I sold hardware, all sorts of hardware for medium size manufacture.
It was all I'd done for 14 years. I had started right out of high school.
One afternoon, right after lunch our boss called the department together and
informed us that the company had been sold. The plant would close in two
months. As part of the deal we would have help finding new jobs or we could
go back to school and the company would pick up the tab.
A bit lost, I opted to go back to school. I didn't have a family and had spent most of my adult life one the road selling. At first I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but after some consideration I opted for Oceanography. I had always loved the sea and had used my vacations to sail. Of course it helped that some old contacts on the coast of New Hampshire decided to take advantage of an opportunity on the west coast. They had started a building supply company and wanted to expand out west. For me it was great. They had build a dream house on 40 acres of old farm land next to a large bay. The bay ran down to a river and then directly out into the Atlantic. In exchange for keeping the place up I got to live there free and clear for at least five years. Just to sweeten the deal I had use of their 36 foot gaff rigged ketch. Within an hour of casting off from my new front yard I could be at sea, headed nearly anywhere in the world.
The first few weeks after classes started were an education in themselves. I quickly discovered that I was considered a "non-traditional" student. The college, recognizing how lost some of us were set up a non-traditional student forum. The group met twice a week over lunch to discuss our problems. I wasn't clear about my future, but I had no plans to spend the rest of it on the road. So I began to check out some of the women and think about what it would be like to settle down.
Two of the women in the non-traditional group caught my attention. One, named Cindy, I really liked. She was best described as the waif type, long straight dark hair, tall skinny with little chest. Perhaps three years younger the me, she nearly also showed up at the meetings barefoot in jeans and tee shirts. From what she said I got the distinct impression that she was kinky. Several of my girls friends had been into B&D and I swore that if I ever settled down, that would be one of the characteristics I would look for. About three weeks after the start of the meetings she showed up with bruises around her wrist and ankles. The facilitator, a woman, gave Cindy the once over and clearly disapproved of what she saw. On the other hand I found Cindy interesting enough to take her out.
Cindy was nice enough, but from the start it was clear we could be friends, but never more then that. For one thing she smoked and for another I didn't like the way she flaunted her life style. We would meet once or twice a week for coffee before class and she invited me to her place for a birthday party. She was the type of woman that seem to need a big brother or father or perhaps a Master. I knew many men who would stand in line to take care of her. I wasn't interested in that type of woman, I wanted someone who could stand on her own. Cindy and I would continue to see each other for years afterward.
Lee Ann on the other hand was clearly not the waif type nor was she a "big beautiful woman." She was in short, the woman next door who had gone through hell. A natural blond about five six with everything in neat symmetrical proportion. Her two best features were her long legs and her bright blue eyes. She was in one of my classes as well as the group and slowly I pieced together her story. A year younger the me, she had married right out of high school and had two kids. One night about three years before we met she realized her husband Teddy was cheating on her. Unable to work out their differences they had separated. On a cold Friday night Teddy had taken the kids out shopping. After stopping at his girl friends for a drink he hit black ice and rolled the car on a bad corner, killing himself and the kids. It had taken Lee Ann two years just to accept that her whole life as she had know it was over. Finally realizing that with few skills the job market wasn't that great and she need to get on with her life, she had elected to go to college.
Lee Ann and I didn't connect very well. I wasn't sure then, but I think at first it was to much for considering her fairly recent lost. Somehow I wish could have blended Cindy's badness with Lee Ann's "Mrs. Cleaver." Winter came and I didn't see either one of them over Christmas vacation. I didn't have much money, but was able to afford a short trip south to visit some old friends and do some sailing. Spring semester rolled around and Lee Ann wasn't in any of my classes this time, but I did see her at the non traditional group twice a week. She seemed to be doing quite well. One day to my surprise I spotted her and Cindy sitting together at the student coffee shop. I had never seen them together on campus before except during the meetings. I did notice a subtle change in Lee Ann's dress. For example she began to wear shorter dress's and sometimes no stockings. She also seem very happy to see me when ever we met. I was very surprised when at one of our coffee's Cindy told me Lee Ann was interested in me.
