I just talked to my father. Tomorrow afternoon sometime, we’re going to take the canoe (yes, my parents own a canoe) down to one of the lakes and spend a few hours paddling around. I suggested the idea, since I haven’t been canoeing in a few years, and my father was highly agreeable. Mom said he would be. And truth be told, I’m not surprised. I figure it’ll be a nice change of pace for my exercise tomorrow. It’ll break up the monotony and even work a different group of muscles. After all, I give my legs enough exercise. It’ll be nice to put my arms and upper body to work.
I’ve always loved canoeing. I remember when my sister and I were both small enough that all four of us (my parents, my sister, and I) could fit into the canoe. Mom and Dad would paddle around for hours, and Stephanie and I would love it. Of course, we loved to put our hands and feet in the water, which made extra drag that Mom and Dad had to fight against. But they never seemed to mind.
When Mom and Dad were done, Dad would often tie the canoe to the dock with a small amount of slack in the rope. Then he’d let my sister and I sit in the canoe and paddle ourselves around. My parents were always standing right there watching us — after all, they had to make sure that nothing happened to us, but I always enjoyed it. Being in the canoe and paddling it for myself (well, with Stephanie’s help) gave me a good feeling. Oh, I should probably mention that my sister and I were as young as five when my parents started doing this. How many small children get to have that kind of experience? I loved it.
Of course, being safety minded, my father also made sure that we were very aware of the safety rules. I even remember the time that my father and my uncle took all of us kids (my sister, our uncle’s kids, and me) out to the middle of the river. The water was about waste deep for the two men. They’d have a couple of us kids get in the canoe. Then, each man would grab an end of the canoe and flip it. As they flipped it, we had to make sure that we got out of the canoe and into the water without hurting ourselves, and then get to the canoe and grab hold so we’d stay afloat. My mother was mortified. She kept standing at the shore the entire time, fretting about the whole thing to my father. I personally thought it was just a fun game. Again, I was about five at the time. It was a long time before I really understood what my father was trying to teach us kids that day.
I think that’s why I’ve always been comfortable with canoes and the water in general. I learned all of that stuff as a little kid. It was made into a game for me, so I always understood these things. It’s why people who are afraid of the water confuse me. I simply don’t understand it. I mean, when I went to scout camp at age twelve and took the canoeing course they offered, I knew 99% of what they taught. The only new things I learned were how to empty and right a flipped or swamped canoe if you’re in a second canoe and how to paddle a swamped canoe back in to shore. The safety, paddling, and steering parts of the course were all second nature to me by then.
I’m really looking forward to taking the canoe out tomorrow.