water when most people are pulling theirs out.

A shortage of money for new batteries, gasoline and fishing licenses were our excuses earlier this year and then work, as it usually does, took over our lives for most of the summer.

A couple of weeks ago, I told Dale I could live with his working part of the holiday weekend in lieu of a trip to Kansas City if we could at least get the boat out. We spent all day last Sunday prepping the boat for its’ 2010 inaugural launch and it was well worth it when Saturday rolled around.

We spent the late afternoon and evening floating in our backyard and with the exception of the huge pleasure boats and personal watercraft, it was a glorious day on Bull Shoals Lake in the Ozark Mountains. On Sunday and Monday, it was the sunrises we watched from our seats in the boat.

The trips didn’t yield many fish (we catch and release anyway), but as the old saying goes, “A bad day fishing beats any other day.” We reminisced about our first years with our “new” boat, which was then 17 years old.

When we bought it, the aluminum deep hull V, it was in excellent shape but was completely void of anything on the interior but a small dash. Dale built fishing decks on it and we added a trolling motor and depth finder.

The trips to Wyandotte County Lake in our home city, where our first rescue, a Dachshund named Hershey, was known as the “dog with the pink life jacket,” by park rangers and other regular boaters. Sundays on the lake always ended with a stop at Wyandot Bar-B-Que when of course, Hershey even got a few treats of meat and fries.

Labor Day weekends now long past on a “pond” that was bigger than some lakes, outside of Topeka, Kans. with about a dozen good friends, fine camp food and great fishing. The founder of a large pet food company owned the land and a friend of ours was caretaker.

Those weekends were followed by our annual week-long vacation on Table Rock Lake at a resort where we could rent a boat slip for the week. Of course, it was also dog friendly, as Hershey traveled everywhere with us. Our last trip there was in 2001 when we took my mother, who was already more sick than we realized with COPD.

Of course, this weekend, while floating on the water near our shoreline, we remembered how Emma loved the water. I could almost see her jumping in and swimming from shore to shore in the narrow area of the creek behind our house that empties into the lake. She wasn’t like Hershey, Emma didn’t like the boat and we couldn’t even take her bank fishing as she would chase the lures.

The last time the boat made a trip was Labor Day weekend in 2003 when construction on Our Little House was finally complete. We brought her from KC to her new home. Since that time, Campbell Town has been her permanent dock.

Dale has long wanted a new boat; he thinks this one is ugly and he keeps coming up with reasons to replace her. “They don’t even make parts for a 30 year old motor anymore,” he recently said. “If it breaks, the guy at the repair shop said it would be impossible to fix.”

I know we probably won’t be able to keep our less than attractive 1979 Sea Nymph forever. But she is a part of our history now and holds many good memories. This weekend, she ran better than ever.

For now, it runs, it floats and it continues to deliver good times.

That’s all that’s important.

Is living on the water part of your dream? If so, lake or ocean?

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20 Responses

  1. Kristi says:

    Ironic, we got our kayak out for the first time this year on Labor day also. We have a 1920’s era fabric covered wood kayak that the husband gave me for Christmas a few years ago. He has spent way more time working on it than time in the water. But it is a conversation starter when we take it to various lakes in the area. It is beautiful, but a tad fragile. It doesn’t like pokey sticks at all.

  2. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri, we have a small inflatable dinghy with a 15HP outboard motor. We named it “Pantofla” because with its canvas shade up it looks like a huge floating slipper. The brand of the dinghy is “Mostro” which is pretty funny if you are an Italian like my husband, because it literally means “monster”. Anyway, our monstrous slipper takes us faithfully to hidden coves and deserted beaches in the area and makes for wonderful summer living. Even in winter, when the weather is sunny, we load our doggy crew and head for some deserted stretch of coast for a nice long walk. When we hanker for fresh fish, my husband speeds off in the boat and often brings dinner home. I’ve mentioned here before how living by the sea has been our dream and our “Pantofla” helps us live this dream. It’s not elegant but it suits us perfectly!

    • Kerri says:

      Wonderful, Vida! I LOLd at picturing your floating monster slipper in my mind. But like I tell Dale, it floats, it serves us for fishing and we have fun. Who cares what it looks like! 🙂

  3. Kathleen Winn says:

    I love the name of your boat- the Sea Nymph! Sounds like a good novel! I also enjoyed reading your reminiscences of times past that you and Dale enjoyed on your boat. I can relate to the fact that even though you love your boat, a whole summer can slip by without getting it into the water. Since we’ve embarked on our house moving saga, my horse has been languishing in a pasture, sucking up grass and wondering where I am. She stays at my sister’s barn and my sister told me the other day that any time a car drives up and parks in my spot, she trots over to see if it might be me. I don’t know if she’s really thinking that or not, but feel guilty for not having made the time to take her for a ride. Your blog reminded me that I have to take advantage of these Indian summer days before they’re gone!

    • Kerri says:

      Hahahaha, Kathleen, I wish I could take credit for her name, but that was actually a model of boats made by Lowe. I was reading the manufacturing label on it while cleaning it and I think it was made in Indiana, I imagine by a hardworking boat builder as Dale currently is.

  4. Alexandra says:

    It was interesting to see how sentimental one can get about a boat! I am a land-lover myself. When I visit Sweden, everyone feels at home on boats and folks seem to think I’m pretty odd being such a city girl who holds on for dear life on any necessary crossing to an island, for instance.

  5. Kim says:

    I’m a river gal myself, but I did spend an amazing day on a sailboat once that made me understand you Lake People. (That, and a friend with a family getaway house on Bull Shoals. That was an awesome place to relax!)

    The storage/upkeep issues that come w/ owning a canoe keep us from investing in one… someday when the toddlers are bigger and good swimmers, we’ll invest in one and hit the water as a family. I cannot wait!

  6. My brother-in-law has gotten into building wooden boats, but still doesn’t get his gorgeous handmade boat out into the water much. I think it’s just hard for all of us to prioritize our passions over work and household responsibilities, no matter how passionate we are about them. So glad you got out on the water!

    • Kerri says:

      I was watching “On Golden Pond” the other night, Melanie and swooning over that beautiful old wooden boat Henry Fonda has in that movie. I bet your brother is very proud of his build!

  7. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Frugal Man is a stunt plane pilot who can twist and turn you every which way in the air, but gets seasick on boats. Go figure. I love being out on a boat though.

  8. MarthaAndMe says:

    I’m glad you had a chance to get out on the water. It’s a great feeling. Our dogs like to go for boat rides too!

    • Kerri says:

      I just told Dale that we need another official fishing dog. He didn’t think much of the idea, it is much easier going out when their isn’t a hyper dog running from deck to deck, falling in the water every now and then. Hershey’s life jacket had a “handle” on it and we could fish her out of the water like a six pack! 🙂

  9. Heather says:

    Too bad we don’t live closer. We’d help you with the boat for a few rides now and then. Right now our only “friends” with a boat is the Washington State Ferry System.

    • Kerri says:

      Living that close to the ocean and you have no friends with boats!? Time to make new friends, Heather. 🙂 I wish you lived closer too. You could always visit! We promise you a boat ride.

  10. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    A small mountain stream would be be nice. Very peaceful.

    • Kerri says:

      I love nice mountain streams. We have both – well the one behind the house is actually more of a creek than a slow moving stream – it empties into the lake below to the side of our house. I love hearing the water rushing from the creek into the lake after a good rain.