The semester dragged on and I decided to throw a Saturday Bar-B-Q a week before finales. Needless to say I invited everyone from the group and several of the older students with whom I'd become friends. Saturday dawned bright, clear and warm, the perfect spring day. About eleven I started the fire and started to set up everything. Around one people began to show up. I got busy serving them beer and starting to cook.
About one thirty I caught the sound of a familiar car, Cindy's old beater. Glancing up I caught sight of two people getting out. I wonder which of her boy friends she had brought and I wonder if he would be a problem. Someone asking for a beer diverted my attention for a second. When I looked up again I almost dropped the beer in my hand. It wasn't a guy with Cindy, it was Lee Ann! I couldn't believe my eyes, Lee Ann was dressed in cutoffs, bare midriff blouse and barefoot! God she look delicious. When she notice my gaze, she dropped her eyes.
Cindy came right up to the table I was using as a bar/serving table. She was carrying a zip up book bag. Handing it over the table she said.
"Here is a surprise for later, don't open it now."
Lee Ann, standing behind her said, "Hi!" and waved.
"O.K. Thank you." Puzzled I took that bag, it was fairly heavy. I put it under the table next to a leg. Lee Ann and Cindy went off to mingle with the others. Briefly they held hands as they walked away.
The party went well. No one got drunk or wanted to start a fight. About 4 the crowd began to thin out. Finally it was just four of us, Tim, Lee Ann, and Cindy. All three volunteered to help clean up. As soon as everything was in the kitchen Tim left. I knocked down the tables and stored them in the garage. On my way to the kitchen I met Cindy on the way out.
"Thank you for coming."
"Oh the pleasure was mine. I put the bag in the kitchen."
"What's in it."
"Oh you will know when the time is right to open it." Cindy gave me a sly wink, "See you Monday;" waved and headed up the driveway. I wondered where Lee Ann was. But since I couldn't see Cindy's car, I figure Lee Ann had already gone up and was waiting. I was disappointed that she had not stop to say goodbye.
When I walked in to the kitchen I was surprised to find Lee Ann putting things away. I didn't say a thing, I didn't know what was going on. We worked side by side cleaning things up and put stuff away. When the dishwasher was full and running we were finished.
"Want to walk down and see the bay?" I still didn't have clue what Lee Ann was up, but I figured a walk might start things rolling—if there was something to start. As we left the kitchen, Lee Ann picked up the book bag and swung it over her shoulder.
We were about half way down to the bay when I told Lee Ann I was happy she had come to the party.
"Thank you for inviting me, I had fun. You didn't seem to happy to see me." Her voice was sad.
"Ah, well, I never figured you and Cindy would hook up."
"Do think I'm a lesbian?" Lee Ann glanced at me for a second.
"I don't have a clue. I do know that Cindy is bi."
"Well I'm not." She hesitated for a second and then went on; "I have a confession to make. Back at the end of last semester. I happened to meet Cindy in the coffee shop. She had been waiting for you, but you had just called to say you were having a problem with you reservations and couldn't make."
"What a pain in the butt that day was."
"Anyway I didn't have any place to go, so I sat and began to talk to Cindy. I had never really had a conversation with her. And I knew she knew you better then anyone else."
Lee Ann stopped speaking for a few minutes as we walked out on the pier and looked out across the bay. It was after five, the sun had begun to cast shadows across the bay in front of us. The tide up, the bay present an idyllic, romantic scene. I ached to seduce her right then, but I want to hear the rest of her story. I wondered where she was going with all of this.
We sat on a bench not quite touching. Lee Ann, with the bag beside her, her bare feet and long legs stretched out in front of her, continued;
"We chatted about class for a few minutes. The I asked her point blank why was it that I couldn't get to first base with you." Lee Ann studied me for a monument to gage my reaction. "Cindy told me that I was, I think the word she used was 'prissy'. I had never considered myself prissy." She paused for a few seconds. "But maybe she was right."
