Just Give Me a Moment of PEACE!


Peace LJ and the ferryman are watching the couple in the parking lot at the top of the riverbank. They hear loud yelling. Peace recognizes the man’s voice as the one who called to make the reservation and recalls the conversation. There was an urgency about it. His wife had wrecked her car, it was her third DUI, and her license had been taken away.

The woman is in high heels and a tight skirt, which is not the best outfit for a ride in their small boat. Peace pulls “The Craft” closer to the dock and tightens the lines to minimize movement when she steps in.

The husband had explained that his wife’s job is in the city across the river and she has to be there every day. He was the only one available to drive her to work but that would mean driving south to the bridge, waiting in traffic to pay the toll, and then driving north to the city. After dropping her off at work, he would have to drive back the way he came, drop the kids off at school, and finally drive to his own place of work. All that driving was simply too much.

Peace had reassured him, “That is exactly why the ferryman and I provide this service, to ferry people across the river.”

Their two kids are in the car, but instead of a tender moment of kisses and “I love you”, she slams the car door and yells, “Just give me a moment of PEACE!”

As she stomps down the steep steps, she fumbles her briefcase and her grumbling becomes more noticeable. She is late and knows it. Her brow is deeply furrowed and her teeth are clenched. Peace and the ferryman both sense her anger and prepare for it.

At the bottom of the stairs she looks up and sees what her husband had called the ferry. A wave of something like fear invades her anger and she walks more slowly across the floating dock. The ferry is smaller than she had imagined, much smaller. And it sits low in the water. So low that the sides of the craft allow you to reach over and touch the water if you want to.

Peace smiles at his new passenger and takes his customary bow, “Peace LJ at your service.”

“Hi, ummm, Brenda, Brenda White”, she says slowly. Peace is laughing inside because he knows what is coming. Anger has no power on this river.

The craft is custom designed and handmade by Peace and the ferryman. They built it to row passengers across the river. It is made from beautiful hardwoods, smooth and polished. It is long, narrow and pointed in the bow and stern. The ferryman sits in the bow and rows with two long oars. 

Peace places a small stool in the bottom of the craft, in front of her seat that will shorten her steps. He offers his hand and she takes it. There is a long pause before she steps onto the gunwale. As the craft tips downward from her weight, she takes a quick breath. Her body is shaking and she hesitates at every step. She steps onto the stool and leans over to grasp the back of her seat before stepping onto the floor of the craft. Finally, she sinks into her seat and we all breathe a sigh of relief.

When she did not show up on time, there was no concern, just patience. She most certainly looks like success. She has a leather woven briefcase and a designer windbreaker. It appears that she embraces the business culture and brings a drive for perfection to it.

Peace removes the stern line from the cleat on the dock, then the bow line. As he steps into the craft, he gently pushes the bow away from the dock. The craft rocks gently as he settles into his seat. Brenda reaches into her purse and Peace gets a glimpse of what looks like a tiny bottle. She throws her head back, pretending to fix her hair, and drinks the contents.

The ferryman smiles broadly and reaches for the first oar. The oars are very long. They are designed to efficiently deliver the power from the ferryman’s body into the forward motion of the craft. The handles are thin to fit his grasp. He slides the outer oar into its lock. Lifting the second oar, he uses it to push the craft farther from the dock, then locks that oar into place. The oarlocks are well-oiled so they make only the slightest sound. The paddles on the ends of the oars are much larger than those on other oars you may have seen. Being larger, there is much more resistance against the water. One stroke of the oars takes a long time but they offer the optimum amount of resistance, creating a rowing cycle time most comfortable for the ferryman to sustain for the journey across the river.

Brenda sighs a deep sigh. The river will do that.

Looking upriver, there is a slight mist over the water. All is silent and peaceful. A small heron is stalking its prey in the shallows next to shore. With each step it takes, its neck slides forward and back, its beak practicing the move it will make to spear quickly into the water. It stops. With careful aim and faster than the eye can capture the movement, it suddenly has a fish proudly displayed for all to see. Another quick move and the fish becomes a bulge in the heron’s slender neck.

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