We rolled out about eight in the morning. I was pretty chilly so I started a fire in the little cabin heater and crawled back under the covers and backed up to Georgene who pushed me away and fussed at me for getting in bed and freezing her. In a little bit we could feel warm air coming into the forward cabin. In a moment Georgene got up and put the coffee on the cabin heater. There's not a lot of tide in Urbana Creek so we were laying into the wind. The breeze kind of medium was somewhat variable in direction, it was swinging from North east to east and back.
An elderly Deltaville schooner Captain named Edmond Ruark away back when I was about thirty couple years ago told me that, “If the wind blows out of the North East and it doesn't rain it will never rain again”
"Georgene," I said.
Absently she said, “Yes”
“Georgene,” I said again,
“What, Douglas, “ and I could here the pages of her book flipping shut.
“We're gonna get wet today, It's going to rain.”
I heard the hatch open and then close and she said, “No, it's not cloudy at all.”
We dingied ashore and walked to the Urbana drug store and its double horse shoe lunch counter was full of people. “Coffee y'all?” a middle aged lady inquired of us.
“Yes mam,” I answered.
She turned in the swivel chair and said to the waitress, “Laura these folks need a hot cup of coffee.”
"Hi y'all, want'em fer here," she said with a big toothy smile.
“Two please,” I answered.
A fella got up and offered Georgene a seat and she tried to talk him into setting back down. He'd have none of it so she took his offer, thanking him. Didn't look like anyone was going to offer me one so him and stood drinking coffee.
A fellow walked through the door and said. “Wee, it's raining already. And all heads swiveled to look out the big front window as though they never had seen rain before. One lady said sure is, and someone else said yep sure is.
George turned to me and said, “How did you know it was gonna rain.”
“Captain Ruark, told me,” I said grinning.
“You know, Captain Ruark? By the way I'm Dan that's ma little boy Danny right there”. Danny half stood and grabbed my hand in his and eagerly shook me all over. He was about six four and three hundred pounds and playful as a puppy.
I told them all, Ed's saying. They all smiled knowing smiles. One said , ”He's one that would know for sure.”
“Yeah Capt. Ed knows about all there is come sailing a schooner. I sailed with him when I was a youngun about like him, cept maybe a hundred pound sack of potatoes lighter. That was the, Schooner Columbia F.C, we was on and she was the fastest schooner around in them days.” Dan's head was moving up and down as though he was agreeing with himself.
“Capt. Ruark, was about the best they was when it comes to dead reckoning. Believe me I know cause we had a lot of Schooner captains over to, Christfield, where I come from."
"The Schooner was tied up at Pratt and light street aside the Steam boat, Smoky Joe ferry“Now it was one foggy night when we left out of Baltimore. It was in the middle of the night in the middle of January an in the middle of the channel.” Dan laughed at his own little joke and we all laughed with him. By now we were all leaning forward listening. It was pretty obvious that Dan is the local teller of stories.
“There was a North Easter blowing and a little snow was coming down through the fog. We sailed right down the, Pottapsico River, and out in the bay past, Seven Foot. Knoll The fog was so thick you couldn't see the end of the bow sprite.
"Why, dead reckoning of course, Replied the Captain."
"They weren't no bay bridge there at Annapolis in them days Ya know. Any ways we sailed all day and you couldn't see noth'en. There was ice on the sails and rigging.' Now y'all can believe me them old fog horns was sounding, you couldn't tell where they was coming from in all that fog. We sure wasn't in the channel cause the whole way we never did see any buoys. Feeling a little concern, I again said if we don't soon see a buoy how the heck we gonna know where we are Captain. Captain ED again said, Why dead reckoning of course. We was all straining our eyes looking to be sure we didn't run over noth'en. The fog was so thick the sun didn't even shine through and I swear if you stood up forward you could hear the bow cutting through the fog.” A snicker went around the counter and little Danny slapped his ham hock of a hand on his leg and roared, we all laughed at him.
“After another couple of pretty scary hours Capt ED said Dan lets get the sail off'er and be quick. We'll tie up to the stake in the middle of the creek till morning' Captain Ruark barked forward at us. The sails was doused and I went up on the bow and stood . Captain Ed, yelled tie'er up. I said Captain they ain't noth'en I don't see no stake."
"Put your hand out there and I did and sure enough I grabbed hold of that stake and took a line aroun'er. I said in surprise Captain How the heck did you know it was there and he said, Why dead reckoning of course."
"Dan reared back on his heels shook his head back and forth and said now they ain't nobody knows a better Captain Ruark tale than that." Everybody busted out laughing and all stood up and clapped.
"Danny get up from there Dan said quickly. Folks I was gonna tell a story on my little women but she's coming across the street now an I don't want her to catch me talking about her, she will beat the tar out a me."
A little tiny women stuck her head in the door and yelled "High everybody I'll see y'all at the oyster festival gotta git home, Come on Dan, Danny lets git."