Prissy was not a word I would have used to describe her. But I didn't tell her that.
"Next I asked her what kind of women does Harry like? She told me you liked 'barefoot nature girls' and if they were a bit kinky, so much the better. I wasn't sure what kinky meant and she explained bondage and all of that to me." She looked up at me again. "It was very interesting. I'd never though about any of that stuff. My mother always made me wear shoes and I never considered going barefoot."
"But your barefoot now." I reminded her softly. She went on without seeming to hear me.
"After listening to Cindy I had to figure out how much I wanted you. I decided that I would at least try a few things, like going barefoot, and see how things went. So, from that moment on I started going barefoot as much as I could. Needless to say it was the middle of the winter, but it was a very mild winter. I was really surprise how much I liked the freedom. I even went barefoot in the snow a few times! For the first time in my life my feet didn't hurt at the end of the day. I love finding new textures. I guess you might say I'm hooked."
A passing fishing boat caught our attention. Pointing to the sail boat tied to the floating dock at the end of the pier Lee Ann asked if we could use it.
"Yes, perhaps if tomorrow is as nice as today we can give it a try. I just got it out of storage last weekend."
Nodding, Lee Ann went back to her story.
"After our talk in the coffee shop Cindy invited me up to her place. Over the next few weeks we met nearly everyday to talk. I found I really liked her. One day we went to Boston. We spent the morning wandering around sight seeing. Of course she went barefoot. I tried it a little bit, but kept waiting for someone to yell at me." She smiled at the memory.
Continuing she said; "In the afternoon she took me to a strange store. It had all sorts of kinky stuff—ropes, chains, whips, clothing, you name it, they had it or could get it. I didn't even know there was a store like that! Cindy picked out some leather cuffs; both ankle and wrist, chains to connect them, a ball gage, and pad locks." Lee Ann reached over and put the bag on the deck between us. Suddenly I knew what was in the bag. She went on.
"When we got back to her place Cindy laid all the things out on her kitchen table. Turning to me she said, 'Get undressed.' I told her she was nuts. She said, 'don't knock it until you've tried it.' She was right of course, but I was scared, I'd never done anything like this before. Finally I got a hold of myself did as she asked. Cindy took the cuffs and locked them on my wrists. Pulling them behind my back she locked them together. Next she locked the ankle cuffs and connected them with a chain. She didn't gag me or do anything to me. We just sat around and talked. About 11 she let me lose and I went home."
"What did you think it?"
"It, ah, I guess you could say it turned me on a bit, but I'm not gay and I think it would be better if it were a guy who did it." She stopped, sat back and watched for my reaction.
I bent over and picked up the bag. Cindy was right, I did know when the time was ripe. Opening the bag I began to pull out the cuffs, chains and locks. Looking at Lee Ann I said.
"I think you should get undressed now don't you?"
"Yes," she sighed, "there is always that moment when you have to put up or shut up." Silently Lee Ann sat watching me.
"Let me put it another way. I only remember the gist of this, but the story goes like this. The Mayor of a town in Japan went to see the local Zen Master. He told him that he wanted to learn Zen. The Zen Master invited the Mayor to tea. After the tea was set before the Zen Master; the Zen Master began to pour the Mayor's cup. Once it was full he kept pouring, tea spreading everywhere. 'Stop cried the Mayor no more will go in!' The Zen Master replied 'Yes, you are like the cup, you must empty yourself before any more will go in. The Mayor understood and was enlightened."
She didn't move or say anything for several minutes. I was beginning to wonder if I had read her right. Then with a sudden movement she stood. Without hesitation she undid the button and zipper on her cutoffs and let them drop. She wasn't wearing panties. Without stopping she pulled her top off. Nude she stepped closer to me and extended her wrist. I locked the first cuff on as she spoke.
"I want to empty the cup and begin again." Lee Ann said.
"Did Cindy explain about safe words?" I asked.
"Yes." Lee Ann shuddered.
"O.K. yours is popcorn. Do you understand?"
