I don't what what it was that made the owner of the boat decide he had to try to rescue it from the beach instead of letting the tide carry it out to sea again. Earlier in the day, we had seen the boat, which was not more than 15 feet long and no prize, sitting up on the beach near the house where we were staying on Drake's Island in southern Maine. Now it was 10 p.m., and the boat owner's pickup truck was stuck in the sand at the beach with the waves sloshing in and out around it. Not only that, but the boat owner's buddy's truck was out in the water, too, along with a rudimentary boat trailer. It did not look good for the two trucks or the trailer, though the boat looked just fine.
There was a light shining from the firetruck about 200 yards away from the scene of the mistake. It made the area look like a scene from the movie "ET". To top it all off, there was a full moon shining down on the ocean and a sky full of starts to light the way. A crowd of at least fifty vacationers had gathered around the vehicles. If you closed your eyes, you could imagine that they were keeping watch on a beached whale that was gasping for life. This was the kind of entertainment that money could not buy.
The trucks were going through their death rattles. First the headlights and safety blinkers started coming on and off intermittently. Then the horns started to blow. It didn't take long for the sea water to undo what Detroit had done.
The word on the beach was that the boat owner had called the police earlier in the afternoon when the boat had gotten stranded. He told the police he would try to free the boat later that night when the tide came in, and they suggested that he call back so that the fire department could help. Either he didn't hear that part of the message, or he forgot it after an afternoon of drinking beer on the beach with the Labor Day weekend crowd that was up from Boston or down from Quebec, because instead of the fire department, he'd enlisted a friend with a boat trailer to help instead.
The fire department was here now, and they decided they'd wait until high tide the next morning to rescue the four stranded vessels. I went to bed willing to bet $100 that the trucks would be swept out to sea. But I was wrong.
The morning came bright and clear, and there were the trucks, the boat and the trailer, stuck in the sand with no sea water to restrict the rescue. Another crowd was gathered around. This one featured parents with coffee mugs and their young children, instead of the older crowd with wine glasses from the evening before. It looked like the pivotal scene from the book Mike McGillicutty and the Steam Shovel where the townspeople of Popperville stood around to see if Mike could dig the basement for the new town hall in just one day (or he would not get paid.)
The bobcat came, and in fifteen minutes, it was all over. The truck owner was last seen removing the license plates from his truck. It was not clear if he did it out of sheer embarrassment or if he was planning to use the plates again. If it was the latter, that was the only thing he was going to be able to use.
One of the hardest things for a human to do, especially the male species, is to take an offer of help when it is given. We made this mess, we'll get ourselves out of it by ourselves, thank you very much. If that boat was worth $3,000, the two trucks had to be worth two to three times that much. There but for the grace of God go I.
I expect that the good folks from Carfax will be using this as the premise for a commercial soon. If you are watching, Mr. Carfax, here is the photo you need. Call me.