In my mind I’m thinking, “Okay, there are four of us, and four of them, we can definitely take em.” But I remain totally silent, a stiff smile plastered across my face, on full alert. Somehow I landed on a pontoon boat, in the middle of Clearlake, with four complete strangers, four dogs, and no idea where I’m going.
And you thought your life was stressful? I blame the extroverts, the tulips, and the wine. If it stresses you to read this, skip to the end, we survived.
Spending the weekend with our extroverted friends seemed like a good idea at the time? Grab an overnight bag, we’ll meet you up at the lake, there’s a tulip festival, it’ll be great. It was all so innocent.
Jim and Sue arrive early Friday afternoon. We pop a bottle of Serenity from Brassfield, a cool, light wine, and head out to the deck for a chat. We’re celebrating Larry’s yearly matriculation in the school of life. When you get to be our age, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate, none of which include your age. I even made a cake. We have no round pans so I made a square german chocolate cake. It was so good the dog ate it but that’s another story. We forgot to bring the dominos, so after a good amount of food and wine, we fell asleep on the couch. Yeah, that’s right, we know how to rage.
Saturday afternoon we head over to Kelseyville for the much anticipated Tulip Festival at Boatique Winery. We are wine club members, Admiral status, which means absolutely nothing, except your membership comes with a hat and bragging rights. The tulips are beautiful. We find out Scandinavian bulbs make the best tulips, tall, and strong (same with the people but I think that’s self-evident). We were promised food, so after enjoying the flowers (Larry was utterly captivated as you would expect), we make our way to the tables. Four chairs are reserved at one of the tables with shade, so we grab the remaining seats, and make ourselves at home. The wine is flowing, the music is a smidge too loud, and of course our extroverted friends run into people they know. Who runs into acquaintances at an obscure winery in Kelseyville? This is how it is with extroverts. You learn to deal with it.
Just before lunch is served we are joined at the table by two enigmatic couples. Jim and Sue are like wind-up Chatty Cathy dolls. You would think we’ve known these people all our lives. Sue can talk to anyone, Jim adds that touch of humorous relief, Larry and I smile stiffly, and nod when it seems appropriate. It works. We find out Tami (spelled TAMI) and Patrick are long-time friends with Charlotte and Howard. Good people, funny as hell, and together they could keep an entire town running. One sells property, one opens doors, one keeps you safe, and one works in education. After exchanging stories for the better part of the afternoon we part ways…or so we thought.
The day is still young, so our crew heads to the famous Kelseyville Brewery, for peanuts and brew. We have a late reservation at the Blue Wing for dinner so there is lots of time to kill. After one beer, Larry is done socializing, and hankering for an afternoon nap. We head home only because it’s his birthday weekend. Sue and I head out to the deck with our magazines, Larry to the lounge chair, and no one really knows what Jim does? Before I land one cheek in the chair we notice this pontoon boat coasting slowly by the house. Yeah, you guessed it, our new best friends found us.
They pull up to our dock, cooler full of beer, dogs barking, and invite us on board. Jim and Sue are delighted! Larry is incredulous. I’m suspicious. “Get yourself a coozie, let’s go,” like the song says we are “out here partying on the pontoon,” and that’s when I realize I left my phone on the deck. I’m scanning the boat for weapons, where the hell are we going, no one seems to care. We end up in The Keys, they own houses a stones throw apart, and apparently we need more beverages. They invite a neighbor aboard, Corky, what the hell, the more the merrier. I admit, I’ve lost control of the situation.
As luck would have it, we did not end up as fish bait, but part of the pontoon club, members for life. We pontoon back to Kono Tayee, move our little party onto our deck, and continue shooting the shit as day turns into night. Corky tells us how he seeds an entire mountainside with wildflowers every year in honor of his late wife. Who knew? Tami is a charmer, Patrick’s a hero, Charlotte is heartwarming, and Howard is “O Captain! My Captain!” See you never know when you’ll be delighted by life.
The extroverts always win, don’t be shy, leave a thought or two in the comments.
Aside: We return to the lake the following weekend to launch the boat, so we drive over to The Keys to check on our new friends, no one’s home 🙁 We’ll buy you a beer at Richmond’s next time we find you home!
A version of this post was previously published on Cheryloreglia.blogspot.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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