The Rowboat

I stepped out onto the back deck and realized I didn’t need a jacket. The sunny spring afternoon was warm despite there being a few drifts of leftover winter snow dotting the yard. Folding my jacket over my arm, I commented to my daughter, Tammie, “I’m bringing the coat with me. When the sun goes down, it’ll get chilly.”

Tammie, who was a few steps ahead of me, turned and asked, “Which car should we take? Yours or mine?”

I apologized, “I’m sorry, I should have filled my car’s gas tank when I was in town the other day. As it is right now, my car doesn’t have enough gas to get to Wausau and back. Let’s use your car tonight and mine for the rest of the weekend.”

Niki, my other daughter, had invited Tammie and me to join her at a cooking class put on by Grebe’s store in Wausau. We happily looked forward to attending without a stop for gas first. Without another thought, we got into Tammie’s 2016 Mazda.

Doctor Susan Ksiazek of Wausau conducted the cooking class. She provided each guest with the recipes. We had good vantage points from which to observe as she demonstrated how to make several Spanish dishes. As she finished each creation, helpers quickly plated the food for us to sample. The courses included gazpacho, tortilla Espanola, Paella, and flan de leche.

Filled with wonderful Spanish food, my daughters and I headed home, happy after spending such an enjoyable evening together.

Tammie and I left Wausau driving west on interstate highway 29, expecting to spend the rest of the evening relaxing at home. When my daughter exclaimed, “Deer!” I glanced up just in time to see a large deer in mid-leap one foot in front of the car. A moment later there was a thud and the car swerved. The deer flew up onto the windshield and onto the roof. In my peripheral vision, I saw it drop off to the left of the road. Tammie kept the car under control and pulled off the road. We turned to look at each other in shock.

The car’s engine was still running, but unevenly. Alarmed when it seemed to rev, I gasped, “Quick, turn the engine off before it catches fire or something!” Using the flashlight on my phone, I got out to look at the damage. The right front bumper was completely ripped off and the hood was buckled. A trickle of water leaked from under the car.

Thankfully, the deer didn’t go through our windshield and the airbags hadn’t gone off, but I feared Tammie’s car was totaled anyway. The response to our 911 call was quick. With the officer’s lights flashing behind us, we waited a long time for the tow truck to arrive. The lights gave me a headache, which worsened when I noticed a big smear of deer fur on the center of the windshield.

My daughter shakily asked, “Did you happen to notice if it was a buck?”

Shaking my head, I admitted, “All I noticed was that it was still wearing its dark, winter coat.” Pointing to a snow-filled cornfield to the right of the highway, I commented, “And it had just finished eating.”

Three days after the accident Tammie was looking for a car to replace the Mazda. I suggested, “Let’s see what Gross Motors has. That’s where I bought the Yuppie Yacht, a white 2002 Buick Rendezvous loaded with several luxury features.”

 The dealership did have cars that fit my daughter’s requirements. The one that Tammie eventually chose had heated leather seats, heated steering wheel, all-wheel drive, and a moon roof. She wasn’t fond of its white color, but she liked that it had a rear door instead of a liftgate.

When I saw Tammie’s new car, I exclaimed, “It looks like the Yuppie Yacht I used to have, only much smaller!” I laughed, “As big ships carry rowboats in case of a disaster, your new car looks like a rowboat for the Yuppie Yacht.”  

I feel bad that if my car had not been so low on gas the night we drove to Wausau, I would have been the one who needed to shop for a new car. But Tammie purchased the same car I would have purchased, ‘The Rowboat’, a.k.a. ‘Yuppie Yacht Junior’.


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