Outrunning a storm on the way to $1 taco night
House guests have it right. Lake Norman is a super place to visit. Should our house guests insist on inviting us out for dinner, I demurely accept. A welcome vacation for the cook.
“Out” will be fine. But where? One recent guest summed up the situation nicely: “It doesn’t matter as long as water gets us there.”
Good news. We’ll go by boat. Our captain, the muskrat skinner, is all for it. We check the Internet for Thursday specials and find one especially hard to resist. We’re in luck. It’s $1 taco night.
At 4 p.m., our plans are set. Every time our plans are set, it seems, the heavens start to rumble. Captain Muskrat casts a wary eye at the horizon and pronounces the weather report, which calls for scattered thunderstorms, to be “no problem.”
Never mind the old adage: “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” We are not sailors. We are swift and nimble power boaters with keen appetites for tacos. We trust our captain, who is well versed in the vagaries of Lake Norman.
The guests vote to go full speed ahead. Heat up the tacos. Here we come. Count the number of seconds between the lightning and thunder, take that number and divide by five to find out how far away the storm is.
Our guests seem happy with that bit of trivia – all except one who is attacking her calculator in a frenzy. I retrieve the life preservers from below. Just in case.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that we are only half way to the restaurant and our perfectly clear day has turned into 50 shades of gray. Suddenly, the sky to our stern erupts in a serious pyrotechnic display. We are reminded that lightning takes more lives every year than tornados.
The captain shouts: “Hang on.” We all hang. We arrive at the restaurant looking a bit disheveled but in good humor.
Having topped off our tummies with tacos, we were treated to a spectacular celestial show on our way home. A black velvet sky glittering with twinkling stars and a massive full moon to lead the way. Our guests were impressed. They heap accolades of praise on the captain, who graciously accepts it.
Early man, they say, sought some connection with the astronomical pictures in the sky. Now it’s our brave little boat zipping down a lake that didn’t exist 50 years ago.
Tacos, the internal combustion engine, the moon’s glow. So many blessings, so much to wonder about. The meaning of life.
Diana and Bill Gleasner have lived in Denver for more than 30 years. In addition to travel journalism, they have written and published two books on the Lake Norman area.