Whenever I'm at the lake, I could spend hours just watching people drive their boats by the house.
Sometimes if you're really quiet you can hear them make comments about the house, or the flowers, and if you sink low enough in the chair people can't even tell you're there. Usually they cruise on by, make a comment about paint color or cosmos in the garden or the old farmhouse that sits on our property and then putt putt away to the next house to see.
However, a few weeks ago it was nearly dark when a tiny fishing boat, with a sputtering engine rumbled by. But instead of commenting about the house, there was some major excitement on board. "Make sure you've got all your stuff!" "Is Mark gonna get the four wheeler?" "I have to be home by dark my mom said."
I immediately perked up in my chair and set my wine glass down. All 5 of these young boys had head lamps on. Head lamps, and a lot of fishing gear.
Mom came out on the porch and chuckled about the boys, she mentioned how they have been coming in almost every night at dark and they tow the boat with a four wheeler. I almost didn't believe her until about 7 minutes later the roar of a four-wheeler echoed off the water.
Our house is directly next door to the public launch. I leapt off my chair and ran to the cedar hedge. I pulled the hedge apart and stuck my head out to watch.
The one I'm assuming was Mark was oh-so-carefully backing up an old four-wheeler with a dodgey boat trailer attached. All 4 of the remaining boys were flanking either side and EVERYONE was giving him directions.
"SLOWER SLOWER! SLOW DOWN!" "turn left! no right! I meant left!" "you're going to fast Mark, you are going to fast."
After a few minutes they cranked the boat up onto the trailer. I was mesmerized. The boys can not be old enough to drive but the nighttime fishing trip was obviously an organized operation.
Mark hoped on the four wheeler and handed an additional helmet to one of the other kids who hoped on the back. My heart skipped a beat when he handed that helmet to his friend, I love safety. And then, like thieves in the night the remaining three hopped into the fishing boat and Mark took off, they sat on the benches in the boat and whizzed up the hill at full speed behind the four-wheeler- legal? absolutely not. But badass when you're a 14-year-old boy? Oh heck yea.
I was amazed, and in love. It seemed more like a scene from "Stand By Me" or "The Sandlot" than something that 5 teenage boys would be doing on a Saturday night in 2015. It was such simple fun. "The Boys of Summer" I named them when I returned to the porch.
For the last few weeks I've kept an eye out for the Boys of Summer to return. Maybe they chose another launching point after getting skunked on our end of the lake. Maybe mom found out about how exactly this fishing operation worked and put the kebash on riding on the fishing boat behind a 4 wheeler. Or maybe that part of the summer is over, football practice has started again and its time to bulk up.
The Boys of Summer fish on the exact same lake that Ernest Hemingway learned to fish on with his friends. The one that he rowed his first wife Hadley across, in a wooden row boat, on their wedding night, and the one he wrote about regularly for years after he left. The Boys of Summer don't know that. They just like to fish. With their friends. And they really like the part about hooking the boat up to the four wheeler and zooming home just before darkness completely swallows the day.
Ernest would have loved that.