The family plans were to spend the day on Lake Erie, boating and picnicking. What started out as a sunny day quickly turned to fog. Suddenly, a heavy blanket of fog surrounded the boat. We tried to get back to our summer home on Middle Bass Island.
My husband, Jim, drove the boat at a slow speed; he glanced at the depth finder and scanned the GPS. I looked across the bow to see nothing but a cloud of grey fog, the only sound I hear is the boat’s engine. My family and I are wrapped in a grey cloud of isolation.
“Before we left, I listened to the weather radio, nothing mentioned about fog. I hope this doesn’t blow into something worse. Lake Erie is known for its sudden storms. With all the islands on this lake you would think I could find one of them.” Jim talked as if he needed to reason with himself.
“I called the Water Patrol, talked to a Ruth. I told her we were okay, just lost. She said a fishing boat out of Canada is missing. The last they heard from the crew was an hour ago.” I said.
Jim’s mom, Grace, poked her head out of the cabin to ask, “How about some hot cocoa?”
From down below came our ten year old daughter’s voice, “That instant stuff is a cup of gross!”
“Sure, why not. It will take the chill off of Julie and me.” Jim said with his eyes focused on the thick fog.
“Okay, two cups of gross coming up,” Grace said with an assuring smile.
Grace is the rock of the family, always the strong one. When Jim’s Dad died she moved in with us. While Jim and I held down our teaching jobs, she held down the home front. Grace managed to keep our chaotic life at a somewhat normal exsistence.
When the weather turned for the worse, Grace herded her grandchildren down below to the cabin. Beth, our ten year old daughter, crawled into the aft cabin with a stack of books of Nancy Drew Mysteries. Grace challenged Tyler and Toria, our seven year old twins, to a game of Skippo. From below I hear Grace’s voice and the children’s laughter. She managed to keep the children busy, out of the way of their parents and away from the ever present fog.
“I don’t think the GPS headed us in the right direction.” Jim said, “It showed we had arrived at Put in Bay, but it couldn’t be. I checked the log journal when the fog arrived, I wrote down two hours. It’s been only an hour since we headed back for the island. No way could we be there. We are probably closer to Canada than Ohio.”
Out of the fog Jim and I see a large boat headed toward us. He sharply turned the boat and gunned the engine. I take a hard fall onto the deck floor, from below I hear the children cry out. Our boat is nearly capsized by the wave from the large boat. I try to get up to check on the children and their grandmother.
Grace called out, “The kids and I are okay.”
“Mom, I need a towel, Julie’s hurt. Julie, don’t get up, stay there.” Jim said with fear in his voice.
I reach up to feel my hair covered in blood. Grace applies a wet towel to the back of my head. Out of the fog the large boat appears, it slowly pulls up beside our boat. It is the missing fishing boat from Canada; a crew member called down to us, “Are you in need of assistance?”
“Yes, we are lost and my wife has taken a bad fall.” Jim yelled up at the crew member.
Soon my family and I are on board the fishing boat, with our boat towed behind it. A crew member told us that within the hour we would arrive at Ontario. While the ship doctor stitched the cut on the back of my head, the Captain offered to give the children and their grandmother a tour of the fishing boat. The Captain, an older gentleman, smiled at Grace with interest in his eyes, she smiled back at him. It is obvious they are attracted to each other. I wonder how Jim will handle the idea of his Mom having a boyfriend.
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