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The Awards Ceremony - a fiction short story
Sam, Jenny and Paul walked into the Boothbay Harbor Country Club and Yacht Club dressed to the nines. Sam, in a beautiful navy Armani suit, Jenny in a matching navy one shoulder sleek full length gown that flattered her figure and Paul in a navy suit with matching neck tie made a beautiful family picture as they stepped into the foyer.
Sam and Jenny were members here as well as Kate and Mack Laren, although they didn't spend much time here. Sam and Jenny weren't sailors or golfers and Jenny wasn't into the 'society wives club'. Sam and Jenny mostly were members for networking purposes for the lobster business, and Paul preferred the ocean to any pool or golf course. They rarely even ate dinner at the club.
Mack Laren, on the other hand, practically ran the club. He was involved in everything and proud of it. Kate and the girls were at the club nearly everyday, either at the pool or golfing when not out sailing with Mack.
Jenny looked at Sam and smiled as they stood in the foyer waiting to be escorted to their table. In her opinion, Sam and Paul were the handsomest 'men' around and she was so proud of them both and thrilled to be with them tonight.
Sam had been a pill about getting dressed for this event tonight. He, of course, wanted to attend in more casual attire, but with it being Windjammer Days, Jenny knew only formal attire would do.
Paul, on the other hand, couldn't wait to get into formal wear. Jenny thought he was so cute - dressing up for Mackenzie and to accept his sailing award with Mack.
The three of them were escorted to their table - of course, they were sitting with the Larens. Sam and Mack shook hands and Paul bee-lined it to Mackenzie and sat next to her.
"Jenny, lovely dress and so flattering," said Kate admiringly.
Sam beamed. Yes, Jenny still had it all - a youthful glow about her and she had retained her stunning figure over the years. But, the best part was Jenny's love, spirit, and personality. To Sam, Jenny was a knock-out. God, I'm lucky to have her, thought Sam.
"Thank you, Kate," said Jenny, "and your dress is beautiful as well and your girls - so lovely and sweet."
All three of the Laren girls were at the table. Samantha, the oldest at seventeen looked just like her mother, Mackenzie quietly talking in hushed tones to Paul, and Serena, ten years old, hopping in and out of her seat, and the apple of her parents' eyes.
Jenny quietly nudged Sam and motioned toward Paul and Mackenzie. Where did Paul get his conversation skills? Apparently from Jenny, thought Sam. "I've never seen Paul open up and talk the way he does with Mackenzie," whispered Sam to Jenny.
"All it takes is a pretty girl to open him up, I guess," said Jenny smiling as she looked over at them.
The participants at the head table were gathering and the president of the club began to say a few words about Windjammer Days. He then turned over the microphone to Mack Laren who spoke about the race - he was race chairman. Mack then ended his speech by reminding everyone that the lobster they were eating that night came from Mac Allan's Lobster Co-op. He had Sam stand up and acknowledged him and the business. Jenny was pleased Mack had put Sam in the spotlight, too, tonight.
Then, they all were served a sumptuous surf and turf dinner consisting of MacAllan lobster and filet mignon. It was delicious and the company at their table was wonderful. Jenny was grateful to Kate and Mack. Usually they grated on Sam's nerves, but tonight they were kind, gracious, generous and humble. And humble was not something Mack Laren did very often. And they seemed genuinely delighted that Paul and Mackenzie were such good friends.
Mack and Sam were extreme opposites thought Jenny, right from the start and natural rivals. All through school they had competed for grades, girls and lifestyles. Jenny hadn't arrived in Boothbay Harbor until her junior year in high school, but she had heard all the stories about Mack and Sam at school. She and Kate had been friendly and even friends in school. But, after high school the two couples had gone their separate ways.
Mack had been a fierce football player and captain of the football team in high school and Kate the head cheerleader and cheering captain. They both had attended UConn and continued with football and cheer leading there. They had been prom king and queen in high school and homecoming king and queen at UConn.
Sam had been a high school football player also, but not a star player like Mack. Sam had been, well, a lobster fisherman, and always would be at heart, Jenny knew. He was quieter and more introverted, but also so well grounded, which suited her just fine. She was into her literature and writing, more introverted pursuits anyway.
Sam had attended and graduated from Boston College with a finance degree and Jenny had pursued literature and writing at Amherst College with a degree in both.
