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  By The Light Of The Silvery Moon
  The News ~ fall 1992

eard a story at the Post Office yesterday. Woman from Newark, New Jersey - we'll call her Edith Warton, dragged downstream by her adventurous younger sister (Hazel, of 68 years) - appeared down at the boats an hour or so after dinner. The sun had set and a big beautiful full moon was rising high above the Canyon leaving the camp whitewashed in gorgeous, thick, reflected light.

   Well, Edith was miffed, nay, peeved nigh to pissed. She and Hazel had decided after a lengthy discussion to skip the tent and sleep out under the naked starlight. Hazel had planned to search out Cassiopeia. But the moon was putting out more light than the Vegas strip- so much light that not only were the stars wiped from view, Edith could not keep her eyes closed. They kept opening of their own accord, apparently under the mistaken impression that it was already morning.

   “Boys!!! Boooooooheeeeeeys! Are you still awake out there?”

   Of course they were. Knocking back the Old Weller's and telling tall tales from their arsenal of boatboy stories. The buzz bruthuz, hard at play after earning an honest day's pay and basking in the momentary relief from “the peeps” remained silent. But she could see them, sitting there, bathed in the glorious moonlight, which was closer to a bath than one or two had been since Nanko... stanko.

   “Hellooooooo out there…”

   “Ya'll got a problem, ma'am?”

   “Weee can't sleeeep!”

   “I'll deal with it,” Toad volunteered. He knew it could score a point for hanging in the harbor at Havasu. He rose like a tortoise and picked his way over legs and rubber to shore and the wailing woman. “It's that moon, son. That moon is far too bright.”

   “That's a full moon for you, Edith. Big, and bold and far too bright... Wonderful... you lucked out... not every trip gets a full moon...”

   “Well we don't like it. Hazel can't find her constellations and I can't keep my eyes closed.”

   “What would you like me to do about it, ma'am... UUUUghhggghchgg ?” Toad belched.

   Edith waved her hand to clear the air in front of her face and answered “Well put it out of course. Get rid of the light... something... We need our sleep.”

   A soft wind blew through the kitchen and carried a thought into the dulled but brilliant mind of the boatman. Toad looked about for an appropriate tool and found the perfect specimen waiting on the ledge not two feet from his cracking toes. He picked up the small chunk of Muav and offered it to Edith as a token of his esteemed affection.

   “Here, honey. Go ahead. You do the honors. Wind 'er up and put 'im out of our misery. Poor 'ole Mr. Moon, put him in his place. But before you do, I must say, ma’am, with all due respect, you look absolutely radiant tonight... standing there in the moonlight... with your hair all mussed up like it is, absolutely radiant... Dudn't she boys?”

   Edith giggled. “Radiant?” she asked. She put one hand over her mouth and giggled again. Toad reached out, carefully took her other hand and placed the weapon of destruction in her palm as though it were a daisy. Edith's fingers closed over the rough edges. She winked at the boatman; came close to kissing him on the cheek but he belched again in the nick of time. Edith laughed out loud.

   “Good night, Toad” she whispered.

   “Sweet dreams, ma’am.”

   Edith wiggled a handful of fingers in Toad's direction and set out to find her sleeping bag. Past blooming prickly pears, sparse grasses, sleeping red ants she carried her trophy of Muav and sang a little tune, barely distinguishable from her breathing. When she found her sister, Hazel was already sound asleep, by the light of the silvery moon.

Nancy Coker Helin 92

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