“I saved up enough money so that I can buy my boat. I want a jet boat so that I can race one day.”
“What’s that now?” Grandpa said, cupping his hand to his ear. “You want to buy a good old fashioned pontoon so you can be a real man one day?”
Jeremiah shook his head and continued browsing. Even though his grandfather was hard of hearing, half the time Jeremiah was convinced the old man just pretended so he could mess with people.
“This one will go perfectly with a brand new set of them sparkly rods,” Grandpa said, running his wrinkled hand along the smooth side of a pontoon.
As macho as Grandpa acted, he enjoyed a fair amount of shiny things. Before they’d visited the boat showroom, they had gone to a Cabela’s and checked out the fishing rods. The one Grandpa said they would secure as soon as his social security check came was a blue rod. It had red flecks dappled in with the blue, and it made the rod twinkle depending on how the light hit it. The rope was white, and with all its patriotism it reminded Jeremiah of Daisy Duke.
“Bennington is a quality brand,” Grandpa continued, pulling Jeremiah from his fantasizing. “I think I’ve even seen some of them with those what-you-call-it lights.”
Jeremiah nodded and looked across the showroom at the Yamaha boats. They were off to the side, and one of the more expensive models was up on a rotating platform. He wasn’t even certain the boat was a jet boat, but looking at something that woman would drool over put a longing in his gut that made him pout.
“Can I help you gentleman find anything?” a large showroom salesman said.
He was wearing a bowtie and suspenders, and he had his hands wedged in his pockets. He was smiling as all hopeful salesmen did.
“No, thank you,” Grandpa said. “Our eyes are working just fine, and we don’t need none of your salesman mumbo jumbo gumming up our thinking.”
The salesman raised both eyebrows but kept his smile on. Jeremie wanted to slap his forehead but restrained, shrugging when the salesman gave him a look.
“Fair enough. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you good folks need help with anything.”
Grandpa just stared at the man until he sauntered off to attempt to assist a middle-aged man accompanied by his wife.
“We’re Johnsons, and Johnsons don’t need no help from nobody. We pull ourselves up with our bootstraps.”
“Okay, Grandpa,” Jeremiah said, ready for the trip to be finished.
He knew his grandfather loved him, but he could be a bit too much to handle at times. Jeremiah had been saving up to buy a boat since he was a freshman in high school and got his first job as a paperboy. His father had always instilled the value of a dollar in him, and he was always careful how he spent his money, but saving became easy when he got a job at the pharmacy the year before. It paid, and since he hadn’t had a girlfriend since sophomore year, he had plenty of time to work.
Owning a boat was the last thing most of his friends wanted. They all talked of buying and owning cars, and he knew he would have to get a car eventually, but there was something about having a boat that added a whole different level of status. He imagined himself in college trying to pick up women at bars, dropping the ‘want to take a ride on my boat’ pickup line and being able to hook up with anyone that he wanted.
“Pontoons are sturdy and perfect for fishing,” Grandpa said, breaking his thoughts again.
They had stopped in front of a pair of Bennington’s. One was the first one Grandpa had said would go good with the fishing rods they’d planned to get, and the other was an older model. The new model was thin and a part of the Bennington Q series, while the older model was in the S series and massive. It looked like it was used, but Jeremiah was only half paying attention to them.
“What do you think?” Grandpa said, rubbing the scruff on his chin and making a scratching sound.
Jeremiah thought of the uses and how he never planned to take multiple people out at a time. Though the Q series could fit a few people since it was smaller, it looked less like a whale on the water than the S series, and he could more easily persuade a single girl to come with him.
“The thinner one.”
Grandpa whistled. “I agree. It’s a little cheaper too.”
Jeremiah looked at the price tags and swallowed hard, almost gasping at how high they were. He knew a new boat was out of the question unless he waited until after he graduated from college. He had a full ride, so all of his work money could go to the boat.
“Grandpa, that’s a $70,000 boat.”
“Don’t go quoting prices to me there, boy!” Grandpa said, his overgrown eyebrows turning down and making him appear like an owl. “I’ll be dead soon anyway,” he finished, lowering his voice a little.
Jeremiah shook his head and started to feel guilty. He would have continued to turn his Grandfather’s offers down if his father hadn’t convinced him it would make his grandfather feel good about himself. Grandpa never graduated from high school, so he was proud of Jeremiah and claimed that was the reason he wanted to buy the boat. Jeremiah believed him, but he felt like there was as also another reason that remained a secret.
“Salesman!” Grandpa bellowed, and Jeremiah almost walked away in embarrassment. “We want this one.”
The salesman walked over, and Jeremiah tried to avoid eye contact. He discussed the buy with the salesman while Jeremiah thought of how much he would be able to sell the boat for once his grandfather passed away.