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
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
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, maam, 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, maam.
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