December 24, about the Mary Ellen en route from New London, CT, to Orient Point, NY
Lots of dogs on board: big ones, small ones, deep-voiced barks, yappy barks, shaggy coats, elegant clipped coats and even, of course, manufactured coats made in China no doubt, because everything is made in China these days, and I am beginning to feel a bit annoyed.
Speaking of coats, the human passengers exhibit a nice selection of down, sheepskin, wool, fleece (the polyester kind), and even denim.
A woman in jeans, Nikes, a green wool sweater, and a red scarf unpacks her lunch. First comes plain yogurt, and my guess is non-fat. Next she pulls a large orange carrot out of her lunch bag and chomps away at it. Then, (and of course I am waiting with bated breath, because I find my fellow humans so interesting) she crunches down some raw green beans, after first removing the strings. O.K., a healthy lunch. S.O. and I are eating mini-ham sandwiches, small helpings of potato chips, cherry tomatoes and Christmas cookies. I mean, what the heck, it's Christmas eve. An hour later, the women has a bag of vinegar and salt potato chips! Whoa Nellie! She smiles, for the first time. Maybe that is why we eat junk food. It makes us smile.
The crowd, contains both cars passengers and foot passengers, who are all toting bags of wrapped presents. The general mood is good except for one little kid who screams and bawls and then falls silent. The water is calm, even glassy. Lots of us read or do crossword puzzles. We are a somewhat literate crowd, but of course we are heading for the North Fork, not exactly Coney Island.
On the stern, the air is brisk but not unpleasant, but I worry about my nice hat blowing away. Back in the cabin, the Dartmouth student unpacks a Styrofoam container of fish and chips. He is sitting next to the carrot eater, pensive again, perhaps with envy of the delicious smells emanating from the Styrofoam.
In our car we have four flavors of Christmas cookies, Salmon Rilletes and "ingredients" for the feast.
Life is good.
The cats knew we were departing, and the orange cat went under the baby bed and sulked. Thisbe knows the drill and was calm in the downstairs home office.
Unloading the ferry is uneventful, but then a few miles down the road a young swan stands belligerently in the middle of the highway. Cars backed up in two directions. He won't move. Finally a man in the car behind us gets out and herds the reluctant swan across the road. I have a bad feeling that he will return to the middle of the road as soon as the traffic is gone. A story there, but of course, we aren't privy to it.
The rest of the trip is without incident and in Riverhead we catch the Long Island Expressway, AKA the world's longest parking lot, but today the traffic moves.