"Is there anything you don't want me to do to you?" I left it open-ended, wanting to see what limits she set. She hesitated for several seconds as I secured the rest of the cuffs on her.
"No, I have none. I don't know, nor do I want to know what you are going to do to me, that will be part of the fun." She gave a wicked smile. "Just remember that I've never done this before."
"Even if I make love to you? You will be helpless and unable to stop me." She closed her eyes, then, opening them looked down at me, I was still sitting on the bench.
"That's the point isn't it? No control? I have no idea what that is like. I've always been in control. Now I'm not going to be. Will I like that, maybe not, but I want to try! By the way I can't have kids." She shuddered, "I . . . I . . .I had my tubes tied after M . . . ah, my daughter was born."
Knowing that Lee Ann had never done anything like this, I suspected that she had no idea of that danger she had entered into. She was lucky that I wished her no harm and would not hurt her. I had met some people who, given the license she just had given me, would have made her wish she were dead and perhaps maimed her for life. If she survived she may have been turned off by bondage for the rest of her life. I wanted this to be a turn on and fun for her.
I secured her wrists behind her back. Next I connected her ankles with a 18" length of chain. Digging in the bag I found something that she had not mentioned and really amazed me. It was a leather collar with a leash attached to it. Lee Ann's name was embossed along the length of it. Seeing it she smiled.
"Turn around." She did as she was asked. Standing behind her, I fitted the collar around her neck and locked it on. The leash dangled between her breasts. "What are your plans for tomorrow?"
"I have nothing planed until class Monday morning. . .Mas. . ."
"Hush, you do not need to address me as 'Master.' Sir or my name will do fine for now."
Digging further into the magic bag I found the ball gag she had mention and a blind fold. Both of which could be locked on.
"Open your mouth." She did as told and I inserted the gag. "Now, you are going to have a test." Her eyes got wide, but of course she couldn't say anything. "Here is how it is going to work. Do you remember the path we came down." She started to turn around to look back at the distant house.
"No! Don't look. I asked you a question. Yes or No." She nodded a slow, I though tentative yes. "I'm going to blindfold you. Your test is to get back to the house. It is a good thing you are barefoot, you can feel the path. Understand?" Lee Ann nodded yes. "Now you are to stand right here. I'm going to put your bag, cloths, and keys, on the boat." hers eyes got wide at that, "You wouldn't need anything until Monday morning." I thought I detected a smile behind the gag.
After picking up her shorts and shirt I went down to the boat and put the bag in the forward cabin. I pulled out the keys for the gag and blindfold from the bag. I also pulled an extra lock, key, and chain from the bag. These I slipped in my pocket. The rest of the keys I left in the front pocket of the bag. Back on the pier I picked up the blindfold from the bench and secured it around her head.
"I'll help you off the pier. Once on the path it is up to you." Taking her elbow I led her slowly off the pier. It must have been difficult for her. I knew she had never walked in chains, much less blindfolded.
Lee Ann started out taking short careful steps. She had a hard time figuring out that she needed to pay careful attention to the feel of the path. Several times she got off the path and into the deep dry grass from last year. Once she tripped and fell. A blind, hobbled beginner at this sort of thing, she just couldn't figure out how to get up.
"Stop!" Lee Ann lay still, on her side, panting around the gage. "Now, roll on to you stomach." She did as she was told. "Bring you knees up under you so your butt is up in the air. Pull yourself back over you knees until you are kneeling." I watched as she followed my instructions, rubbing her breasts on the grass as she did. I noticed her nipples had grown hard. With some effort she regained her feet. Stepping up beside her I said.
"You keep missing the path and you aren't using your feet. I know you never went barefoot before so you aren't aware of how you can use your feet to help you. Feel what you are standing on." She picked up her right foot and felt around with it. "O.K. you can feel the long grass you are standing, right?" She nodded yes. "Now, step forward. Did you feel how the grass changed, it got shorter." Once again she nodded yes. "Take another step. She did. "What do you feel? Little pebbles and some sand, correct? Do you remember how they felt on your way down?" She nodded yes again. "That is the path. So the way to do this is to feel with you foot. If you feel sand, short grass or pebbles, you can be relatively sure you are in the path or near it." I stepped back. "O.K. try it again."
