Naked Somnambulist

Some years ago, early in the season, the work day had come to an end.  The day’s haul of fish was vac-packed, checked and boxed; the kitchen was all done, floors washed, etc. For the remaining crew, it was time to put their feet up.  Time to relax into the quiet time of the evening when the work is done, guests have all retired, happy now with dreams of fish in their heads and the crew winding down with a little conversation, a libation.  There is a tiredness that they call “good”, and that is the one these two gals were feeling now, after a good long day.  The Man with the Hat had his back to the door—not his usual position—always preferring to have his back to the wall with a clear view of the room and entrance.

Their jovial conversation was interrupted with: “Naked Man at 12 o’clock— you better take this one!” as the girls quickly and discreetly left through the kitchen.  Turning to face the door he saw clearly it was Walt Robinson who was a regular and enthusiastic guest.  The Man with the Hat greeted Walt with a hearty ‘Good Evening’, and asked where he might be headed.  Walt said he was just going to the bathroom, (he was headed for the Dry Room, where yes, there is a urinal).  The Man with the Hat told Walt he had a bathroom in his room and might make use of it.  Walt heartily agreed, standing there in his birthday suit in the full moon. Grinning from ear to ear, he looked content.

The Man with the Hat walked back down the hall with Walt directing him to his room and opening the door for him.  Now the room was flooded with light from the Breezeway and his son Todd was awakened and leaning up on his elbow staring at the strange pair in his doorway.  At this point Walt turned and, with a big smile, said “Thank you”, then walked back into the room.  The Man with the Hat said good night, closed the door and turned to leave, wondering how Todd would interpret his naked father being returned to his room in the middle of the night with a great big grin and a Thanks.  Well, morning came as early as always.  The Man with the Hat did not have to wait long and, as expected, things are never what they seem.  It turned out that the family was well aware of his sleep-walking and had been wondering how much longer they could still take these kinds of trips.  And now it seemed they knew.

Many family memories are forged on the waters of Hakai Pass, enduring long past the last trip, being shared and passed on to the next generation, some appearing in eulogies.  Each story brings back to life the characters who lived them.  When the Robinsons left that year, the Man with the Hat had some additional chain links welded along the side of railing leading to the dry room for good measure, and he thought of Walt often as he came across the chains in his day-to-days.  Funny how a little thing sparks so many memories.

To Walt, Todd, Patti, Brian, Sheri and all the Robinsons: for those times shared in Hakai, the memories remain.