Editors note: This story has been serialized into six parts which appeared weekly in The Wanderer
By Rudd Wyman
Responding to a solid whack on my shoulder – hopefully not Hanky – I hug my friend, Dave Barker.
“One more set and I’d have cleaned your clock,” I tell him, and Dave laughs. We had some exciting tennis matches, and I often wondered if Dave and Jill juggled cupid’s arrows. The distant memories keep coming back.
Dave’s father, Hump, owned a 34-foot yawl, Barkeroll. Dave, Jack, and I sailed to the Vineyard for the annual Edgartown Regatta, a party weekend with a traditional Yacht race. After leading one hour into the race, we either lost our bearings, made a wrong turn, or had too many beers, and several boats followed. We did not know where we were, but Captain Dave made up for it with speed. Later, after several beers and apologies, everyone laughed.
I learned a valuable lesson on this voyage. While Jack slept, I filled his nearly empty beer can with salt water. Awakening, Jack took a slug, retched, spit, and reached for his “shoot a frisky shark” gun. Dave grabbed him around the neck, saving my life. Fortunately, Hump sold Barkeroll before three disillusioned argonauts’ formulated plans to join the New York to Bermuda Race, with or without loaded guns.
Memories of this Point Connett reunion will be treasured. The time is getting late, and I need to find Jill, luau alumnus and my favorite twin.
After Jack’s early death, Jill and I became Point Connett’s hooligan twins. With a bear hug, she kept me grounded on the stone pier as I fought and landed a seven-foot blue shark on a spinning rod. During the war, we exchanged Morse code messages by flashlight from facing bedroom windows. We were competitive: three-legged and potato sack races, tennis, Monopoly, beer-drinking games, and Go-Fish.
I used to kid Jill that anyone over 35 faces health issues. Now, with her snow-white hair and pushing the Cadillac of streamlined walkers, I find Jill chatting with June, another luau alumnus. June is escorted by Henry Wiggington – Hanky winks at me and says, “Maybe next year, Rudd, and keep up your writing.”
I wish Hanky a happy life, give Jill a long overdue hug, and ask her if June is a volleyball fan.
Jill replies, “You should have asked Hanky if June plays volleyball.”
“Hanky lies,” I say, but why should anyone care about an entirely plausible relationship? “Go-Fish,” Jill says, with a huge contagious smile.
It is important to spend quality time with my hooligan twin in this special place where mischievous behavior ignited exposure during our parents’ generation. Jill’s potato sack and three-legged marathons are history. With a few health problems of my own, including a couple of urgent visits to overcrowded ER rooms, we could discuss our medical issues. Definitely, I am proud of Jill for not belaboring a happy reunion with hospital talk.
“We’ve had good summers, Rudd, but why did your Mom accuse me of driving her car off of Redman’s Pier?”
Not wanting to destroy a mysterious moment, I ventured that my Mom did teach me to drive in a straight line.
The fact is that neither of us was driving. When Oman discovered us on the following morning of the late-night party, we were asleep next to Mom’s Pontiac, with its front wheels buried in the sand. After a wet smooch from Guntha, I envisioned the inevitable music of facing our parents, who had the Police looking for two hooligans in two states.
Jill, “Is that really what happened?”
August 15, 2011
Many proud ghosts of this and past generations have left treasured footprints in the Point Connett sand.
I had hoped to read this Essay to Jill, being cared for in a Marion nursing home. However, I did not get there in time.
Today, Jill is sailing on a great white cloud hopefully with caring angels, telling her to, “Go-Fish!”