Bang – bang – bang went the kayak …

Some of us have to discover the hard way that the ocean always wins. It is undefeated vs. man. Hopefully, Ellen and Reid don’t think their dad is as dumb as a box of rocks. Although for one day, I sure appeared to be.

This is how they heard about the whole maddening, sordid affair that damaged Miss Emma and had me sitting in the rain on the beach wondering what the hell had just gone wrong.


December 14, 2015

Ellen/Reid: Still reeling from the insanity of trying to launch in the heavy surf last week in Florida. My left shin still aches and is bruised and swollen (eds. note: hairline fracture, sic) from the constant bashing as I tried, in vain, to keep the kayak square to the waves, which continued over and over and over in the space of 45 minutes to push the little boat to the side and thus bang – bang – bang against my left leg. I got madder, and more frustrated, by the minute when I couldn’t keep the bow square to the angled 3 – 4 foot waves. Only when I turtled and was under the boat trying to muscle it upright was the decision made to bag the whole thing. It would have been doable if I’d had someone who could’ve held the stern perpendicular to the waves and given me a good shove.

Miss Emma awaits a tow to the water's edge the day before our abortive attempt to launch in heavy waves.

Miss Emma awaits a tow to the water’s edge the day before our abortive attempt to launch in heavy surf.

Miss Emma would’ve been home free after the first 15 yards. What was really crushing, beyond losing some gear, was finding the waves had pushed me 200 yards to the south from my original put in point. It meant I had to hand-pull the kayak 300 yards in the wet sand back to the car. It was raining at this point, and only when I got back did I discover the hull had taken water through the hatches. This marked the low point in my kayak career. It really did. I still love it to pieces but will need a second person to help me launch in the open sea. Once I got out there the waves were no problem, fun actually, but it’s the getting out there that is problematic. That my lines fouled the first day was a problem I could deal with. The next time I’ll have a far better idea of how to troll two lines. I’ll have it nailed down. Just not this last time. It is amazing to me how strong the sea, the weight of water, really is; you cannot defeat it, beat it, outsmart it. You have to look for the openings it allows. It was inordinately disappointing to pull it back in the sand (both me and it soaking wet), empty the boat of 3 inches of water, wash everything down of sand and salt and grit, wrestle the wet boat atop the new Camry, lash it all down and tuck my tail all the way back to Charlotte. The left leg just killed me the whole way back. Got home about 1 a.m., put everything away and hit the sack about 2 a.m. Although it was a downer I still covet the very idea of being on the water and can’t wait to try again.

But the bright side is I’ll be up in St. Paul over New Year’s, Ellen. Can’t wait to see you and Tim and the girls. Really, get out on New Year’s Eve for at least a few hours. Emma, Georgia and I can handle ourselves just fine. Hopefully the meals I prep for you guys will be acceptable to everyone. There’ll be a fair amount of baking, too. I’ll keep an eye on the forecast and will be prepared for the worst of things. Haven’t really been in seriously cold temperatures for a long time.

I’m having a hard time with all this gotta-have-guns-mania these days. There was a CBS report today that shows Wyoming has 197 registered guns per 1,000 residents. That’s the highest rate in the nation. Of course, the South is among the leaders in guns-per-capita. Maybe we’re subliminally arming ourselves for the next attempt at secession. This week is the anniversary of the Sandy Hook slaughter and there’s still nothing that’s been done to curb the mad rush to arm ourselves. The question would be: arm ourselves from what? I know you and I differ on that, Reid, but aren’t the police and National Guard the well regulated militia the founding fathers intended? How is it that every other developed nation sees the dark side of guns but we still cling to the notion that of all the constitutional amendments, the second is the most sacrosanct? Don’t get me started on Trump. Don’t go there.

Okay, the coffee has run out and it’s time to make more. And for crying out loud, make sure I know what you want for Christmas. The clock is ticking on delivery.

Love, Dad


1 Comment

Filed under Writing to adult children

One response to “Bang – bang – bang went the kayak …

  1. jacobsbranch

    Maybe you need a bigger boat for the open ocean?

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