When I was a boy, I spent one week every summer with my aunt and uncle at their house on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson in Horseshoe Bay, Texas. I remember fishing, swimming and water-skiing with my family. I also remember their sailboat. It was a yellow Sunfish that my aunt had bought for my uncle as a wedding anniversary present in 1977. Every visit, my uncle would rig the sailboat so he and I could plane across the lake in her. I last saw the Sunfish in 1984. Soon after that, high school, college and my career kept me too busy to vacation in Horseshoe Bay.
I have seen my aunt and uncle many times since then, but not at their lake house. It was always easier for me to visit them in Austin or they would visit me in Kansas City. I finally returned to Horseshoe Bay on July 3, 2009. Much has changed in 25 years. The gravel road to their house is now a paved street. All the property around the lake has been developed with multi-million dollar homes. My aunt and uncle have renovated their house three times so it looks brand new. Their boat house is new. Their boat is new too. I felt so old. . .
I searched around their home for anything left untouched from my childhood. . . and that’s when I saw the Sunfish. She was tied to the new boat dock, a poured concrete slab that replaced the old wooden dock from my memories. Our family played in the lake, fishing and swimming as always, but we left the sailboat alone. Instead, we crossed the water on Yamaha WaveRunners.
I spent a few seconds with the Sunfish when I snapped a shot of her at the end of our first day of vacation. She was floating quietly in the cove. But in my mind, my uncle and I are still sailing her across Lake Lyndon B. Johnson.