Lucie, swinging a double-blade Bending Branches Slice Solo Canoe Paddle
There were no storms last night, and I got my first full night’s sleep in a comfortable 72-degrees. I started the morning slowly. I was awakened first by the sun at 7a.m. There were then a couple large, loud, raucous, screaming birds directly over my tent to make sure the day had begun. Once they had guaranteed I wasn’t going to roll over and doze off again, they took off and went about their business. In their place, I could hear a swarm of humming, buzzing insects that must have numbered ah---well, you know, a swarm. Soon they also drifted off. I was then left with the sweetest chittering and twittering of small birds in the cedars behind the tent. Opening the tent to identify them would likely scare them off, so I just laid back and enjoyed the concert.
With the rear windows of the trailer open, I could also hear Jean moving about in the galley. It was 8a.m. when I rolled out of the tent. With all the commotion coming from the galley, I had anticipation of at least coffee being ready. She saw me walking down the hill and came out to meet me. Ah! Maybe that means breakfast is ready. Instead she said, “Did you sleep well?” Without a pause for a response, she continued, “The holding tanks are full and need to be emptied.” No coffee, no breakfast, just holding tanks full of sh--- , and I haven’t even been using the facilities in the RV, and we haven’t used the on-board shower.
After breaking everything down and hauling the camper to the dump station, I found a kindred spirit in a neighbor when I returned. Alvin, our next door camper, walked out to the driveway with a wry smile on his face. I stopped to say good morning, but he greeted me instead with, “Ah, been off to empty the tanks, huh?” To his chuckle he added, “I emptied ours yesterday, and then the kids came by last night. Now I have to go dump them again. Kids have absolutely no concept of water, what it is, or how to manage it.” They were apparently lavishing themselves with long, drawn-out showers. It can always be worse, I guess is the message to myself.
Once I was done with setting everything back up again, Jean was back from her two hour trip home to take care of her birds and cats. Then, finally, we got to think about breakfast, or brunch. With pancakes, blueberries, bacon, and at long last, coffee, it was a breakfast, or brunch, worth waiting for.
Going from parent to grandparent doesn’t change anything except the stress is greater, the patience is shorter, and the frustration is that much stronger. God doesn’t have children being born to young parents for any reason other than they are physically and emotionally more flexible and adaptable. If the wisdom that comes with experience was critical in the equation, we wouldn’t be having kids until we reach age 60, but obviously the flexibility of youth trumps wisdom hands down. I have had mixed results with trying to get the granddaughters interested in paddling---some great times, but also some catastrophes. After the last foray out with the girls, I threw my hands in the air and swore, “That’s it. I’m never taking them in the canoes again. I just can’t handle the stress, the yelling, the fights.” Finally I cooled enough to reason that I could stick with only taking one out at a time—personal time, me and her, and thus end the sibling battles. Today was Lucie’s day. She had the 15-ft. Mohawk Odyssey and single-blade paddle. After a failed attempt to teach her proper paddle strokes, I traded her single-blade for my double-blade, and she did much better. If she learned to enjoy paddling, she would then have the motivation to learn more technical paddle strokes. Until then, she could just have a good time and enjoy herself. With no sister along to stir the sibling rivalry pot, we both just enjoyed ourselves.
The lake is surrounded with riprap. So even though the air was calm and the water flat, I had to keep reminding her that the shore is not her friend. It would grind both her and the canoe up and spit them out in pieces. She needed to paddle well away from the shore in open water. Once she could handle the boat comfortably, she could then close with the shore and enjoy paddling through the reeds and constricted channels. With a few pointers, she continued to improve, and after a couple more hours, was managing tracking and maneuvering with great confidence. In the end, she said she enjoyed the boat and had a great time. Any way you cut it, that’s a win.
Canoeing for a smile.