Dock On The Bay ©

Dock memories by Cathy Reineke

dockThe dock was born one weekend in May, in Montana, when I was fourteen.  My father bought lakeshore frontage.  Only the two of us went up for that long weekend to build the dock.  The lake was at low pool (down 15 feet).  We had a short envelope of time to build our dock.

My father believed a daughter was as likely as a son to be a builder and taught me to wield a mean hammer.  First we dug holes for barrels, sunk them into the ground, and then placed poles into the barrels and filled them with cement.  After the cement set, we put up stringers between the poles and placed in the cross braces.  Finally, top planks went on and voila, we had the dock. 

I sat on that dock over many summers.  On fuzzy nights of too much beer, a few special friends discovered my secret as they lay in the dark at the end of the dock.  “This is a special place,” they’d say with voices full of quiet awe.

The dock formed a sturdy platform to launch ourselves into the water.   Mother grew her powerful petunias in big black witches caldrons placed at each post on the dock announcing that summer had truly arrived.  Each summer upon my return, the dock creaked its welcome to the chaise lounge placed at the end of the dock.  Sun was best there.   A quick step off the dock into the water always cooled my sun-scalded skin. 

On a wintry day, my boyfriend joined me there for the first time.  He found my heart when he stood on the dock and remarked, “I cannot believe anyone could have grown up with all of this.”

dockYears passed and I moved away.  Mother sold the cabin when she could no longer cope with the isolation and stillness after my father was gone.  A lovely couple staked their claim.  The dock filled with rambunctious children, gaggles of life jackets, and boats tied to its sturdy deck.  New voices echoed out over the bay. 

After many years away, I came back to visit friends.  I decided to drive by the lake place.  I found my way through the maze of dirt roads.  There upon my dock, stood the couple who had bought the place from mother many years before. 

Pictures of tanned young girls in new swimsuits returned to me.  Mom came down to the dock with her incredibly delicious tuna fish sandwiches.  Dad instructed me to “Put that level to the post and make sure it is straight up”, as he placed cement into the barrel.  And there I stood that last day, packing mother’s belongings into my car, turning my back to the dock, not watching our time end.  

I climbed out of my car and walked toward the couple on the dock who turned to look at me.  “Are you lost?” the husband asked.  “No” I said as I walked onto the dock.  I smiled and extended my hand as I introduced myself feeling that familiar slight give of my dock under the weight of my feet.

“I know exactly where I am”. 

 photos by cincooldesigns and jurvetson

BOBB is happy you enjoyed this story; to get future stories sent to your email Inbox, just –> Subscribe

14 Responses to Dock On The Bay ©

  1. A dock for children is a jumping place. For boaters it’s a launching place, and for folks who live on a bay, a dock is place to build memories.
    ~ Shinazy, storyteller

  2. Jewell Beck

    A beautiful story written with first hand knowledge of building a family dock with tender, loving care.
    And we live just above Lake Don Pedro, with an awesome view—–but without a commercial dock. It’s essential and at the Marina where there are numerous house Boats, pontoon boats, ski boats, and small fishing boats for rent, or for private use.

    • Jewel, My aunt lives in Copperopolis, when I stay with her I do some of my best writing. How wonderful for you to live in the area all year.

      Cathy, the teller of this story, has many other tales for us … stay tuned.

      ~ shinazy, storyteller

  3. Wonderful story. In the end, it’s all about families and time.

    • Steve, You get it! When I started BOBB my goal was to tell our stories, the stories we have in our memories. I wanted to get these tales on the net so they could live forever.

      Cathy, the teller of this tale, has a rich family history from which to draw. You’re going to love her future stories.

      ~ shinazy, storyteller

  4. Bobbi Parker

    Of days long gone. Well done Cathy. I could see you there with your dad, hammering away.

    • Bobbi, Because we hike with Cathy every week we hear her voice when we read her words. She brings us into her story …. This is what a good writer does.

      ~ shinazy, storyteller

  5. Lovely story. I like the petunias and tuna fish sandwich details. Makes all the difference.

  6. This illustrates a key experience most children will never have. The joy of building or creating with our parents is becoming a thing of the past. We used to serve apprenticeships learning our parents trade or gift. I am afraid this is a casualty of modern technology. We are able to communicate with the world and fail to communicate with our children.
    I am old enough to have learned a trade from my grandfather and my uncle. The memories of that period are my most treasured.
    Great story and extremely well written.

    • Jim, A complement from a writer such as you is a high honor. Cathy, the author, is a new writer. Her well crafted tale demonstrates we all have a story to tell.

      In regard to learning from our relatives, my granddaddy gave me tools as birthday gifts. He believed a single young lady should know how to fix anything she might break. Great memories …

      ~ shinazy, storyteller

  7. This is such a beautiful, moving story ❤❤❤

  8. FANTASTIC storytelling!! I think my favorite of yours so far. Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your dock.

  9. Michael Bell

    Excellent story—so well written! Thanks!

  10. Is it ever easy to leave behind the fun fuzzy stories of summer, life is so rich and lush, the greenery the birds intense singing. There are so many things happening, where does the time fly when nobody is watching? I often wonder while sleeping and peeping into my minds megawatts of memory, I still see myself often idling past the growth of my teens into my twenties and beyond, without a single clue of where I was going beyond my own guesses. Where did I find myself often was kind of inbetween a groping sense of blindness meshed with often sulness of what was to be and often what was. Your story is poignant and offers reflections as well nuances of how time is moving even though at times in inferences we are not aware of it, it is often much more aware of us.