Bonnie and Clyde Files 10

I gathered proper stones from the bank of the river and surveyed a suitable site for a harbor. In short order, I had built a harbor for my toy boat. I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out the boat. Clyde came over and tried to bite it. He thought it was a treat!

Bonnie showed up. Treats from my other coat pocket subdued the team and I placed the boat in the harbor—a snug fit. I watched the boat in the safety of the harbor for a few seconds…and…something seemed amiss.

Toy boats are meant to float, follow a current, take the wind. What kid playing with a toy boat wants to watch it in a harbor, just resting there? Where’s the adventure in that? Certainly the captain and crew are bored. So are the sirens and sea hags waiting to inflict torment on distant seas.

My friend had found the plastic tri-colored boat, a steamer of some design, in dry dock, in the basement of a forlorn old house. When I first inspected it, I felt her in decent seaworthy condition and that she would become the flagship of my fleet that I would collect and bring to the river. Launching any vessel never crossed my mind.

It certainly did now! It was obvious the boat must sail! I had to release it to the river this very gray morning.

I knelt down and picked up the boat. Bonnie and Clyde came over to observe. I walked upriver 20 yards and the dogs followed. I knelt down again and set the boat upon the water as far as I could reach out into the channel. I stood up and watched.

The boat spun in slow circles, then caught the current, nosed forward, and started floating down the river. Clyde thought about going in after it, but I held him back.

I followed the boat as it picked up speed. I snapped a couple of photographs continued to follow. A short stretch of mild rapids approached and I wanted to see how the boat handled that challenge. At that moment, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to name my boat or christen her on the maiden river voyage. What blundering!

She spun around twice and the bow went under more than once, but she survived the rapids in fine shape and then found a slack side channel and got pointed in the right direction. She floated around a bend and my nameless toy boat vanished from my sight, heading down the Lewis and Clark River, into Young’s Bay, into the Columbia River, across the roiling bar, into the Pacific, and undoubtedly to Japan, where some child would find her at the wrack line, and wonder how she ever got there.

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