Sunday, October 17, 2010

Out of the Rain and Into the Potluck

We left Hampton, VA, for the Dismal Swamp Canal, knowing that there would be rain. We got loads of it, plus a very brief thunderstorm, so we just crossed the bay to Portsmouth and tied up to a dock there until the storm passed. The rain backed off just enough to get going again, and we made all the bridges, which have very strict opening times. Norfolk, VA was one big industrial site, scenic in its own fascinating way.

Once we passed out of Norfolk and entered the Deep Creek River, however, the water narrowed, and we passed through bucolic woodland. The rain stopped just as we entered the river.

A few hours later, we arrived at the Great Dismal Swamp Canal, which was created in the early 1800s. We just barely made it in time to get through the first lock, which is run by a fantastic guy named Robert. His pitt-sharpei mix, U-Turn, stood watch while we got lines in order.

Once we got to the other side, we coasted in to the last slip on the free dock, and the sun broke out. We sat enjoying the first real dry moments of the day.

Finally, we went to our first cruisers potluck, an induction of sorts into the community of long-time cruisers. Dinner and drinks were fun, and the company was great. Still, as I washed up that night, I realized with some vague wonder that I'd just been in a boat with two men who had, serving in different decades, fought for the U.S. against Asian enemies. They had been nothing but warm and funny with me, and I liked them a lot. But there is a part of me that wonders how they would have greeted me decades ago, before I opened my mouth and spoke the same English that their daughters and grand-daughters speak. I don't know many senior war vets, or even American seniors of the WWII or Korean War age, so I am curious.

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