Monday, November 19, 2007

going overboard

Boat outings are always the highlight of any trip to visit my parents, and a recent trip was no exception.

My mom announced as soon as we arrived that her and my dad were planning a special cook-out for us on the boat, complete with hot dogs. Husband, who would happily eat hot dogs at every meal for the rest of his life, was excited at the offer.

So we set out on our boating expedition. The weather was perfect - breezy and sunny. We spent a couple hours on the boat, and my dad fired up the small grill attached to a rung on the side of the boat.

The hot dogs were reaching peak readiness with the tinge of black crispiness starting to appear. Meanwhile, we had reached our peak hunger, with salivation probably starting to appear, as we smelled them cooking. Each one of us was probably imagining how we would top our dog (Husband – ketchup only; Mom – mustard and relish; Me – ketchup and mustard; Dad – all of the above).

I handed my dad the plate for the dogs. He held it in his hands, reaching for the dogs. And before I could realize what happened (the grill tipped over), I saw the hot dogs floating in the water below us. All 8 of the hot dogs. Every hot dog that we had on the boat. Our only lunch, floating further and further away from the boat and us.

In my brain, I screamed! “NOOO! The hot dogs! Please, someone save them!”

But there was silence. No one said a word, as we all struggled to understand and accept that our hot dog lunch would be without, well, hot dogs.

In just a few seconds, I ran through all the emotions associated with the grieving process of losing your hot dog. Disbelief. Anger. Disappointment. Frustration. Hunger. Until I settled on laughter.

I started a few chuckles, and soon I was laughing so hard I couldn’t speak and tears were streaming down my face. We all started laughing because there was nothing else we could do.

So we salvaged the lunch as best we could. Thankfully, my mom had brought a variety of sides that then became the main course. I munched on the solo hot dog bun (not so tasty), some cucumbers, chips, and brownies. Husband got creative and put the cucumbers in the hot dog bun, making some sort of cucumber sandwich. We would chew in silence, and then one of us would think of the humor of the situation, and start the laughter again. We made a variety of hot-dog related jokes:

- “Who let the dogs out?” (Horrible, I know)

- “So, I guess hot dogs can float!”

- “Hey, Dad, maybe you can throw our dinner in the pool tonight, too!”

And then we came up with a variety of “lessons learned” for the next trip:

- “Maybe we should have the net handy in case anything else falls over again.”

- “Let’s only cook 4 hot dogs at a time, that way we still have 4 left if the first batch falls over.”

- “We should stabilize the grill better next time.”

The lunch itself turned out to be ok. We had enough food to ward off our hunger, although we still pined for our lost dogs.

This event happened only a couple weeks ago, and we’ve already made reference to the “hot dog incident” countless times, telling (and re-telling) the story to friends and family.

Because of that, I can’t say that I would change the incident, even if I could have. But only because I finally got my hot dog on the next boating trip!

[This story is dedicated to my mom, who asked recently as a gentle reminder: “When are you going to write that story about the hot dogs?”]

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