A Second Chance
Every year I celebrate the Fourth of July with my mother. It is her birthday that day. Some years we would stay home and light fireworks and other years we would travel on vacation to a fairly inexpensive place we would both enjoy. When we did travel, my mother usually allowed me to bring along a friend to keep me company. I remember one particular Fourth of July like it was yesterday.
The car ride up to Vermont was long and tiring. Six hours felt like an eternity when you were packed in a small sedan along with four other people. Mom always tried her best to make the car ride seem as quick as possible. I remember listening to an entire Eric Clapton Unplugged album on the way up. We were visiting Mom’s old high school friend, Ronnie. He always let us come stay with him during the winter and summer seasons. Snowboarding was always great up there and during the summer, the lakes would unfreeze and we would go out on his boat. Just being outdoors in Vermont forced nature upon you. The rolling mountains full of evergreens, the fresh air, and all the sounds of nature would roar throughout the woods; all of it made a person feel alive.
There were five of us, my Mom, her best friend Linda and daughter Kristi, my friend Mike and myself that went that year to visit Ronnie. We had left early in the morning on the Fourth of July to get the boat ready and set up chairs down by the lake. Every year at night the locals would put on a massive display of fireworks by the lakeside. It was truly an impressive sight to watch. Mom was still getting ready when Ronnie, Mike, and I collected our chairs and coolers, hitched the boat to the back of the truck, and left the house. Ronnie was a gentleman, he figured us boys would set up the picnic area so it would be ready when the ladies came down. Being that it was my Mom’s birthday, Kristi came along and wanted to help out. Little did I know what fate had in store for me this day.
The lake was as smooth as...