Our Kid’s Boat Part II
Jim and  Wendy Blasdell

 If you have not read part 1 of this ongoing account, this second spasm might not carry you along as well as I would like. This account, (and part 1 as well,) will become two new chapters in my current and forth coming book.

 Why not? They certainly qualify as participants in that autobiographical ledger. It’s called, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Grave… My Life.” I place it here, for approval, by friends I have met, and am yet to meet.

 She Floats! And what a beauty she is. I refer, of course, to our kid’s boat, the vintage, nearly one of a kind, 1968 Glastron GT160 and the ancient but faithful Merc 1000 which propels her at a high rate of determination. As you recall, the boat came to our home as a donation to the foster care program and the children of Blasdell House.

Our work with the kids over the years has always been an effort to open doors which have been closed, (rarely ever by anything the children have done,) but by those people whose duty it was to show them the doors, open them, and guide the little ones through. Our challenge has been to introduce our kids to worlds, otherwise forbidden and usually foreign to them and to show them the possibilities which lie before them as they go forward for childhood to the rest of their lives. It would not be appropriate at this time to take time and space to truly paint a canvas of  all we do and our involvement in their lives… After all, this is a story about “Our Kid’s Boat.”

I have been putting off, putting the boat in the water, for several days. The weather in east Tennessee has been marvelous. In the 80’s and 90’s, low humidity and no rain for a while. Wendy asked when we were going to test her by launching her in Cherokee Lake. I seem to find just one more thing to do or one more reason to put it off each time she asked. But truly the reason, I now believe, was that as long as I didn’t test the competency of the craft, I didn’t have to face the possibility that the boat wouldn’t perform as I really hoped it would. You know, “Never try, never fail.” I learned that from some child some years back.

Well, today came… just as the calendar predicted. A typical morning, to be sure. Me in the kitchen, everyone else in the bed… NO, not just one bed! They each have their own. Me fixin’ breakfast, (In Tennessee we fix things. Kind’ a like preparing stuff,)
 “What shall I bestow upon them this bright morning,” I asked myself. “I know, how `bout bacon, ham and sausage, eggs, fried, scrambled, or poached, hash brown and home fried potatoes, hand made biscuits from scratch, home made jam, fresh fruit which I shall hand picked from the trees myself, and of course, milk, orange juice and coffee for those of us which are old enough to imbibe. How thoughtful of me I again thought to myself.
Then another thought came to me. How `bout a bowl of corn flakes instead. Less dishes to warsh… That too is Tennessee talk. So they had cereal. I did do the O.J. milk and coffee thing, of course.

Skip forward to mid day. They are all up, fed, dressed, chores done and pleading with me to get a move on with the boating thing.

Skip again. We’re at the lake, the boat floated off the trailer, the first time it had been off the trailer in over five years, the drain plug in place… the same drain plug the previous owner had held up and asked what part this thing plays in the boat’s operation, and it was at this time her words came back to me…
“We never could keep the water out of the boat. I think it has a hole in the bottom.” Oh well, those things do happen from time to time.
We loaded our food, our ice chest of cold NON-ALCHOLIC beverages, our required life jackets, the needed sports gear into the boat and proceeded to “crank this baby up.” Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and finally the gas is in the carbs. Turn the key and…..

I’ve never heard a more beautiful sound. All six of her massive cylinders began a chorus of coordinated synchronization, a symphony of praise to dollar and seventy five cent gas and two cycle oil at three bucks a pint. In other words, it hit first try and settled back to a muffled idle, just waiting to show her stuff. We pulled away from the pier, all seven of us, (one over the limit,) idled out into the lake past the “No Wake Zone” sign, checked for oncoming or passing boats, then punched it a good one. The bow rose high into the bright Tennessee sky then settled down as the Glastron GT160 planed out and all but left the lake behind as the speedometer began to rise. At about thirty five I powered back and we cruised our way to a near by island for what was left of this, a perfect day. (Later she ran out at a little over forty.)

OK, I’ll make it quick. I’ll cut to the chase, as they say in the movies. We tubed and skied, and laughed and ate soggy sandwiches and all the drinks, vied to see who would go next and which of the big boys would get to drive and… well, we just enjoyed the fruits of many craftsmen’s labors till time to head for the house.

A few more miles of cruising with first one at the wheel, then another and another and finally onto the marina and the trip back home before sunset. What a glorious day it turned out to be.

It’s now late, everyone’s asleep but me and I just had to put it all down before the magic and the mystery of this perfect day begins to fade into tomorrow when we’re suppose to get some rain.

That’s about all I have to say about Our Kid’s Boat. Except this. Today I saw doors opening. Perhaps only a crack for some, but more for others. Today the knowledge that they can have all this, too in their lifetime, if they wish. There’s only one thing which stands between them and whatever they dare to dream and dream of having. Education and determination and the decision to make it so. This day also held another significance in the lives of our children. Today was a going away celebration. On Saturday next, three of our recently graduated seniors will be leaving for their newest and greatest adventurer yet. They head off to college at Eastern Kentucky University, to be joined later by our own daughter and another of our foster boys next year, following his graduation from high school. It’ not appropriate to say which… but two of the four were never suppose to even finish high school, let alone go to college. That door was close to them long, long ago by others. Fortunately, God re-opened that door and it will not be closed again unless they choose to close it.

If the weather holds, we’re going back out on Friday for a time, before they head north on Saturday. Two of our smaller kids weren’t with us today, nor was Wendy. She stayed home with the younger ones… and of course, today was HER day to cleaned the kitchen following that great breakfast I prepared for the kids of…  Blasdell House.

Jonathon and Chris

Jonathon, their friend Tug, Curtis an Chris

And they just keep on a`coming…Thank you Lord!