Huff: Canoe flipped one time too many

Home Column Huff: Canoe flipped one time too many

In retrospect, I suppose it was a matter of when, not if. Years ago, Charlotte, who has been known to be impulsive, decided having a pond with no boat was somehow just wrong. We obviously needed a canoe and she bought a used one. It is a nice 14-foot fiberglass canoe. I grew up with-flat bottomed fishing boats, which are stable in the water, but a canoe is a different story. Just getting into the thing is tricky. Charlotte’s dad was a Navy man, so I guess she figured she had the right stuff for a canoe. This theory was quickly smashed when she and a friend, in the middle of an afternoon party, decided to take a boat ride. Soon two soaked girls were standing in shallow water in their party dresses, wondering what had happened.

Charlotte has also been known to be a little fickle, and that canoe lost its luster on that day. Since that time, I don’t believe she has been in it. I never saw much point in the thing in the first place as the pond is only three acres and I don’t fish. You can’t get up a good head of steam before you have to make a turn and that is not my definition of fun paddling. Instead of recreation, the canoe has been only sparingly used as a floatation device for my projects.

One such project was the replacement of the wooden screen that I put on the spillway to keep debris from spilling over and possibly clogging up the spillway pipe. Having no other boat, I precariously balanced this large device on the canoe, precariously got in myself, even more precariously tried to wrestle this heavy thing onto the top of the spillway and, of course, ended up in the water.

I believe this was the last time the canoe was used. I would say the percentage of times this canoe has been turned over is about 50 in its voyages. She now sits under a tree in dry dock.

I have been having more and more trouble with pond weed. Over the years, I have controlled it with one or two applications of herbicide at strategic times of the summer. Last year, it was worse than ever and there was a new weed creeping in. This spring, I treated it early thinking I might head off the problem. It helped to a degree, but the weed has already come back pretty strong, prompting me to get more serious. I have never resorted to manual removal of the weed, but it occurred to me that I could rake a good bit of it out from the shore as it tends to thrive in the shallow water and cling to the edge of the pond. I raked around the edge with a pine straw rake, which did a great job but wore me out. Unreachable in the entrance end of the pond was a world of weed. I decided that I might be able to skim some of it from the canoe, breaking it up so I could at least reach it with the herbicide sprayer.

I gingerly launched the canoe to perform a task that it is absolutely unsuited for and began lifting pond weed into it with the rake. I was very impressed with my performance and could soon maneuver the boat with the rake and was making serious headway. When my rake pulled up a sizeable piece of pine limb, I wrestled it into the boat behind me. It was big enough to hang over both sides of the canoe but I carried on. When my rake got caught in the branches, I knew I had to rearrange it. Guess what happened! Turning to lift the limb and rake, over we went. I now had the rake hooked into the limb and realized I had my phone in my pocket. I desperately began swimming to the shore with the canoe, rake and limb in tow. As soon as I could touch bottom, I held the phone out of the water. Was it too late?

Safely on shore, I removed the water- resistant case. I pressed the button and the screen came to life, but then it died. As I write this, the phone is in a sealed plastic container with some rice. Hopefully, it will dry out and work, but the canoe is outta here!

More later. 

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