This time she was smarter then before. Lee Ann would reach out with her foot, sweep it around then put it down and bring the second foot up. After a few tentative steps she began to use both feet. She could only cover 18 inches, the length of chain between her ankles, but she was moving faster. I found myself loving her. It took us over an hour to make the house. By the time we reached the drive it was full dark and getting chilly.
When we reached the house I stopped her with my hand. I removed the gag, but nothing else.
"How was that?" I asked.
"Neat! Wow, it was like finding a whole new world right at my feet." She giggled.
I removed the blind fold, opened the kitchen door, and motioned her into the room.
"Want a drink or anything?"
"No, but I could use a pee."
"Right this way." Picking up the leash that had been hanging between her breasts I led her through the house and up the stairs to master bedroom. I noticed that the exercise on the path had taught her a lot about the length of the chain between her ankles. In the master bedroom I pointer her toward the bathroom.
"Like this?" Lee Ann lifted her arms behind her back to indicate they were cuffed.
"Are you kidding? The keys are on the boat. Of course if you want them I will blindfold you and gag you so you can go back and get them. But I have no intention of walking down there tonight."
She didn't say anything in reply, she just walked into the bathroom and started to shut the door.
"What are you doing?"
"Shutting the door."
"House rules, you do not shut any door, without my permission as long as you are bound or until I say different. Understand?"
I went over the French doors at the end of the room. This bedroom was one nicest rooms of any kind I had ever been in. It was nearly 30 feet long and about 24 feet wide. It had a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams and skylights. Every 15 feet a cross beam tied the exposed rafters together. About 10 feet off the floor they would come in hand for suspension games. At the far end of the room a pair of French doors, flanked by floor to ceiling glass, opened out onto a balcony that gave a fantastic view of the bay. As I passed the bed I flipped the covers back. It was a queen size old fashioned style brass bed that offer all sorts of possibilities for bondage. Opening one of the French doors I stepped out and looked across the now dark bay. Distant lights marked the houses and shops across the bay. The balcony faced east and the moon had come up. It was nearly full, casting a path across the still water.
"Hay, Harry? May I please have a wipe in here, I can't reach the right place." I smiled, shut the door against the spring chill and went to help Lee Ann.
After we finished in the bathroom I led Lee Ann to the bed and waited while she got in. Turning I head back to do my business in the bathroom.
"Please pull up the covers. I'm getting cold." I stopped and faced the bed, Lee Ann had rolled over and was watching me.
"House rule number two. No asking for things unless it is life or death. I often do things for a reason. Returning to the bed I said; "Get up." She did as she was told. Picking up the leash and the gag from the bedside table where I had left them I hook the leash back on her collar. Turning I gave the leash a tug. She followed me to the French doors. Opening the doors I led her on to the balcony.
"Stand against the railing facing the bay." I directed her. She did as she was told. "Open your mouth." I installed the gag. Removing the chain and lock from my pocket I wrapped the chain around one of the support post. Pushing her feet together I lock the chain to her cuffs. She wasn't going anyplace until I released her. I went back inside.
After finishing in the bath, it had only been a few minutes, but I figured it was long enough. I went out on the balcony. I could easily see she was cold.
"Ready to come back inside?" Lee Ann nodded a vigorous yes. I removed the chain securing her to the post and escorted her back inside.
"Standstill." I removed the gag. "Get into bed." I pulled the covers up over her, walk around to the other side and got in. I didn't kill the lights.
Turning to her I pulled her to me. She was crying and shaking.
"Now you have had a taste of the down side of this game. Do you understand?"
"Y..e..s." she had a hard time speaking. More because of her emotions then cold.
"That was your lesson for tonight. I think you need to get warm." Pulling her closer I began to stroke her body. Soon we were kissing and getting very turned on. It had been a long time for both of us.
