"Please remind me never to try this again!" she whispered with a smile, while resting her heels on the backs of his thighs. "Canoes do not make good beds!"
Matt backed away from her a bit, and then moved back to kiss her gently on the lips. Moving down he also ministered to each barely visible but very erect nipple. Moving carefully to avoid upsetting said canoe he eventually stood, reached down and carefully pulled up his shorts from down at his ankles. Grabbing the gun'ls he equally carefully stepped over the crossbrace and back to the stern seat of the canoe, sat down gently and picked up his paddle.
After he had knelt down on the bottom ribs of the boat Ruth was able to sit up enough to grab her shirt and shorts from the bow and cover her delicious body. As she moved about in doing so the moonlight glistened on the sweaty sheen that covered that wonderful body. Finally she rose to a stoop and prepared to move to the bow. Before she turned forward she leaned toward Matt and again they kissed a gentle, tender kiss. A kiss appropriate to the gentle, tender love they had just made, there, on the bottom of the canoe.
Grabbing the gun'ls she moved forward and picked up her paddle. Their interlude together was almost over.
Slowly and silently they paddled across the moonlit lake toward the island where Ruth and her family lived. If all were well no one would have noticed her absence during the night. Of course, the same was true about Matt's absence as well. From the sounds he didn't hear, all was well at her place.
About half an hour later Matt gently edged the Old Town canoe onto the small beach area off to the side of his family's camp on Follensby. Sliding his paddle to the bottom of the boat he equally gently balanced himself as he stood, removed the blanket from that bottom and moved forward to step out. Grabbing the bow deck he quietly pulled the canoe farther up onto the land and grabbed the rope tied to one of the tree stumps that framed the area. Tying it through the bow ring of the boat, he silently moved back toward his tent, set off to the side of the much larger cabin tent occupied by his family. And all was well at his place.
Quietly slipping through the zipper fly of the tent he carefully closed the entry and dropped himself gently to the sleeping bag waiting there for him on its air mattress. Heaving a gentle sigh of satisfaction as he stretched out, kneading his pillow into a thicker lump under his head, he rolled over slightly, and fell asleep.
Matt had been coming to the Adirondacks since he was eleven and that was over six years before that session in the canoe; it was back in 1956. His dad had brought him up to Fish Creek for some camping and father/son bonding the summer after his new brother was born. Matt figured out later that Mom and Dad had worried about his accepting a sibling after having been an only child for ten years. So Dad was concentrating on keeping 'the kid' involved and interested.
Eventually the whole family got involved in the camping. When he was fourteen his parents had applied for a permit to put a tent-cabin on one of the next lakes over, Follensby Clear Pond. It had been quite an interesting summer as all the 'men' of the family went over to the site that had been approved by the state permit agency and cleared the land. They put in the necessary dock, necessary because the permitted location couldn't be reached by car, only by boat. Everything they used had to be carried in on their 14-foot Cadillac aluminum boat.
That first year they had built one platform to hold the family's veteran 12 by 14 high-wall tent. They had also built a privy back in the woods, driven a well point system at the other end of the site for a water supply and constructed two picnic tables to place under the equally veteran Baker tent that now sported additional side curtains.
The next year Dad and Uncle Harry, with Matt's help, had built the larger platform with wooden sides reaching up five feet before the canvas top rose up along the aluminum screened walls to the chicken-wire-bridged rafters. It was typical of the other permit tent-cabins on the lake and contained all the usual home elements except privacy. That's because everything normally in a home was there, but everything, except for the privy out back, was in one room that was divided only by hanging curtains. It was a big tent that stayed up all year long.
In fact Matt's separate tent meant that he probably had more personal privacy than any one else in the family. That's what had allowed him to sneak out to meet with Ruth that night when he was seventeen.
Oh, it wasn't the only night they had snuck out together. It's the first time they had made love in the boat though. In fact it was only the third time that they had made love. Usually they had gone to a smaller island up the lake and made out. His family had always referred to it as 'Lover's Island' while her's had always called it 'Honeymoon Island'. So it seemed that both families had somewhat the same view of the small bit of land. He and Ruth had truly made it a lover's island twice over the past two weeks.
His family generally spent at least six weeks living in their tent-cabin during each of the summers since they had built it. He and his Mom and his two brothers would be alone during the workweek and Dad would make the five-hour drive up from their home in Jersey on the weekends, driving back on Sunday afternoon. During the week Matt was the 'man of the house', responsible for keeping everything working right and for helping his mother.
The lake was pretty much their own as there were only about thirty permit camps around the lake and less than a quarter of them were occupied at any one time. It was common for Matt's to be the only boat on the lake when he took his daily run around the lake. Occasionally there would be folks from one of the other camps touring also, and sometimes some fishermen, but outsiders mostly left the lake alone.
He had been able to have his younger cousin George up at camp with him for about two weeks each summer, but George hadn't been able to make it this year. So Matt had been very pleased when the Summers family had moved back to their island camp only four days after his own family had arrived for the season. It had been the previous year that Matt and George had met Ruth Summers and her family for the first time. They had seen her at a distance several times and were both too shy to go up and make themselves known, although George kept urging his older cousin to 'do something!'