The four of them, Sam, Jenny, Mack and Kate had all returned to Boothbay Harbor after college. The sea and rugged shore seemed to call all four of them back.
Sam and Jenny had eventually married and Mack and Kate had eventually married, but their lives and married life took different paths. Sam and Jenny in the lobster business and Mack and Kate in the sailing business. Their lives didn't cross paths much, but when they did there was friction. But, with Paul and Mackenzie such good friends both couples would have to quell the friction for the sake of the children.
Jenny knew Sam was hurt and bothered that Paul was more interested in sailing than lobster fishing. And, Paul recently turning to Mack Laren to learn to sail was crushing to Sam. Jenny was always trying to smooth things over between Sam and Paul. She considered it a monumental task and victory that she got Sam to the sailing races today to watch Paul. And,
Sam had seemed genuinely excited for and proud of Paul today. But, Jenny knew that deep down Sam was hurting.
After the meal, the award ceremony began. Jenny wondered if Sam would get through this okay. Suddenly, it was first runner up award - that was Mack and Paul. They both stood up and walked to the podium to accept the award. Jenny held Sam's hand and lovingly squeezed it. The room was applauding. Sam stoically looked forward but squeezed back Jenny's hand.
Mack spoke as Paul stood to one side. Mack gushed about Paul's new sailing skills and how quickly he had caught on. Then Mack and Paul were presented with their trophy and Mack graciously told Paul it was his to keep. As Mack left the podium, surprisingly, Paul stepped up to the microphone. Jenny felt Sam stiffen and she starred straight ahead at Paul, not daring to look at Sam.
"Ladies and gentlemen and Mack - thank you for this wonderful award. But, there is someone more important I must thank for this - my Dad, Sam MacAllan. My Dad has always been there for me all my life. He is the person who first taught me how to steer and maneuver a boat at sea - a lobster boat. He has spent time with me since I was a little kid teaching me lobster fishing and teaching me the lobster business. I would not have done so well sailing today without help from my Dad. Thanks Dad and then he looked straight at Sam with the biggest, warmest grin on his face.
Jenny, with tears streaming down her face, looked over at Sam and saw tears in his eyes. "Thanks, son," was all he could manage to say at this emotionally charged moment. Then, one by one, everyone in the room, including Mack, Kate and the girls stood up and gave Paul a standing ovation. Sam and Jenny were standing also. Jenny looked over at Mackenzie and she was crying also as she waved at Paul.
Sam and Jenny looked at one another and hugged. When Paul returned to the table, Mackenzie squeezed his hand and then they both walked over to Sam and hugged him and then hugged Jenny. "Mom - not that you haven't taught me and helped be too, but ..."
"Paul, it's okay - you are so right - this was a moment for your father and only your father - I'm so proud of you!" Jenny said crying.
Later, after the award ceremony was over - and Paul was the highlight and center of the evening - the dance portion of the evening began. As Sam and Jenny were dancing, Sam said, "I'm so proud of Paul tonight. You've done a superb job raising him, Jenny. Did you put him up to that speech tonight for my sake?" asked Sam.
"Sam, absolutely not - that was all Paul - I had nothing to do with it and I am just as surprised by his speech as you were," said Jenny. "Sam, just your fine example of a man and a father has been instrumental in raising Paul - one parent only doesn't raise a fine a son as Paul - it takes both of us, Sam and Paul loves you very much," said Jenny.
"Yes, and I love him," said Sam.
"He knows that Sam or he wouldn't have said what he said in front of 'our little world,'" said Jenny. After a few dances with Jenny, the most beautiful woman in the room, thought Sam, he excused himself to go to the bathroom.
On the way back to the dance floor, Sam stepped out on the terrace for some fresh air. There were Paul and Mackenzie alone, slow dancing to the music and softly swaying, their eyes glued on one another and not noticing Sam. Sam watched as Paul's hand slipped down to Mackenzie's derriere and pulled her in close to him. Then, he bent down his head and passionately kissed her on the lips. Mackenzie kissed him back.
Sam smiled as he walked off the terrace - Paul was more like him than he realized. He remembered romancing Jenny the same way, years ago at a high school dance. God, he was lucky to have such a great son and wife. Good grief - he suddenly thought, a little bit worried - I have to have 'the talk' with Paul tomorrow morning first thing. I just hope I'm not too late.