The Erie Canal Roast Of Between The Sheets

Saturday September 8, 2012

Since we were not the only people planning on taking advantage of the free dockage at Waterford and now were not able to because of the tug rally, there were a few boats building up in our little area just before Lock 3. While brushing our teeth yesterday morning there was a friendly ‘hello’ through the companionway and we looked out to see Andy and John from s/v Between the Sheets standing there on their bikes. They were tied up on the other side of the canal but when they had seen our boat they came by to invite us to share in a roast they’d be cooking the next night. Good food and great company? That was a quick and obvious yes.

 Knowing there were thunderstorms predicted all day today we didn’t have much of a plan when we got up other than to hang around the boat and get a few projects done. Getting to my ‘pink’ chores of doing the dishes and straightening up I realized we had nothing to bring to dinner. When talking to the guys the other night we said we’d bring a salad, but looking through the chill box we definitely did not have the ingredients. Since the sky was only patchy with clouds at the moment we hoofed it into the Hannaford’s in town to do a little shopping. I don’t know why I threw salad out there since I never make them. Racking my brain I tried to remember what went into a basic house salad, but even my years of waitressing were letting me down. I could have done the pre-packaged bit, but those never appeared fresh. Perusing the deli area we spotted potatoe salad, pasta salad (still salads, right?) and edamame salad. Wait a second…I had a recipe for edamame salad on the boat from the wife of Lockmaster 29 who so graciously fed us one night, and I had half the ingredients on the boat. Snatching up the last few items we checked out and headed back.

Getting ready to prepare my ‘salad’ I could not find the recipe anywhere. I knew I should have typed it into my computer as soon as I received it! I still had a pretty good recollection of what was in it from when I had eaten it, and Ileen, the master behind it, had thoroughly gone over it with me as well. Pulling out cans of corn and beans from the belly of Serendip I paired them with my recent purchase and went to work. Just getting started on this Matt realized in the middle of his project of changing the oil that he had no new filters on board. I suggested he borrow Andy’s bike, who had moved their boat next to ours that morning, and quickly run in town to get one. It wasn’t even 15 minutes after he’d gone that I was standing at the galley and felt an icy chill blow through the hatch. I didn’t even have to look outside to know what was coming and was able to close all hatches and portholes just before a torrential downpour started. It wasn’t letting up at all and 30 minutes later I heard the rustle of boars at the companionway as Matt climbed in soaked to the bone and said, “I realized just as I was pulling up that there’s a poncho in my backpack” although from the looks of him I think we both knew the only thing the poncho would have done was slow him down on his bike ride back.

He finished up his project while I taste tested mine, and while both of us had not even thought about getting ourselves ready for the night we heard the sound of a fog horn blow followed by “Supper!!”. Since this was going to be a proper dinner we had planned on making oursleves proper but at the sound of the horn we rushed to get out of there as soon as possible. Shirts were quickly thrown under the iron, hairbrushes run through hair, and we tried to juggle our food, wine, beer and cups in our arms as we rushed off Serendip and next door to Between the Sheets. As we stepped on board there were two other couples already there, Chris and Elizabeth of s/v Groovin, and Dennis and Christine of s/v Chances. We soon found out that we were the only Americans in a flotilla of Canadians as we got to know the other couples a little better. Before I could even finish the margarita I came over with and move onto the Merlot, Andy came out of the companion way to display the roast he had spent the afternoon working on, topped with bacon and drizzled with maple syrup. A true Canadian meal. Ladies were ushered down below first and in front of me was a spread of roast, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, and a large pile of desserts that I couldn’t even think of at the moment. It was like Thanksgiving in September and I piled my plate while trying to hold back the drool.

As all 8 of us squeezed into the cockpit to enjoy our meals we were joined by two more cruisers trapped between the locks, Phil and Maryl from s/v Water Music (yup, also from Canada). Around this time the rain was letting up and the sun was going down, setting fire to the sky. Plates were cleared, wine was filled, and the tray of desserts was brought out. It contained mini chocolate and strawberry tarts, cannolies, and a few other things I couldn’t make out in the candle light. When those were almost gone Chris jumped up to run to Groovin down the pier and grab his guitar. Matt and I smiled at each other for a moment because we thought we might be treated to the camping scene in ‘Role Models’ with an unsuccessful version of Kumbaya, but when Chris came back he blew us away with a perfect version of Heart of Gold, harmonica and all. Then we smiled at each other in a ‘Can you believe this? This Rocks!!’ kind of way. It was like the summer camp that neither of us had been too, but even better because there was classic music and beer and wine were being served. Request for songs were being taken and as we all sang along I teased Andy who was sitting right next to me that my voiced was being drowned out by his. Big mistake. After that comment I was forced to pick a song and sing a solo to everyone on board. He didn’t know any Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, so I reverted to my high school choir final of Hotel California and the others helped me out when I’d forget the lyrics.

Joining us for the music was John’s wife Cathy, and he had her set up on his tablet using Skype. After being passed around to say hello to everyone she was propped up against one of the winches to enjoy the music. After an hour the couples started leaving one by one. First was Phil and Maryl to get an early start on the morning and not long after them was Christine and Dennis. The remaining six of us stayed for awhile longer, enjoying our wines and Chris’ music. Andy tried to get a round of blues started but him and Chris seemed to be the only one that could come up with lyrics on the spot. Once Groovin had left with their guitar John brought out his iPod to introduce us to his favorite music, mostly country. I’ll give him that since he worked on a farm for 35 years although as soon as he let me have a go at it I was furiously shuffling to find a new genre. Landing on Semi-Sonic’s ‘Closing Time’ we all finished our rounds and the two of us cleared off Between the Sheets, ending our first boat roast and one that will be very hard to beat.

Drool worthy, right?

John Martin, talking to his wife Cathy.

Enjoying good friends and music.

Roastmaster Andy.