“This is the front of the boat. See the name reads better this way.” she said.
“Canoe! It’s a canoe!” he answered her. “It doesn’t matter right now. When we get it into the water, then it matters.”
“It’s pointy at both ends. Who cares?” she said.
“You will. The seats. See.” He pointed at the gray plastic reverse derriere shaped forms between the edges.
“Here we go. I lift and you push and then we can slide it off the carrier.” he said.
“Umph! This is light weight?” she said.
“Yeah. Head for the water. No, over there.”
The canoe slid into the calm, blue water and bobbed lazily next to the bank.
“Now,” he said, “I’ll steady it up and you get in first.”
She looked at him and then the canoe and back again. “I get in first?”
“Yeah, I hold it and you just hop in and sit in the front seat. Then I’ll step in and we’ll be off.”
She looked at him and the canoe and stepped in hesitantly. The gentle bobbing of the craft ceased. It rolled left, then right. She flopped into her seat.
“OK. That wasn’t too bad. Now, grab the paddle and wedge it against the side so I can get in.” he said.
She did. The craft repeated its acrobatic routine. He flopped into his seat.
“Now, according to the book all we have to do is sort of shove off and paddle. Ready?” he said.
“Sure.” She squared herself leaned forward slightly and readied her paddle. One hand midway on the shaft, the other at the top just as the diagram showed.
“OK. Now. Stroke.” He called the cadence. “Stroke.”
The canoe glided forward and right. Then more right with each stroke, and finally they faced the bank.
Spectators on the bank gathered to watch the maiden voyage.
The couple stroked and the canoe turned right again and they had accomplished a full 360 degree turn. He reached for his how-to-canoe book. “Says here we should be going straight. Unless…”, he turned the page, “unless you’re pulling at an angle.”
“Me?” she said. “Thought you were supposed to be doing something to correct for that. Look on the next page.” She yelled over her shoulder.
The conversation continued between the aspiring canoeists and the spectators tittered on the bank. Finally they tried again.
“OK, here we go.” he said. “Ready? Stroke.” They pulled their paddles through the water. “Stroke.” The canoe moved forward and eventually created a small wake. The spectators cheered as the couple continued to paddle.
“I think we might have it now.” he said. Exhilaration filled his spirit. Visions of the mighty explorers of old coursed through his mind. “This is how it must have been for those intrepid souls of yesteryear. The quiet. The rhythm of the strokes, the occasional surprised heron. This is true bliss.” he thought as they paddled onward and forward.
“Want to put in and eat over there?” he called to her after a while.
“Sure.” she answered. Her shoulders ached already.
They overshot the mark, but after more reading, finally nosed into the bank. The inlet fit the canoe and the water floated it nicely. An old stump would be a perfect mooring.
“Can you hold this thing while I get up on the bank?” she asked remembering the none to graceful scene earlier.
“Sure. I’ll just wedge the paddle here.” He pushed it into the silt. The canoe rested against the bank. “See. It’s not going anywhere. I’ve got it.”
She stood and reaffirmed Newton’s laws of motion. She placed on foot on the bank. The canoe swung out. She wished she’d learned how to recover from this position in gym class. She grabbed at the old stump. It was rotted. She pitched the broken piece over her shoulder. Newton’s discoveries were reaffirmed again and the gap between the bank and the canoe widened. The only thing left was to leap. She did and landed nearly out of the water.
“Sorry, Babe, I thought I had it.” was all he could say as he dragged the canoe onto the bank. “Let’s eat and see if we can get back in one piece.”
She nodded as she emptied her shoes.
“Bad idea?” he asked.
“I’ll let you know if and when we get back.” She grinned at him while she toweled her hair. “This will be a story to tell one day when we old and gray.”
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