When I sensed she was ready. I gave her nudge she rolled onto her back. Lee Ann gave me a quizzical look. I knew she was wondering how we could make love with her ankles chain together. Reaching over the side of the bed I retrieved a towel I'd put there earlier.
"How are you arms?"
"Fine, I don't have a problem laying on them."
"Good. Raise your legs." She raised them about a foot off the bed.
"No, raise them until they are straight up in the air and then spread them as far as they will go. I slid between the. Finding her slit I slid into her.
"O.K. you can put them down." I saw she was surprised that by resting her ankles behind my knees we could make love very comfortably. It didn't take very long for us to orgasm. After resting for a few minutes she raised her legs and I pulled back.
"How you doing?" I asked her. "Do you want me to get the keys?
"No, I'm, just fine, just fine." She said dreamily.
"It's getting late, go to sleep." I pulled up the covers and slept.
I was awake just before the sun rose. Turning toward Lee Ann I realized
she was already awake and watching me.
"Morning beautiful." I greeted her.
"Morning Master." I gave her a hard look, but her grin told me she was teasing.
"How are you holding up?"
"Great, a little stiff, but no problems. Harry? Can we talk?"
"Of course. What's on your mind?" This approach worried me, but I didn't show it.
"This may seem strange," She paused, then went on. "But I've been thinking about it and I really like what has happened to me over the last twelve or so hours."
"What is strange about 'liking it?'"
"Well I was never the type of girl that liked to play cowboys and Indians and get tied up. I rarely went barefoot—not that I didn't like it, it is just that it never occurred to me that it might be a neat thing to do. All of a sudden I wake up, nude, bound, and in bed with you and I like it. That is weird!"
"I guess the most important thing is that you like it. And of course I must ask the question, do you want to continue?"
"Yes, I want to continue. I keep thinking about the Zen Master. I must empty myself of my old life, so I can go on with a new life. What we are doing is part of that. So, yes again, I do want to contiune."
"Good. First we will do breakfast and then hit the water as early as we can. We will head up the coast to a small town where they are having a street fair."
"Sounds good to me." She said.
I helped her out of bed. While she used the bathroom, with some difficulty, I started breakfast. After breakfast I rummaged around in an foot locker I kept in the mud room for a pair of long jeans, a sweat shirt, and a wind breaker. It was nice here, but would be cold on the water. I also found a sun dress that belong to the owner of the house.
I led Lee Ann down to the boat. Once on board I freed her and put the everything back in the bag. I handed her the outfit I'd pulled from the locker.
"Put on the shirt you wore yesterday and these. It will be cold on the water. You can put on the shorts when we go ashore, but for now wear these."
"Thank you, I hoped that was what you were looking for." She dressed quickly in from of me.
"Have you ever sailed." I asked Lee Ann.
"Yes, my father taught me how along time ago. I love to sail, but haven't been in years."
"Fantastic! Let's get her checked out." I was very pleased that we shared my passion.
"You can start at the bow and I'll do the stern and engines." As she headed off to begin I watched the flash of her bare feet. Man, I though to myself, she is just about perfect.
Starting at the stern I quickly checked the boat out. Unlike most of the boats on the bay she was wood. Built in Scotland, hence her name "Bonny Lass," she had a somewhat unusual configuration. Most sail boats like this if they have an engine at all would only have one. The Bonny Lass had two. I don't know what was install originally, but my friends had decided to upgrade her and had had two Cat diesel engines installed. As a consequence she had less space below decks, but was fast and powerful under power. From what I understood the idea was that she could navigate far up rivers were it was difficult for a purely sail powered craft to go. The twin engines gave her the power to buck heavy currents and gave her a top speed of nearly 18 knots. As long as the water was deep enough for her keel she was ready to go almost anyplace. After about half an hour we met in the cockpit. On the Bonny Lass this was an enclosed area amidships. Two doors opened to the weather decks on either side of the boat. Two hatches opened along the keel line fore and after to ladders. The forward ladder led down into the galley. Forward of the that was a guest cabin and a head. The aft ladder led to a large master cabin and head. A hatch in the center of the deck of the cockpit opened to reveal the engines. In addition to the two main engines there was a third engine which drove a generator and provided electrical power for the boat. The wheel was on the starboard side.
