We have a saying among the Buzzards team members that “what happens in the boat stays in the boat!” It’s a good rule, unless a story is just too good not to share! So I’ll leave the names out to protect the innocent and shield the guilty!
Usually we like to return from a row with the same number of guys we left with. We think it’s a good policy. But one day, we were headed up the Acushnet River from the marina when one of our esteemed team members announced he had been battling a bout of the runs the night before. Swell. All was good for another five minutes when he announced, “Sorry fellas, I have to find a bathroom or something, fast!”
Well, we were rowing at about 6:15 AM, it was pitch black, with few options available on either side of the river. We rowed under a bridge, and a Shell gas station next to to highway looked open. So we headed to shore and our distressed team member scampered up the hill and went inside.
Before he hopped out of the boat, our friend told us to keep rowing and to pick him up on our way back as he didn’t know how long he would be. That sounded perfectly logical. A short time later we returned, but our pal was nowhere to be found. One of our guys went up to the station and asked the attendant if he had seen a man walk in a short while ago. Now one has to wonder what this employee was thinking. Here’s some guy that rushes in not from a car or from the sidewalk out front, but from the river bank. Then along comes our second rower who inquires about the first guy, then leaves again over the embankment!
We figured that our missing friend must (we hoped, anyway!) got tired of waiting for us to return, or perhaps he assumed that we had returned while he was still in the bathroom so he either started walking back or somehow got a ride. The remaining Buzzards did what any respectful, concerned, schedule sensitive group would do….we left, and headed back to the marina where we hoped we’d see our missing friend.
He was nowhere to be found. Not at the slips or in the parking lot of the marina. Now there were two land routes that one could take if hoofing it from the gas station, so one of our guys drove one way, and a second the other route, each hoping to spot our rowing pal walking along the road. A call was put in to our teammates wife, hoping that she’d d say, “Oh, he’s sitting right here.” That didn’t happen. Instead we had to tell her that we couldn’t find her husband, that we had dropped him off in the pre-dawn darkness while rowing and haven’t seen him since. Yea team! To our relief she was not overly concerned, either, saying that he’ll show up or get a ride and that he was very resourceful.
It took two days for us to get the rest of the story about what happened to our teammate. Seems he did wait for us to pick him up, but didn’t emerge from the restroom until after we had returned for him and left again. Our friend sensed that the station attendant didn’t like the idea of this guy who appeared from the river to use the bathroom was now hanging around in front of his place!
Our friend hailed a cab and left. Two days later when we all met to row again our missing teammate filled in the missing pieces of the saga. After leaving the gas station in a cab and just as his cab was pulling into the marina parking lot, our friend realized that he had no wallet with him and no way to pay his cab fare. It was at that moment also that he suddenly realized that he had also left his car keys…in the car! But as luck would have it, our missing rower tried the doors and low and behold one was unlocked! Mystery solved.
What happens in the boat stays in the boat…mostly.