Monday, January 12, 2015

Story Telling Contest

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

I entered a story telling contest yesterday. I didn't win :-( even though Libby and I though my story was unbeatable. But audience applause was the judge, and I finished in the middle of the pack.

The rules were:

  1. Sea stories (absolutely true)
  2. Limited to 5 minutes.

 Here is my story. Comments are welcome.

I love ice cream.
I love ice cream, but I hate ice cream trucks. I’ll tell you why.
I love sailing in October. I learned that up on Lake Champlain in Vermont. In October I could experience all types of weather. I could hear the calls of the migratory snow geese, and I could thrill at the fall colors. October sailing became a tradition for me and my family. 
Years later we moved to Sweden. I found one friend, Sten-Örjan, who also loved to sail in October. Lake Malaren, where we lived, connected to the sea via one lock. Sten-Orjan and I could go out to sea and cruise among the 20,000 islands in the Stockholm archipelago. But our preference was to cruise on the lake itself and to enjoy the natural beauty of the land as well as the water. Most years we sighted no other vessels. We had the lake all to ourselves. 
Sten-Örjan and I sailed in all kinds of conditions. But one day in particular stood out. That day. Ah that day. 
We camped the night before on an island famous in Swedish folklore. Norwegians will tell you that Vikings came from Norway. Danes will tell you that Vikings came from Denmark. But Swedes claim that Vikings came from this specific island on Lake Malaren. 
Over the camp fire, Sten-Örjan told me the story about how it was the responsibility of Viking children to deal with their parents when the parents got too old to pull their own weight. The children took their parents to the cliffs of this island and pushed them off the cliff into the lake. 
We arose the next morning to find very light wind and pea soup fog. We had no radar and no GPS, but there were no other vessels, and it was warm, so we decided to sail anyhow. We had good visibility of the vas because a six foot layer of clear air separated the surface of the water from the fog. 
Vas is the Swedish name for a species of reeds that grow in shallow water. Vas are not like cat-o-nine tails, but vas are the source of fall colors in Sweden. You see, in the fall, the leaves on the trees in Sweden all turn the same color of yellow. But vas has yellows, and reds, and orange, and browns and greens. Swedes love their vas. I learned to love vas also. 
Sten-Örjan and I were ghosting along the shore of the Viking Island. Ghosting means to sail in very light wind. Our speed was less than half a knot. The wind and the water, and the boat and the sails made no noise at all while ghosting. Sten-Örjan was at the helm and I was posted as a lookout at the bow. 
Somehow, the fog made sound travel extra far and extra clearly. We could hear cows mooing in a field far away. I heard the creak of a screen door gently opening then closing. A family of minks swam nearby. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the vas, the serenity of the moment, and sounds coming from places that I couldn’t see because of the fog. I strained my ears to hear even more faint but distant sounds. 
Well. I don’t have to tell you what happened next. Without warning the tranquility of the moment was shattered by an extremely loud musical jingle coming from a glockenspiel mounted on an ice cream truck. 
I love ice cream, but I hate ice cream trucks.

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