the only bone i ever broke was my little toe. i wacked it against the propeller as i climbed the ladder after diving into the Mississippi. every weekend we dove into the river, floated on air mattresses and inner tubes and drank in the refreshing freedom of boat life.
there was an oval not quite complete, a small opening to a safe haven from the controlling current of The Mighty River. we would dock, set up a tent, chairs, and build a fire.
later, when we were exhausted from fighting the current and stuffed to the brim with bbq, corn on the cob, and all the cookies, we would bundle up in sweatshirts and jeans – refusing to roll them up off the ankle and letting the sand eat away at the legs. the blackness of night pushing us to a fire that we impatiently pressured down to coals with our minds. s’mores were on the menu.
mama taught us about marshmallows. mama showed us how to position the puffy goo just right so that it melted on the inside and browned on the outside – a masterchef needs no kitchen, just coals and a skewer.
papa would set his on fire, blow them out, then pop the whole thing in his mouth. his grin would outshine the fire and his chuckle would carry across the middle of the circle beach when mama scowled at his burnt sugary mess.
we three kids would sit and push and whine and moan. that’s my spot! those are the best coals! mama would coax us to quiet and stage graham cracker and chocolate. we would make mallow after mallow after mallow until our stomachs ached and our smiles faded to queasy unease. mama would smile and sing a song so sweet our stomach pains wafted away in the smoke of the fire.
my bed on the boat was under the screens off the back. there were beds for late rises down below. a sanctuary where the sun would never reach except when i snuck down to change from pajamas to swimsuit. the water would be my shower.
before ten i would be in the water, and my brother would follow soon there after. dad would take the griddle to the beach and start the bacon, the eggs, the hash browns. oh! the glorious hash browns. wet and shivering i would turn my bed back into a table, then jump back into the water’s warmth.
the day would slowly catch up to me, the best laid plans of siewert boys wearing us down until it was time to go.
invariably, summer would come to a close. we would sneak trips out on The Mighty River bundled up in jeans and hoodies and tool around, spending time on beaches and feeling the water laden air breath through us. these were good days, too, but not like summer. not like the days of worn out water play and bellies full of grilled goodness. like the days of family time and forever memories.
there are many a picture for this post, but mamabear has them all and she is recovering. when she’s better, we’ll add her pictures of the boat that was our weekend home, and the sunsets and sunrises forever etched in our minds.