Friday, March 29, 2013


One of my memories from youth is of a little boat trip that I took with my dad and my brother. My Dad always had an old boat motor tucked into the corner of our garage. It was an old black Evinrude; I have no idea what the horsepower was and it doesn't matter, because the motor never really went anywhere.

My dad had inherited the motor from his dad, who probably had a buddy with a boat. (hey, I've got a boat, you've got a motor, let's go fishin') Well, my dad didn't have a buddy with a boat, so the motor basically sat in a corner of the garage gathering dust.

One year we rented a camp on Tully Lake. As luck would have it, the camp came with a rowboat, but no motor. So my dad brought the motor to camp for the week, attached it to the boat and after several attempts to start it (accompanied by streams of colorful words that I shouldn't use here....) the boat started. We made a couple of trips around the lake and then decided to explore a little. There was another very small lake accessible by a very narrow, weedy channel which we were dying to get a look at.

The channel was rather shallow and my dad had to pull the motor up out of the water so it wouldn't get caught in the weeds. We floated through and took a quick look, not much to see, so we turned around to head back to camp. Now the fun begins. We had floated easily through the channel on our way in, but seemed to have much more trouble on our way out. I guess there must have been a small current working against us.

Aside from the channel being weedy and narrow, there was also a bridge of some sort spanning over it. The bridge was very low, adding to the overall claustrophobic feel. We couldn't rely on the motor, the water was much too shallow and weedy. So my dad planned to use the oars to paddle us through, which would have been a great idea if the channel hadn't been so narrow. The oars in the extended position for rowing were much wider than the channel, so my dad decided that he would stand up and use the oars to pole us through. Well, that would have been a good idea if the bridge had been about 2 feet higher. There wasn't enough room for my dad to stand up, but plenty of room for a 9 year old and a 5 year old, guessed it, my brother and I stood up, and poled us through the channel, all of us laughing like crazy over our big adventure!

This painting brings me back to that day so long ago. The red cushions on the seat are based on the old boat cushions we used. A few years ago, I found the old cushions in the basement of my parents' house. They were really old and smelled musty, but I brought the cushions up to my camp, I guess just for a sense of continuity.

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