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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Faithful and Dismay

Charley’s Treasures

 by Charley Norton



My wife has been talking about needing to cut the grass so yesterday I decided to get the mower out for her. I pumped up the tire, charged the battery and greased all the places that wanted grease. To my disbelief, it actually started! Excited over this unusual phenomena, I decided to cut the grass myself (Kim’s birthday is coming up and I thought it would be a nice present). I also managed to check off my list the job of cutting the leaves up that had accumulated from fall which had been on the list, well, since fall. While I was so motivated, I went ahead and mangled the hedges and repaired the lattice inserts on each side of the house that the honey suckle vines vindictively keep pulling down. Then I cut back some of the limbs on what I think must be the largest privet hedge in the state of Alabama so that Kim wouldn’t get whacked on the head the next time she cut the grass. This, of course, would of been smarter if I did it before I cut the grass but it is usual and customary for me to get whacked on the head before coming up with any good idea.

Looking around at the front yard, I am reminded that I need to build a picket fence. I tore down the old rotten fence last year and since then our front yard has been surrounded by the remaining brightly painted fence posts which I now refer to as the “Stonehenge” of Wedowee.

My mind starts to drift, as it is prone to do, and in it I start to construct the new fence. I will use pressure treated lumber this time to prevent the rot, mount them higher off the ground to avoid moisture and the beating the last fence took from the weed eater. I will make the sections where they’d be easier to remove for future painting and to access the front yard with the riding mower and then build that arbor over the walk that I’ve been wanting to do.

But about that time, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the noses of Faithful and Dismay, the polaris twins, peaking out from under the shed. I could hear a bass boat in the distance as it tracked down the shallow river and I realized that lake season is soon to start. I decided to walk over and inspect the craft, discarding the clippers and any thoughts of households duties and replacing them with thoughts about the water. I wondered how the Peninsulas, the Spot and Shiland island weathered the mild winter. I thought how great it will be when we can ride up the river to Scoops Deli and have bacon, eggs, and strawberry shortcake for breakfast again (so awesome!), then jump the big waves at the point in front of the Lake Wedowee Hotel (JR’s house), do the swing thing near the 48 bridge and jump off the big rock. I can’t wait to go camping again and see the sun set and rise over the shimmering water. It’s going to be awesome!

At inspection, both of the skis looked rough. Faithful has gouges on the nose from running up under the metal dock at Chimney Cove, and both are scratched from front to back after hitting the docks at lakeside, Chimney Cove, the 48 bridge, Scoops Deli, and most of the others they were tied up to. Dismay has a big spot of primer under the front from the tree limb that impaled it over near Onas Brand’s house, and the seat is ripped from the cheap crappy cover I bought off Ebay last year and pitifully installed. Just like last year and the year before, I started to think about redoing them with a cool paint job with flames and custom hood scoops. I’d strip the cowling off the steering for a cool motorcycle look, remove the Polaris labels, and paint “Snortski” in its place, and put on loud water boxes so everyone would know we’re coming (and probably not be very happy about it)!

Then, just as I did last year and the year before, I realized why I won’t do it. Every scratch, gouge and faded mark is a reminder of what great memories we’ve had on these machines, just like the guy that went mud riding and rode around town with his truck covered in dirt. It’s not to show off the vehicle, but the fun he had in it. Let the other guy anchor his pristine craft 50 foot offshore. He can feel my wake as I buzz by and prop my ski on the rocky bank. Let him wash his ski with tears over the scratch he got when he hit it with the lawn mower. I will challenge the mower to find an unscratched place to hit! If my neighbor advises me again that I should cover our ski’s in the winter, I will say, “Why? They love the sun! Why in the world should I deprive them of that?”

I know that the imperfections lessen the value, but they are Polaris, which means they aren’t worth anything anyway. Besides, they’re not for sale. They are scarred, temperamental and mischievous. Where else could I find two boats so much like myself? As for the yard…..looks pretty good to me.

Let’s Ride!!





Charley Norton is co-owner of Norton’s Flooring, a company started by his mother and father in 1976. Norton’s Flooring products are in countless homes on Lake Wedowee and throughout the county.


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