It was an adventure which cost us a six pack of beer and some of our blueberry muffins, which is more costly than we expected, but far less than it might have been. I am writing this atop a mountain in Vermont. And I am dry! Finally. And I am wiser, for instance I now know it is difficult to swim while wearing jeans, a life jacket, and holding a three year old.
Me and my cabin mates, which include the aforementioned three year old, decided it would be great fun to canoe on the nearby lake. I, for the record, wanted to take the row boat instead. It was a nice day, and the troops were happy as we set sail (set paddle?). Various groupings of people went out, usually with all the kids in the canoe. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake. As a final trip, I took the front, with the three year old at my feet, and two kids in the back of me, in front of the helmsman.
Our trip was going well, as we paddled by the swamps, and headed back to enjoy a day of possibly swimming. Along the way some friendly insect life came on board. Of course the rear child gleefully reported to her mate in front which of the friendly insects were on her back. Convincing the bug victim to stop wriggling took some time, and the canoe began to take on water. At that point the three year old demanded I give him the paddle. The helmsman decided to shift positions slightly, and even more water began to splash over the side.
At a certain point one realizes that one is doomed. That no amount of skill and hard work will do a bit of good. The time is usually when one wonders what one has in her pocket (it's amazing what goes through one's mind when one is under stress - one is afraid this proves that one is very shallow and petty). So there I was, in the middle of a Vermont lake with one child clutching my back while I clutch the small one, hoping their mother isn't gonna kill me, should we all survive... And my copilot rips off his life jacket and announces he is gonna tow us all to the shore. The bug informer appears for all the world to be enjoying herself!
It is a good thing all in all that this lake is not an isolated one, though I do wonder if my copilot would have made it. But our rescue came in the form of some nice locals with a power boat. We uploaded the children, including the unrepentant bug informer, and tied the canoe to the line, leaving us poor adults to hoof (fin?) it on our own (though a passing kayak gave me a pull for a time). It was quite the rescue operation!
Now was death a real possibility? Maybe, but I suspect not. Still it was funny floating there, almost completely helpless. What is worse, is to be obliged to be the help and support of the children, when all you can do is hang onto them, and make them think you are in complete control and not helpless in the middle of the lake. It is our inherent belief that everything will be all right. But that is not true. Things may go very horribly wrong. Sometimes all you can hope for is that you will not be abandoned in the middle of the lake, and that someone who appears to know what they are doing is holding you up. But for now, I must deliver our muffins to the crew of the powerboat.
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