Thanks to Bigsky's request, I'm going to start posting some of my collection of stories that I've written over the years. Look for one every week or so until we get through the winter. Here's the first one - Ed Jones THE DISTANT COVE I lay in the tent watching my father and Mr. Gibbs as they sat by the campfire, talking into the night. I was too excited to sleep. The sail across Lake Murray had been a rough one, the heavy old nineteen-foot Swan heeled way over, her gunwales dipping under more than once. Lake Murray, in central South Carolina, was almost uninhabited back in 1945 when I was ten. The huge earthen dam for it had been built in the middle of the Depression, and few people could afford summer homes on the forested shores of the lake. Our cottage was built in 1937, and was almost alone in its little cove. Mr. Gibbs and his family was one of our few neighbors. Swan belonged to them and it soon became the flagship of the flotilla of rowboats and sailing dinghies owned by the two families. It was on Swan that the two men and four boys made the annual camping trip to an isolated cove across the lake. The wind dropped drastically as we ghosted through the narrow entrance into the cove, a tree-lined passageway. It was a relief to feel the boat sailing steadily upright again. I climbed onto the cabin top and watched as we glided out of the entrance into the long, winding cove. The hills on each side were steep and heavily forested except for a small meadow on one side. That was our campground. The sheltered water was glassy calm as we coasted along and ground to a halt on the beach by the meadow. After unloading Swan, we set anchors fore and aft, holding her at an easy wade just a few feet out. Tents were set up, and the rock firepit that we had built when I was five was cleaned out and readied for use. We boys roamed the woods and soon brought back armloads of downed firewood. Over the years we had dragged logs out of the woods to serve as benches around the firepit. Even the old metal grill was reused from year to year. By sunset the fire was going and hot dogs were roasting. Soon my stomach was full of hot dogs and the potato salad my mom had sent along. But not so full I couldnâ€™t make room for the marshmallows we toasted. Now I was in bed, watching out the open tent while the moon rose through the pines across the cove, forming a glittering path across the water directly at Swan. To me she looked like the grandest yacht in the world as she lay peacefully at anchor. Swan. What a perfect name. â€œEddie,â€? my father had said, â€œI want you to sleep in my tent. The older boys will keep you awake all night.â€? The other boys were in a tent at the far end of the meadow. I could hear them laughing every so often. Knock-knock jokes, most likely. Frogs were cheeping and a distant owl added an occasional comment. I knew Mr. Gibbs would be sleeping in Swan, as he always did. â€œAnchor watch,â€? he called it. I loved the pup tent. My dad and I had gone to Solomonâ€™s Army-Navy surplus store in Columbia to get the real thing. It had an army smell, that rich smell of canvas, cosmoline, and brass polish that reminded me of the Home Guard Armory. During the war I used to go there and watch my father, a First Sergeant, drill the teenage boys and old men, all ready to fight off any Nazi invasion of South Carolina. On the other hand I figured the old Navy sailing ships smelled something like the cuddy cabin in Swan, filled with canvas covers, mildewed cotton sails, tar, and manila lines. Far different from an Army smell, except for the canvas. I liked to listen while my father and Mr. Gibbs talked by the fire before turning in. They seemed to know about everything. Their faces were lit by the firelight. My fatherâ€™s face was ruddy and his reddish hair was thinning. Mr. Gibbs, in his sixties, had a lean, craggy face and snow white hair. I watched him light his pipe, a familiar ritual. They were looking at the full moon. â€œFunny,â€? my father said, â€œhow the dark areas are called Mares.â€? â€œLatin for â€˜seasâ€™,â€? Mr. Gibbs said. â€œYes. Thatâ€™s because people once thought they were oceans.â€? Mr. Gibbs shrugged. â€œA logical error, before modern telescopes.â€? â€œSomeday men will walk on the moon. It wonâ€™t be easy, though. I read an article in Astounding about how a rocket ship the size of an ocean liner would be needed to carry enough fuel and supplies for a round trip.â€? Mr. Gibbs chuckled. â€œWonâ€™t happen in my lifetime.â€? My father nodded. â€œNor in mine either, even though Iâ€™m a bit younger.â€? â€œBut do we have the will to do it? Can you imagine the expense?â€? â€œThatâ€™s what Queen Isabella asked.â€? My father said, laughing. â€œBut she finally coughed up the dough.â€? â€œWhatâ€™s all this talk about flying saucers?â€? That caught my interest. I leaned out of the tent, hoping to see one. The sky was crystal clear, the Milky Way a bright path across the heavens. I looked for something round, spinning past the stars, but no such luck. My father was talking about how pilots had seen the saucers making quick turns and zipping along at tremendous speeds. â€œI donâ€™t know what they are, but Iâ€™d like to think they are visitors from other planets.â€? Mr. Gibbs laughed. â€œMartin, youâ€™re such a dreamer. You should have been a writer instead of a businessman.â€? â€œMaybe youâ€™re right.â€? I could hear a tone of wistfulness in my fatherâ€™s voice. â€œI think Iâ€™d have been a good one.â€? The men fell silent and I heard an owl across the cove, answered by another behind me. A good night for dreamy talk, I thought as I snuggled back into my sleeping bag. Do owls dream of flying on the moon?