"Eye, eye, skipper, she is dry and tight."
"O.K. I'll fire up the engines if you will man the lines please." She made her way to the side of the boat and jumped onto the float. I flipped on the vent fans for a few seconds and kicked over the port engine. It started almost instantly. I let it run for a few minutes and fired up the starboard engine. Both settled into a throaty rumble. After starting the generator I turned on the electronic gear. The Bonny Lass was set up to go to the next bay or around the world. In addition to radar she had a depth finder, GPS, LORA, a cell phone, and radios.
Sticking my head door I ask Lee Ann to cast off the stern line. Using the bow line as a spring to hold her head I cranked the wheel to starboard and engaged the port engine at an idle. Neatly the stern of the Lass pivoted away from the dock. Easing the engine into neutral I had Lee Ann cast off the bow line. After she jumped on board I engaged both engines in reverse, centered the rudder and backed away from the float. We were off.
The run up the coast was uneventful. Once clear of the harbor we set the main and stay sails. Once the Lass's sails picked up the wind I cut the main engines, but left the generator running to power the electronics. I turned over the wheel to Lee Ann and she had a great time. I had a great time watching Lee Ann and the boat. It was great to have someone to share the fun with.
After about two hours we found the entrance to the harbor where I wanted to go. It is a tricky entrance and with the wind blowing the way it was I elected to drop the sails and go in under power. As Lee Ann began to drop the sails, I picked up the cell phone and called the Harbor Master. I had made arrangements for a mooring the week before and now I just needed to tell him I was on my way in. He gave me the mooring buoy number and location. With the sails down and stowed we made our way into the harbor. We didn't have any problem finding the buoy and tying up. Once secured, I cut all power and the boat fell silent. Next Lee Ann helped me flip the dingy into the water. She was ready to get in when I stopped her.
"I have something for you. Come below and I'll show you." Lee Ann's eyes grew wide, but she followed me into the aft cabin. I had the got the impression that she expected me to put her into some form of bondage, but that wasn't my intent. Once there I pulled out the sun dress I had packed for her. She took it from me and held it up.
"Wow, thank you. It's beautiful."
Quickly she stripped off the jeans, sweater, and shirt, then slipped on the dress. It fit her well and hung nearly to her ankles. Her bare feet peaked from under the hem.
"Let's go see what the town has to offer."
It took only a few minutes to row ashore and tie up next to several other dingys. On the pier we met the Harbor Master and I paid the mooring fee for the day. In town we discovered the whole road along the water front had been blocked off for the street fair. Many of the women were dressed in long dresses and barefoot, reenacting a time long lost when that was the normal mode of everyday dress.
Time passed quickly as we worked out way along the road. Lee Ann and I had a great time, laughing and joking with the people in the booths. It was simply a great time for both of us. I loved the way the soles of Lee Ann's feet quickly turned black from the pavement. When I mentioned this to her she picked her foot up to look at it.
Staring at her foot she said; "I don't think my feet have ever been this dirty. They look," she groped for words, "natural. Don't you think?"
"Ummm, yes. I'm discovering I really like being barefoot. It's really neat to feel the different textures of the road."
About halfway up the street we saw someone I knew. Being a hardware salesmen did have certain advantages. I had met almost every hardware store owner and/or manager on the east coast at one time or another. Many had become friends. Jimmy was one of these people. He had come over from Ireland when he was 14 with his folks. Settling his family in this small Maine town Jimmy's father had taken up fishing just as he had in the old country. Jimmy had tried it and decided that fishing wasn't for him. So he had gone to work in the local hardware store and when the owner died suddenly, his widow asked Jimmy to take over the store. A few years later Jimmy bought the widow out and now he owned the store.
"Hi Harry! Who's the lady?" Jimmy's accent had dulled over the years, but you could still tell he was from Ireland.
