Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is this your canoe?

All of a sudden, my family decided to go camping in Pennsylvania last October. I drove up Saturday afternoon. On the way, I called Mom's cell phone. Dad picked up. "Dad, I should be at the campsite around five. I'm passing by Giant right now, do you guys need anything?"

"No," Dad said, "Mom's out at the store right now, picking up a new bike lock." My family uses bike locks to secure canoes. "Some friends borrowed our canoe."

Synopsis of Caps for Sale:
The peddler wandered around town, with a stack of caps on his head, calling, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!". He could sell no caps, so he hiked away from town a little bit, and sat down by a tree, and took a nap, because he didn't have any lunch. When he woke up, all of his caps were gone! "He looked to the right--no caps. He looked to the left--no caps." Then, he looked up in the tree, and saw monkeys had stolen his caps.

One time, when Mom and Dad were newlyweds living in Alabama, there was a tremendous thunderstorm. Mom and Dad lived in a little house in the middle of the woods. Their home was so small and in such a desolate place that when Uncle Bart visited them that one time, he changed clothes out on the porch for privacy.

So, Dad and Mom were driving home in the storm in their Pinto, the Pinto that Dad later wrecked when he drove it under another guy's car on his birthday. On this backcountry road, they saw a car stopped ahead of them, and, ahead of the car, the road was flooded. The water over the road was indeterminately deep. Now, this car was a bit larger than the Pinto, but, Dad is a nice guy, so he called out to the driver of the other car, "You wait here. We'll go ahead. If this doesn't work, you can go another way"

"And it didn't, and we did, and we didn't, and they did," Mom says.

Water came in through the doors and Mom and Dad had to climb out the windows and push the car the rest of the way out of the flooded road. The carpet got mildew. The Pinto, with its black velour upholstery baked in the summer Alabama sun, smelling terrible for months. Mom still has no idea what Dad was thinking.

At five, when I got to the campsite, Dad told me the story. Mom had driven up to the campsite a day before Dad, and she had brought our canoe. At the park they were staying at, there were two boat ramps, one in the camping area, and one that was more open to the public, and Mom accidentally parked the canoe in the public area. This was bad because when Dad got up to the campsite, late the next day, the public ramp was closed. Mom had locked the canoe to a tree with a bike lock.

So, early the next morning, Dad went to the public boat ramp, to paddle the canoe back to the campground ramp, where it would be closer.

He walked up to the tree where Mom had said she'd tied the canoe, and he saw no canoe. He looked to the right--no canoe. He looked to the left--no canoe. He looked out on the water.

"Is this your canoe?"

There were two guys in our canoe, out on the lake. They had one paddle between them, and the guy in the front was the one with the paddle. (If you don't know about canoes, the one in the back is the one who steers.) "We commandeered your vessel."

What had happened was they had tried launching their boat on the boat ramp, but forgot to have any ropes out, to keep the boat from floating away. The boat floated away. One of the guys ran up and down the shore, looking for a fisherman or something, but to no avail. The other broke the bike lock and "commandeered" the canoe. They were out in the lake paddling after their lost boat.

Dad got them to come back to the boat ramp. He got into the canoe, and paddled the guys out to their boat, and taught them about tying up boats and steering canoes. They gave Dad $10 to reimburse him for the broken bike lock.


  1. if im not mistaken, is this not the same convoluted story that you told at some IV coffeehouse or something?

  2. Your poor mother. Shame about the Pinto.