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Chick Ludwig

AND YOU CALL ME OLD CODGER?

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   Old Codger has been fussing at me to take him out for a ride on the lake. It’s been too cold. We’ve been too busy. I’ve been too sick. Too many excuses. Well the other day, the weather was warm. We weren’t very busy. I was feeling good. No more excuses. So I asked the Codger if he wanted to go. Silly question! I told Miss Debbie about our plans and she wanted to go too. I short day trip was planned. I loaded up a life jacket for Miss Debbie, a life jacket for our new pooch, Pepper, cooler for lunch, plenty of gas, and all the other stuff we’d need. I even had a couple of big cushions stashed below that were left over from my fiberglass skiff building days. Good thick comfy ones. I was anxious to try them out. Especially for Miss Debbie. Hard seats make her “bun bones” hurt.

   Off we went. We stopped at Subway for hoagies (subway sandwiches, y’all) to have for lunch. They went into the cooler. Oh, it was excitin’! A day on the water! On comfy seats! It was a pleasant ride down the mountain to Lake Keowee. Heading for a high of around 70 degrees. No rain. But cloudy. Just as we were getting to our favorite launching ramp, I got to thinking, “Where did I put the key for the cabin?” I know that I had set it out with my wallet and car keys last night so I wouldn’t forget it. It’s not in my pocket. Is it in Blue’s drink holder? Guess I’d better explain that “Blue” is what we call our Ford Explorer. He’s blue, ya know. No, it’s not in the drink holder. Glove compartment? No. “Miss Debbie, did you bring it?” No. Maybe I put in in Codger’s seat locker. No. Maybe in the cooler in the other seat locker. No. Check my pockets again. No. ask Miss Debbie again. NO! Gotta face the facts. No key.  Hope I didn’t just lay it on Codger’s seat and it blew out on the way down the mountain. Old Codger put up with my griping and complaining as long as he could before blurting out, “ And YOU call ME the old codger?!?!” “ WHO forgot the key?”

   Well nothing to be done about it. At least we can still take our ride. Without the big, thick, comfy seat cushions that were locked up in the cabin. So, launch the boat, load Miss Debbie aboard with Pepper. Climb in myself and set out. I did have the throwable device (cushion) that our Coastie friends require. I sat on that. There was an old cushion from a lawn chair that I keep in Blue for when I tie a kayak on his roof, so Miss Debbie got that. The pup didn’t need a cushion.

  It was a pleasant ride with not much to report. The big thrill of the day, beyond eating our lunch, was stopping at a little beach on island #15 to stretch our legs and let the pup have a run.

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   That was about it.  Except maybe, in all honesty, I’d better tell y’all about another problem that soon arose from MY coginess. I always like to have a destination on these little trips. We weren’t far from a long cove where Raccoon Creek enters into the lake. It would be just about the right distance to take us through the afternoon. I looked at the lake chart to be sure I knew where we were going, and off we went. Ya gotta go around island #17 and then head into the entrance to the creek. It’s a rather large entrance, with several other coves on either side.

   If you missed my explanation on these island numbers in a previous story, I guess I’d better stop and explain. You guys on salt water have the aids to navigation to tell you where you are and where you’re going. Buoys. The lakes here are different. The islands that are numerous as you travel down the lake, have signs on them with a big number painted on. That number corresponds to numbers marked on the lake map. Maybe you don’t know that all of these lakes are man-made, and formed by damming up rivers that flow down out of the mountains. They are narrow, but long, with lots of coves and islands that were left above the water level when the lakes were filled.

   Now, back to the story. We headed up the cove that seemed to be the right one. Nope, dead end. Let’s try another. A quick look at the map, and off we go. Nope. Dang! This can be confusing! Let’s try again. That one over there must be it! Ah! That’s better, looks like we finally found the …….. DEAD END! Doggone! (Don’t worry, that’s just an expression. The dog is still sleeping on the cockpit sole.) One Last try. Let’s go back to island #17 and try to get our bearings. About now I hear Old Codger chortling. “Ha!” “If you hadn’t forgotten the key, you woulda had the GPS. With the compass. The one locked down below in the cabin. Then you’d be able to tell which direction to go.” “You dumb old codger.” What could I say. He was right.

To end what’s turning out to be a long story, I’ll finish up be telling you that this time we had the right cove. It was a nice ride to the end. Raccoon Creek ends where you go under a highway bridge into a big, shallow, muddy pond where we sometimes go turtling. There’s a launch ramp nearby where we take our kayaks. On the way along the creek we saw a really cool boat. About all you ever see on the lakes are ski boats, pontoon boats, and jon boats. But here, tied to the dock is what appears to be an old raised deck power cruiser about 28 feet long. It had classic lines and was fitted out with bronze hardware and plenty of brightwork. I’d say that it would have been built back in the 30s or so. I dunno. I’ll post a couple of pictures for ya.

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  So, back to the ramp and home. The story wouldn’t be complete without the post script. When we got home, the first thing I did was to go searching for the key. I looked where I keep my wallet and keys. No. I looked on the table in the garage next to the door where I sometimes lay things. Nope. I looked on the ground where I mighta dropped it while loading the boat earlier. No. I looked EVERYWHERE! No key. Then I went into the house wondering how I could get a new key. I only had the one. I’d lost the spare when the key ring broke last summer. Never got a copy made.  About now I glance over to where the key usually hangs between boating excursions. There it was! Laughing at me. O could hear Old Codger out in the carport laughing. The dog was laughing. The cats were laughing. The turtles woulda been laughing, but turtles can’t laugh. Miss Debbie knew better than laugh. Last thing I heard was the boat saying under his breath, “And he calls ME the old codger.”

 

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