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Tim Tyndall passed along this story about the current day adventure of 2 cadets
Last Wednesday (July 4, 2001) I happened to catch Robert Mouro online (that's a telephone line - sorry 'bout that Robert). Well I wished Robert a Happy 4th of July - we got to talking and before I knew it I was joining Robert and Laurie (Robert's wife) for lunch. Robert mentioned he was fixing the prop on his boat, or getting another one (prop) and asked me if I'd like to go out on the boat that evening and go down to the Landing at Jacksonville and watch the fireworks from the boat. Well I hadn't been on a boat since I went on an Officer's fishing trip in 1968 (1968 candid shots). I didn't know that Robert is a Master Boat Navigator, so I just kind'a figured we'd ricochet from boat to boat until we got to the Jacksonville Landing.
5:00pm I met Robert Sr., Laurie, Robert Jr., and his girlfriend Kim down at the bank of the St. John's River with his boat on a trailer. I think it was (and still is) about a 25 footer - it's what I used to know as a nice sized Cabin Cruiser. Well at any rate Robert backs the boat (on the trailer) with his truck in to the river (the boat went in the river - not the truck), we unfasten the boat from the trailer, Robert takes off in the truck and trailer, parks them, and comes back and WA-LA we're in the river in this boat. Robert Sr.'s driving, Robert Jr.'s up front directing dear ole Dad right and left to dodge crab-traps, Laurie's kind of directing traffic (sometimes I couldn't tell if she was just telling other boats to get out of the way or if she was helping Robert Jr. direct Dad, and Kim (Robert Jr.'s girlfriend) and I were in the back of the boat betting each other who was going to get sick first. All of a sudden, Robert Sr. asks me "Wouldn't it be cool to tell your Mom you actually drove a boat" and I figured "What the heck - sure". Well that's another story, but when we finally got the boat back in the water (LOL) Robert Sr. took over the controls. When we got to the Jacksonville Landing Robert Sr. did everything short of parallel parking the boat next to several other boats right up front (we had the perfect spot). The next adventure was walking over 3 other boats to get to land. Somehow I knew I was going to end up swimming half the way. The rest of the group was jumping from boat to boat and then here comes Tim (with a balancing pole) and holding on for dear life - and then like magic we were all on LAND!
The Jacksonville Landing was already packed with folks (it's now about 6:00pm) for the fireworks, which were scheduled for about 9:30pm or so. Well we were all hungry and we went to one of the finer restaurants at the Landing. I won't mention the name of the restaurant (you be the judge of which one of them is one of the finer restaurants there), but after the 5 of us went through 15 meals, well sufice it to say the restaurant lost more than our money's worth.
Now it's getting about 8:30pm, so we all head back to where the boat is tied up. Well Robert Sr., Laurie, Robert Jr., and Kim all jumped from boat to boat and then here comes Tim with his balancing pole and holding on for dear life (LOL) and finally I'm back on the boat I came on. Now Robert Jr. says I'd be able to get a better view of the fireworks if I sat up front on the boat, so I went down past the kitchenette on to a bed (which reminds me there wasn't room in the cabin for the couch which Robert Sr. had tested out at home weeks prior - in an earlier episode) but I digress. I laid on the bed to come up through the front of the boat, and when I finally got there I sat for about 5 or 10 minutes and realized there wasn't a comfortable position available so I got up and walked back to the back of the boat. Kim and Robert Jr. suggested I go back up to the front of the boat and just hang my feet down. I did and they were right. I was on the front of the boat, Laurie, Robert Jr. and Kim were on top of the boat and Robert Sr. was in the back of the boat - we were ALL comfortable and then the fireworks began. They were BEAUTIFUL - lasted 10 or 15 minutes - the band played "I'm proud to be an American", the "National Anthem", and "America the Beautiful", among others - the whole thing was just breath-taking.
After it was over, we untied the boat from the other boats and headed back. Now, by this time (obviously) it was dark, and of course we weren't the only boat leaving. Somehow, with Laurie and Robert Jr.'s help, Robert Sr. was able to navigate the boat between other boats and crab-traps stratigically placed in the water. One time I remember Robert Jr. pointed to the left and Laurie pointed to the right and Robert Sr. stopped the boad (like on a dime) and barked out "OK, WHICH WAY?!?!" Well, it turned out there was a crab-trap to the left and another boat (with very dim lights) to the right. And Kim and I were thinking "You know in hind-sight - this will have been kind'a fun if we don't drown". We got back to the dock and Robert Jr. got off the boat, and on the dock and went up to get the truck and trailer. Rgerd nyar gace cwwb (Whoops! let me move the keyboard over) There must have been 20 or 30 boats waiting and all of a sudden here's Robert Jr. backing the trailer in the water as proficiently as his Dad did earlier and Robert Sr. navigated the boat right up to the trailer, it mounted perfectly and before I knew it we were all on land and the boat was ready for the trip home.
Robert Sr. & Jr., Laurie, Kim - that was a KICK - Thanks for a GREAT 4th of July