The sun rose early. Much clatter and activity filled our home. We were going sailing on The Sally, our two masted schooner. This would be our last outing before Dad would haul the boat for the winter. Oh, how we loved the Sally! Cruising Long Island Sound was a great adventure for this seven-year-old adventurer.
“Girls, pack your duffle bags with shorts, shirts and swim suits,” Mom called up the stairs. We had our own duffle bags. Each a different color with our names stenciled on one end. Mine was gray with white letters.
Bags were packed and hauled down the stairs to our loading dock, the front hall. Canvas bags filled with food for the weekend and our duffle bags awaited loading into the station wagon.
Arriving at the dock, we unloaded all our stuff and watched as dad pulled The Sally into the dock from the mooring. Dad always went early in order to row out to the Sally and bring her in to the dock.
He put a big piece of ice into the icebox on board, filled the gas and water tanks in preparation for the weekend of cruising. “Girls, help Mom get the food and duffels below and stored,” Dad said. We unpacked food, stowed it away and picked our favorite bunk.
Once everything was battened down, our life jackets securely fastened, we pushed off from the dock, raised our sails and out of the harbor we went. My sisters and I took our places on the boat. Faith in the bag of the mainsail, Pris in the net under the bow sprit, and I started up the sail rings on the main mast, one hand over the other. “Who needs a jungle gym,” I thought, “When I have the mast to climb!” Heaven for this seven-year-old.
“Girls be careful.” Dad called to each of us. “Mary Perrin, don’t go any higher on the mast. When we come about, you need to be on the deck.” “Faith, when we come about, you need to get out of the bag of the sail and stand on the deck with Mary Perrin. Pris, you can stay in the net. Just hang on; you might get wet.” All these directions wafted from the deck as I watched my family from aloft. Great way to start a weekend.
At the end of the day, we pulled into a small cove for the night. Dropping our anchor for a mooring, we would take a good long swim. Jumping from the deck was an adventure because of how high it was from the water below. Then into the row boat, we rowed ashore to cook-out on the beach. Yummy!
The last night of our last adventure for the summer, we sailed back into our harbor home. A weekend of sun, swimming, cookouts on beaches and adventures brought us to the end of the sailing season.
Clean up the Sally: prepare her for winter storage, unload our gear onto the dock, drain the water tank, and empty the ice box. Now we are ready to go home.
My sisters and I were sunburned and tired, but also happy to have had more adventures before the summer ebbed. Crawling into bed, I fell fast asleep. The summer adventures came spilling out – gale-force storms, big crabs crawling towards us on the sandy beach, and having lost my family, I was sailing the Sally all by myself. And then the joy of swimming, climbing the mast and talking to the seagulls flying by and catching the big white clouds in my hands. Adventure after adventure filled my mind.
I felt a sudden shaking, and then more shaking. Opening my eyes, there was mom. “Mary Perrin, we are home. You are in your own bed. You can take your life-jacket off now.”