Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ciera's 4th

Ciera has written a guest entry:

We finally got out of the car at the beach house; greeted by partially dead grass and the most beautiful view I have ever seen. I have been known to exaggerate, but I will reaffirm this truth. In fact, every time I see the panoramic views of Vaughn Bay I still don’t believe it is a real place. We had made it!

Nick and I scrambled out of the car, ready to unload and get some much needed (and so far rarely seen) northwest sun. We spent the day reading, kayaking, and swimming. The exhilarating thing for me about swimming in the ocean is that it feels like playing Russian roulette. Lets be real here – my exposure to the ocean is minimal, and despite my constant eagerness to hop right in I have a paralyzing yet irrational fear of jellyfish. And the jellyfish at Vaughn Bay look like giant raw eggs sitting in a pan, or in this case, in the ocean. Getting me to jump in has far less to do with the freezing water, and far more to do with convincing myself to man up as I am barraged by images of giant jellyfish sucking my face off. But in the end I always dive in. Nick however, never does. This is the second and possibly most interesting part of my swims at Vaughn Bay. I spend at least half of my trying to convince Nick that it’s really not so bad, as he looks slightly pained while laughing at my complete joy of waves and salt water. This time he forgot his bathing suit. Likely story.

After my swim I had an unfortunate surprise. There was a giant jellyfish on my face! Just kidding. More unfortunate than even that, I could no longer walk without serious pain, and the lower half of my back seemed to have turned into concrete. I have spent all of my time since trying to lie down. This for me, at my favorite place, is a difficult task. My new endeavors instead of swimming or kayaking consisted of pestering Nick to play games with me like a six year old bothering her babysitter. Again, this earned me the slightly pained and yet amused look I frequently see on my boyfriend’s face.

Nick and I were joined at the beach house shortly before my swim by a small part of his extensive and lovely family. We were there with is Maman, his Uncle Harry, Harry’s wife Ling, Ling’s son Jackie, and their dog- the infamous “BowBow”. BowBow likes to spend her days grunting, snorting, barking at all speed boats, and peeing right in the center of the grass in front of the stairs where humans are most likely to step. So it goes.

But now to the most dramatic part of our 4th of July – the stuff family legends are made of. We lost Jackie. Rather, Jackie lost Jackie. This was Jackie’s first trip to the beach house, and as a beach house enthusiast I was pleased to show him as many things as possible that I found enjoyable. I’m not so sure he enjoyed them, but I did my best. About 5:30 pm, Jackie decided to go out in the kayak. (I was in pain and stuck in child’s pose on the couch, with Nick being my loyal yet chagrined companion). After tipping over once, he got going and headed straight to the islands across the bay. The problem was, he didn’t return.

As dinner was ready, we all solemnly sat down to eat, with a set but empty plate for our missing beachgoer. I kept looking out the window, and despite our piling dishes of salmon, corn, and sausages no one seemed very hungry. We all rushed back out again with binoculars to stand watch for Jackie on the beach. At this point it was nearing 8, and with each passing minute I felt more and more helpless. With dark approaching and fireworks blasting from the yards of all our neighbors it felt like the 4th of July had left us behind as we kept straining our eyes for the little yellow kayak. Soon, Harry called the Coast Guard.

And still we waited.

A phone call! Harry tried to rush up the ramp to the house, but instead fell and scraped up most of his leg. No sign of Jackie, but now they were sending out a helicopter.

As we found band aids for Harry, Nick and I looked out at the water in disbelief. Everyone around us seemed to be in full swing of celebration. But suddenly, around 9:30, a white Camry pulled up to the house with three men inside. A drenched but grinning Jackie hopped out of the backseat with a plateful of salmon.

A bumbling, jolly fellow named Tom and his friend had found Jackie, after Jackie had paddled past his deck about four times. They invited him up, fed him dinner, and spent considerable time trying to piece information out of Jackie to find out where he had come from (besides China). Apparently Jackie kept saying “Bombay?” instead of “Vaughn Bay” which led to the general confusion.

As the family celebrated Jackie’s safe return, the man named Tom jovially handed me his fork (His trusty fork that he brings with him when interrupted by a lost Chinese boy during his 4th of July dinner?) which I faithfully held on to as he drew Harry a map to go back and get the Kayak. After Ling snapped some pictures, the men were on their way.

Usually, my most favorite part of the 4th is the fireworks. And I must say, ours were exceptional that night, despite Jackie’s exhaustion and my pained penguin-looking walk. I am happy to report that despite our weekend’s track record of accidents, no fires were started. And everyone lived happily ever after.