Thursday, August 4, 2011


Tuesday is a nondescript day. It’s not dreaded Monday, the very beginning of the work week. It doesn’t have a name like “hump” day, and it doesn’t have the distinction of having happy hour associated with it. Maybe that’s why retail stores have sales on Tuesday to bring in customers.

Tuesdays at the lake is men’s day at the golf course 30 miles away where my husband spends the day with his golfing buddies. When I say spend the day, I mean 12 hours of golfing, gambling, eating, and drinking. He leaves at 9:30 am and doesn’t get home until 9:30 at night. As the golfing widow, I can either go “Oh Woe is Me” and feel stranded by a one-vehicle family and stare at the 4 walls all day; or I can go “Woo Hoo” because I get to drink coffee and read my book until noon and watch whatever I want on TV instead of the Fishing Channel or Military Channel.

I made a great discovery a few weeks ago. This small lake town has public transportation in the form of vans that come directly to your door to pick you up and take you wherever you want to go; then deliver you back to your doorstep when you are ready to go home. All this for a mere $1.50 each time you step on the van. This particular Tuesday I made a nail appointment and hair appointment at the town mall – which is a group of stores on Main Street that are enclosed for a block. The van picked me up right on time and since I was the only one in the van I had a lovely conversation with the driver: “How many vans do you have?” “Do you run in the winter?” “Are you handicapped accessible?” What I failed to ask were the hours of operation.

The day at “the mall” was delightful because I pampered myself with a manicure, a new hairdo, and shopping. “Downtown” was even having its “Crazy Days” sales where Main Street was blocked off so the merchants could have a gigantic street sale. I tried on clothes, had a nice conversation with the florist, and even treated myself to a latte. After all, I didn’t have to hurry home to cook dinner for the hubby.

When I was done I called the number for the van to pick me up. No answer. I tried again – same result. I went into the drug store and asked what time the public van stopped running – no one knew. They tried calling for me – no answer. “Would you like me to call a taxi for you?” Sure – there goes my $1.50 bargain. The Taxi number resulted in a similar response – leave a message. In a small town of 8,000, I’m sure there is only one taxi driver, and he probably went home for dinner. Nevertheless, I left my number for a call back saying I was stranded at the Washington Mall.

I thought of my options. Walk home – 6 miles around the lake in flip flops. Hitchhike. Call a neighbor – however, I didn’t have any of their numbers in my phone. So I went back to the florist to see when she was closing for the day – maybe she wouldn’t mind running me home – after all, we sort of bonded talking about greenery and bird cages. She was staying open for another hour or so.

The only option left was to walk, so I started my trek towards the beach a half-mile away. I remember seeing a beach bicycle cart decorated like Margaretaville, so I thought I could rent that for a mile, cutting my hike down to 5 miles. As I approached the water, I thought, if I could only go across the lake - it couldn’t be more than 3 miles as the loon flies. But I ain’t Jesus, and I didn’t think I could swim with my bagged purchases.

Then I noticed a dock with boats and pontoons for rent. Aha, it’s worth a try. I went into the little building and explained the pickle I had gotten myself into and wondered if they ever took people across the lake to the other side in a boat. I pointed out on a map where I lived and where they could drop me off – the Public Access dock - which is only about a half-mile from my house. The nice young man was a little hesitant, but it was a slow day so he called another young man in and asked him to motor me across. As I walked out the door, the young man said, “Let’s not mention this to anyone, ok?” Thumbs up. “Gotcha!” Thumbs up.

So this teenager complete with a nose ring and unusual-looking hair boarded me on a pontoon, and we headed for the south shore of the lake. I felt like Kate Winslet and a blue-haired Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow of the Titanic speeding across the waves, wind blowing through our hair. Twenty minutes later I jumped off the pontoon and tipped junior 20 bucks for the journey.

Tuesdays aren’t so boring anymore. All I have to do is plan an excursion to town.