Then, one Tuesday last summer, while on their daily boating lake tour, there she was by herself on the other side of the narrow passage of water between her home island and the mainland. She had apparently swum over and was resting up before making the return swim. She was alone, and looking good in her light blue two-piece with flowers printed all over it. Matt couldn't stop himself from bringing the boat in closer and chopping the throttle back to idle. As the boat dropped off the step and slowed rapidly he kicked the engine into reverse so that they stopped about ten feet in front of her and Matt said, for lack of anything else, "Hi!"
While Matt might have been shy at the time, Ruth was rather more comfortable with talking to strangers, even 'boys'. She had a year's more life experience than Matt did, and three more years' experience than the younger George had. She simply responded with "Hi guys! What's up?"
They made small talk of introduction for a while and then Matt offered her a ride back home to her island, or around the lake if she was so inclined, after all that's what he and George were out for in the first place. Later they found out that Ruth's parents had been watching the encounter from their chairs by the fire-pit in front of their tent-cabin on the island. Ruth knew that they could observe what she was doing, so she knew that she would be safe with these boys who were picking her up. She agreed to join them if her parents permitted it and so George hooked the boarding ladder that they had for water skiing over the gunwale of the boat and Ruth climbed aboard.
She explained that they had to go to her 'home' first, so Matt fired up the motor, regained the seat behind the steering wheel and idled across the narrow waterway and pulled up at the Summers' dock.
By now her father and mother had walked down to the dock and her dad reached down and held the boat to the dock while Ruth explained the boy's invitation. Dad wanted to know who these fellows were and so Matt made the introductions for himself and his cousin and explained where their campsite was. With the 'relevant information' exchanged Mr. Summers pushed the boat away from the dock and said, "Have a fun ride kids!"
And that was the beginning of it all. And I do mean 'all'!
For Matt had never been on a date with a girl.
As one of the youngest guys in his class at school, he had always been too shy to try to get into the dating scene that his classmates were moving into. The oldest kid in his family and in his neighborhood group of friends, and shy to boot he didn't have the advice and experiences of kids older than himself to drive him beyond his shyness. That accidental casual meeting on the lake began the chain of events in his life that led to dating other girls and eventually to marriage to the woman he had loved for so many years.
Now of course, at age 61, that chain of people and events had gotten rather long. But looking back at it all was an enjoyable task as he considered making a return to the Adirondacks, after having been absent for over forty years. Some of the events of that year he remembered as if they were yesterday, but many had disappeared into the murky quagmire of time.
He remembered that on that sunny first summer afternoon Ruth had moved to the center of the center seat, between the two boys and they took off at cruising speed on a tour of the lake. As they circled around neighboring islands, waving to the folks at the camps that were occupied she said, "Wow, I like this going fast. All we have is that little boat with Dad's five-horse kicker and our canoes. We generally go a lot slower!"
"Thirty-five horses here and a runabout hull," came the comment from George. "The only problem is that Matt's the only one allowed to drive it, other than his Dad, of course. I don't think your Mom even knows how to run it, does she Matt?"
"Oh yea, Dad insisted that she know how 'just in case', but I think she'd have a hard time starting it since we don't have electric start. You and she are about the same size, Ruth. Do you think you could pull that thing and start it?"
"After watching you pull it through I think I probably could, but it wouldn't be easy. I'm not a big girl you know!"
Glancing sideways at his new seatmate Matt had no reason not to agree. "We've noticed. In fact when we talked about the people on the lake you've been given the nickname 'the little one'!"
"The Little One? I'll have you know that I'm five foot even, and that's not little!" came the self-contradictory response.
"Well it is compared to my five foot nine and George's five foot seven. And he'll end up taller than me eventually, so I have to lord it over him now while I can! So, you're five even, and how old are you 'little one'?"
"I'm seventeen, and how old is the captain of our vessel, and his crew person?"
"Well, I'll catch up to you in October and George is lagging us both by about two years. Where does your family call home?"
And so the conversation went as the three of them became acquainted. When they returned to 'Summers Island' (as Ruth's home would be known in Matt's family from then on) the boys were invited up for some lemonade. Actually, of course, it was a way for her family to find out more about these kids whom they had seen scooting around the lake or water-skiing for the past several years. Because of the friendliness of her parents the conversations were easy for the boys and both sides became quite better acquainted. Eventually the boys left and George was socially aware enough to wait until the boat was around the point and invisible from the island before erupting and pounding on his older cousin's shoulder.
"Hey, we did it! We finally met the girls! And I like Anita (Ruth's next younger sister, who was thirteen at the time), she's almost as much of a fox as her big sister! And I think that her big sister kinda likes you, too!"
In case you haven't figured it out, George was rather more socially comfortable than Matt was. It was probably related to the fact that he was the youngest of three and the only boy in his family. His sisters' presence had allowed him to develop in some social areas faster than Matt's mostly solitary background had allowed him to develop.