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When we first started dating, Rick and I shared a lottery ticket on an aluminum canoe and surprisingly we won. What do you do with a canoe in the city, on the prairies? Was it his or mine? We couldn’t decide if we should cut it in half and if we did should it be a width cut, or a lenghtwise cut? We could sell it, give it away, keep it or share it. It just caused one question after another so to solve the problem we got married.

The canoe didn’t get much use on the prairies but it came in handy when we moved to the oceanside on Salt Spring.

The canoe had a pretty rough life though – and we think the canoe gods were telling us it should have stayed in the prairies to be paddled in some calm lake.

The first hint came in the form of guests taking the canoe to Idol Island for a picnic…. They pulled the canoe onto the sandy shore and went exploring the little island. They found a nice shade tree where they sat to read , have their picnic and watch the eagles fishing. A wonderful place to enjoy the day. A few hours later they wandered back to the shore for find the sand covered in water and the canoe being towed behind a kayak. They had never been on an island in the ocean and hadn’t realized there were tides. I had the binoculars out and noticed the canoe was floating without any occupants and our neighbour, who was out kayaking, retrieved it and was bringing it back. They thought he was stealing their transportation so they started yelling to get his attention. He realized what had happened and returned it to them.

Hint number two came in the form of a big wind and rain storm that picked the canoe off the land into the water and down to our neighbours where it was smashed by several logs. It was full of holes, bent and twisted so we retrieved it and tried to have it fixed. Even the man who makes aluminum boats shook his head, smiled and kindly said we had to let it go. We did.

With that canoe gone, we had to buy a new one for our guests to enjoy. Rick built a bit of a log ramp and a crank system so this new canoe could be pulled up from the water and also be tied down with bungee cords. It worked well and made it easier for our guests to use. Much to the delight of the newlyweds that decided to go for a paddle to watch the sunset on the water. He assured us that he was an experienced canoeist. In fact he was a Boy Scout Leader and taught the Scouts to canoe both on the river and on the lake. His new bride was a bit skeptical but willing to view the romantic sunset on the water with her new husband of two days.

Off they went with life jackets, paddles, bailer, and whistle. About half an hour later the doorbell rang. At the door we were greeted by a very sheepish husband asking for towels and a very wet new bride. He had gallantly held the canoe while she got in and settled, then as he got in he lost his balance and tipped her out head first into the water. So ended the romantic sunset cruise. Last I heard they were still married. Hint number three – maybe the canoe gods just think we shouldn’t have a canoe at all!

We still hadn’t figured things out. Another couple decided to go for a paddle in the bay. He did a lot of kayaking and had done some canoing so he was confident all would go well. Down to the canoe they went with all the appropriate equipment. He got in and steadied the canoe for her. She put her shoes in the canoe and took one step in, teetered a bit, then backed out. She said “No way it is too tippy. You go I will wait here and watch you.” So off he went with the front of the canoe up in the air while he sat at the back and paddled. Within twenty five feet of shore the water came over the back and swamped the canoe. He had his life jacket on and was a strong swimmer so he came in to shore quickly. All the while his wife was on shore calling “Save my shoes, save my shoes!” Fortunately there were two kayakers going by at the time. They were able to pull the canoe into shore and save the floating shoes. Another wet canoeist, a pair of saved shoes, and hint number four.

It was about time for the lights to turn on wouldn’t you say? Four hints and another storm did it! The second storm ripped off the hook so it couldn’t be pulled up with the crank plus it was banged and beaten. Finally we decided we were paddling against the current. Last year we gave it to a fisherman at the lake. I sure hope he doesn’t try to stand up to fish!


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January 2021