Our second wedding anniversary etched pulse-pounding memories that still haunt me after thirty-plus years. A two-year marriage isn’t ripe yet. We were post-college, pre-children, and sleeping till noon some Saturday mornings. Our planned celebration for the second milestone included several days stay at a resort. My bride snuggled next to me on the bench seat in our new truck as we clicked off the miles toward our destination.
The room was nicely decorated but had an unusual feature. Mirrors covered the ceiling above the bed. That seemed an odd place to hang mirrors, and engineering curiosity drove me to climb a chair to inspect the mounting. Once I was certain the construction was sound I plopped on the bed to rest after our long journey. The excitement of new discovery flooded my mind.
First, I had an inkling of an idea of why the mirrors were where the mirrors were, and I marveled at the genius of the decorator. Too bad I’m nearsighted. Second, I discovered the bed was not a mattress, not even a sunken mattress like those usually encountered in a rented quarters. The bed was an ocean with unending waves, and the slightest movement started the tempest churning. As my lady sat down to change shoes a tidal wave of sea-sickness rolled me onto the floor.
It was about this time I noticed a rash on one arm and a closer investigation revealed that the other arm and both legs were also covered. Poison ivy, the gift that keeps on giving, had joined our celebration. Sight-seeing endeavors took second place to locating a drug store for a remedy.
Our evening plans included a romantic cruise, and although I was covered in sticky cream I was convinced nothing could dampen my spirits as we chugged across the water. The huge river afforded a behind-the-scenes view of the city and the shipping traffic that boosted the economy. Engrossed in the sites we missed the threatening skies to the east. The high winds over the ocean whipped the inland river into scallops of waves that tossed us in multiple directions simultaneously. I lasted two minutes before motion sickness became the soup du jour, and the journey to port seemed forever. Dinner for me was saltine crackers bathed in rich 7-Up gravy, a meal fit for a king.
Our days included strolls through beautiful gardens, and visits to eclectic shoppes. I learned that the extra e means bring extra cash. My attention span for shopping expired, though, and I suggested an adventure, a canoe outing. With sunshine and blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and a soothing spring breeze, what could go wrong? On the map the body of water I chose was surrounded by land which technically made it a lake. Canoes and lakes were made for one another.
The lake bordered an inviting swamp complete with hanging vines and stringy green water and the explorer in me blossomed as we floated into the unknown. Each dip of the paddle released noxious gasses, but the view among the vine-adorned cypress trees was stunning. I ignored the warning signs about the alligators. The gators were in the water, and we were in the canoe.
After meandering around the swamp for some time my First Mate decided her legs were uncomfortably crossed in the proper canoeing position. She uncrossed which changed her center of gravity. As she was busy situating herself I observed we were about to graze a cypress tree which was not a problem, at least until the First Mate saw the tree and panicked. Canoes have no brake pedal so she attempted an emergency stop which involved smacking the paddle on one side then the other, emitting a piercing scream, and finally, attempting to stand in the canoe to hug the tree.
My last vision was the canoe squirting away from my feet before everything went green.
See you next week for Part 2…