Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Practically a Sequel to "Deliverance"

There's a stretch of river back home that my dad and I like to canoe every chance we get. We park a car at the river's edge and have Mom drop us off a few miles upstream. I love that little trip because in just a few hours we paddle through woods, reedy swamps, a calm lake, and over a beaver dam.

Getting over that beaver dam is a bitch. It's basically a small waterfall with a bunch of logs and scraggly tree branches on each side. Your only hope is to shoot right down the middle. But you have almost no time to line up your canoe because the dam is just after a sharp bend in the river, and it comes as an abrupt surprise every time.

A couple of years ago, my dad and I were making that trip after a rainy stretch of weather. The river was high and fast, and we were having fun maneuvering around the rocks and various river debris. Then we came up on that f-ing beaver dam.

We took the bend way too wide and couldn't get our canoe straightened out. Going over the dam sideways would definitely capsize us, so we paddled as hard as we could, trying to reach a bit of clear shore nearby. Instead, we smashed into a fallen a tree. The river was pushing us deeper into the tangled branches and I was about to take a branch to the eye, so I ducked violently out the way. This made the canoe sort of halfway tip over and my dad fell out.

"Dad!" I screamed.

He grabbed the side of the canoe to keep his head above water and to keep from being swept downstream. The water was rushing over his shoulders and I was sure this was going to be the end of him.

Oh my God! Oh my God. My dad is going to drown right in front of me. How am I going to keep his corpse from floating away without falling in too? Holy shit, this is awful. It's all happening so fast.

But then Dad got his feet under himself and stood up. And I remembered that the river was, like, two feet deep. And then I felt really embarrassed inside for immediately making the leap to planning my father's funeral after witnessing what amounted to a minor inconvenience. It's like sometimes my brain forgets that my life is not an award winning AMC drama.

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