Nymph of the Wood
Chapter 4

Copyright© 2012 by Lance Manne

I was really enjoying my stay at the Bed & Breakfast. After returning from my ride, I stopped in town and did a little shopping. When I returned to the B & B, I was surprised to see that the "professor" was still there. While enjoying some wine and hors d'oeuvres, I began to engage her in some small talk. I think she began to see that I had a little more depth than she had previously thought.

For this occasion, she was wearing shorts and a light blouse that exhibited a titillating amount of cleavage. The conversation was going along so well that I took a chance and challenged her to a game of scrabble. I could tell by the look on her face that she was not pleased when I was able to place my X and Q on spaces that would double or triple the word scores.

We moved to more comfortable chairs on the deck and continued our conversation. The wine was very good and the discussion lively. I spotted a guitar by the wall and checked to see if it was in tune. After turning a few of the tuning keys, I began to strum a few of the old country songs that I knew.

Her face turned to one of pure delight. She responded by saying, "How fun!" Encouraged, I began to play an old Irish ballad. I taught her the chorus and she would join in with me when I reached that point. It was fun to see her face light up and to hear the joy in her voice. I began to see a whole new side of this person. I moved to some other songs that I thought she might remember, like "Home on the Range", and we had continued to have ourselves a very good time.

When I had depleted my list of songs, I placed the guitar back where I had found it. We sat for a few more minutes and enjoyed the quiet. I glanced over at my companion and noticed a very happy look on her face. After a few minutes, she stood up and moved closer to my chair.

I was quite surprised when she leaned over and gave me a little kiss on the check. The view that I had would have sent any man into orbit. With a smile, she said, "I have really enjoyed the evening, but I need to get up early for a very important speaking engagement." I replied that I also had enjoyed the evening and thanked her for her company. I was very disappointed when I saw her walk away. She had turned out to be a very nice person and I had enjoyed our interaction immensely. I also loved the little hint of a sway that she had when walked across the room.

What was happening to me, I wondered? Recently I had entertained two delightful women. My original plan had been to swear off women, and already I had found myself enjoying them immensely. I realized that I might need to make a decision to either stick to my plan or revise it. Staying on task was becoming harder and harder to do.

The next morning, after a wonderful breakfast, I asked our host where I might be able to find a service that could rent me a rowboat. She thought for a moment, and then said she remembered a farmer, who in the past, had rented out boats. His farm was located on a lake a short distance from town. She gave me directions and wished me good luck in my endeavor.

On the way, I stopped at a beautiful small lake and watched as an elderly lady fed the ducks. She wore a tattered old coat and a hat that had seen better days. As I watched, I noticed one duck that seemed to lag behind the others. As I looked closer, I noticed that the duck appeared to have a lame leg. Each time the old woman would throw out corn, the lame duck would try his best, but the other ducks would beat him to the food.

I smiled at the lady and asked if I could buy a little corn to feed the ducks. I could see some hesitation in her eyes. When I handed her a five, her mood quickly changed. This time, she seemed more than willing to fill my hands with corn.

I timed my throws in coordination with hers. When she threw out the corn, the ducks would go running in that direction. I would then throw my corn so that it landed close to the lame duck. The other ducks would rush in and almost knock him over, but he was still able to get some corn.

The old woman smiled at me and I noticed that she was missing a couple of teeth. From the look on her face, I could see that she understood what I was doing. She began working with me and together we were able to assure that the lame duck received his share of the food.

When all the corn was gone, I nodded to the old woman and headed to my car. Suddenly I had an idea and returned to speak with her. I thanked her for feeding the ducks and handed her a twenty. "Buy some more food for the ducks," I said. I could tell by the wonderful smile on her face that she had appreciated the gift and had enjoyed our brief encounter.

It wasn't long before I came to the farm I had been directed to. The barn was painted a bright red and the yard was well maintained. I noticed a little shed that displayed a sign stating, "Boats for Rent". I parked my car and walked over to ring the bell. Just as I was about to pull on the rope, I saw an older man emerge from the barn. He sauntered over my way with a big smile on his face.

"What can I do for you, young fellar?" he asked with a smile.

"I'd like to rent one of your boats," was my reply.

"It's been a very busy day and I only have one left," he stated.

"I'll take it," I said, as we began to negotiate on the length of time and the price. He told me to just leave the life jacket by the shed when I was done. He said there was no need to check out.

Then he stated, "My combine is missing one bolt. My son didn't know that and took off with it. I've got to go out and find him. Hopefully I can replace the bolt before we have any problems. Have a good time out on the lake."

I smiled as I walked down the path to the dock where the boat was tied. What a friendly man he was. No pretenses, just straight and to the point. It was great to be out where the real people lived.

It didn't take long to locate my boat. It was the only one left. It was an older wooden boat and was printed a bright green. I placed my little cooler on the floor along with a small folding chair I had brought along. Sometimes I like to just sit and enjoy, rather than fish. As they say, "Any day on the water is a good day." Of course, that is under the conditions where it is not pouring rain, it's not extremely dark out, and your tank is not low on fuel. I untied the boat and pushed off. Once I was far enough away from the dock, I placed the oars in the locks and took my first pull.

I pulled back slowly, feeling the muscles in my back as they fired up for this new activity. I pulled further back and felt my shoulder blades being drawn to the center of my back. It felt really good. The only sound I could hear was that of the oars as they dipped into the water. I loved the way my body moved in coordination as I began to develop a rhythm and leave the shoreline behind.

As I rowed, I thought about one dream that had never been fulfilled. I had always wanted to take an enchanting woman out on a rowboat to explore a beautiful lake. As I envisioned it, my wife would accompany me and I would row her slowly about the lake. She would sit facing me, her body framed by the sky and trees. She would wear a light dress that would flutter in the wind. Waves would ripple across the water and swans would occasionally swim by. I would watch as her head tilted back to capture the rays of the evening sun.

If the sun was too hot, I would hand her a parasol so that she could shade herself and remain cool. I would listen to her softly hum, as the oars did their work.

Well, I knew that dream would never come true. However, I was now on the lake and found that I was actually having a good time. In reality, I knew that my wife would be complaining that the sun was too hot or the wind was too cold. Fantasy and reality are such different things.

I noticed that the farmer had reached his son in the fields and they appeared to be working on the combine. I watched as a red-tailed hawk caught a wind current and soared high into the sky. A herd of cows were enjoying the coolness of the water. Some were in the lake up to their bellies.

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