"Hi Jimmy, good to see you. Jimmy this is a friend, Lee Ann. Lee Ann this is Jimmy." Jimmy's wife Bea came over to see me, I'd only met her once or twice, but as I remember she was a looker. A real California girl lost on the coast of Maine. With her were their two daughters. Jill the younger, perhaps 16, was a normal teenage conformist dressed as if she had just stepped out of "17", wearing the latest shorts, running shoes and socks, and tee shirt. Kate, about 18, looked to be a throw back to the 60's. She was wearing a long granny style dress, barefoot, beads around her neck and an anklet with bells. From the looks of her feet, I'd say she went barefoot a great deal.
After introductions, Jimmy asked us up to his place for a cook out. Looking at my watch I noticed it was a bit after one. I explained that we'd have to be getting back to the boat soon to make it home at a reasonable hour.
"Oh, we were just going to go over to the dunking tank. The high school principle is going to be there in a few minutes." Jimmy said.
"The high school principle?" Lee Ann and I asked at the same time.
Jimmy and the girls laughed. "Yeah, it's a way to raise funds for a class trip during the summer."
So we all wandered over to the tank where a middle aged man in jeans and tee shirt sat on a board above a tank of water. Beside him was a target. To play you paid a dollar for three rubber balls. If you hit the target it would trip a release and Mr. Prescott would get dumped into the water. Both girls tried their luck. Jill went first and missed with two balls and just grazed the target with the a third. When Kate stepped up Mr. Prescott looked worried. Kate picked up the hem of her skirt and tucked it into her waist band so her legs were free. She tossed the ball up and down a few times to get the feel of it. With a wind mill windup she let go with an underhand fast ball that must have been going 80 when it hit the center of the target. With a crack and a thud, the principle splashed into the tank.
"I didn't tell you she was the start pitcher on the soft ball team did I." Jimmy said behind his hand. Lee Ann and I laughed.
The next two balls were carbon copies of the first. I'm sure the principle was happy to see Kate step back to let someone else take a turn.
Finished with the fair, the six of us set off for Jimmy's house. It was about a mile out of town on a dirt road. I was really proud of the way Lee Ann handled the road. For someone who had not gone barefoot much she seemed to be enjoying it. Kate, who walked the road barefoot every day strode ahead. She had not stopped grinning since she had dumped the principle three times in a row. I'm sure there must have been a story behind that grin.
Bea and the girls ran a small farm. Both girls had animals, Bea had a large garden; together they produced most of the food that family ate during the year. It was to early in the spring for the garden to be producing, but there was a lot in the freezer from last year. While Jimmy and I began to cook, the girls took Lee Ann to see the animals. When they came back I had to laugh. No one had mentioned to Lee Ann that she needed to be careful where she stepped, her feet were covered in cow shit and mud.
"I guess I've really gone native now." Lee Ann giggled as she examined them. Even a few minutes with the hose failed to fully clean them. I though they were cute. The meal was great, even if Lee Ann was the butt of many 'what do I smell?' jokes. She was a good sport about it and didn't seem to mind.
When we finished eating, we took Jimmy up on an offer to drive us back to the water front. I wanted to get back before dark and we had a ways to sail. Once on the Lass we headed out to sea.
We had been out an hour or so, Lee Ann was driving the boat while I was making sure everything was ship shape below. Suddenly she called that the weather was turning bad. I ran up the ladder, without a word Lee Ann pointed to a fast approaching squall line. We had had the weather radio on, but since they have closed the local weather offices, the sometimes miss fast moving storms. This front appeared to moving at close to 50 miles per hour. Taking the wheel I had Lee Ann slip on a life vest while I started the engines. Next I sent her forward to haul down the sails as I turned the Lass into the storm front. I had experienced storms like this before. If we could ride out the leading edge wind and rain the whole storm would be over in a half hour or so. Once the leading edge passed us we could turn south again and by the time we hit the turn into the river we wouldn't have lost much time. Lee Ann was having a problem with the main sail when a rouge wave slammed into the port side. Lee Ann was picked up and tossed over the side into the raging storm.
To be continued . . .