Friday, March 09, 2007

The Pioneerwoman in my family

My grandma, Trevor’s and Devin’s great-grandma, is a pretty incredible person. I could end this right here by saying simply, “she had 12 kids.” But, that would be pretty boring.

No, I think she’s incredible for other reasons and for one incident in particular.

When I lived with Vikki in Arkansas, every now and then, Mom and Dad would come to visit and they would sometimes bring along Grandma and once they even brought my Aunt Margie. On this occasion, I decided to take the whole group of them on a leisurely canoe ride down the nearby Spring River. I knew that it would be leisurely because I had taken the same canoe ride with my then-boyfriend just a few weeks earlier. Maybe 6 weeks. I had experience the River, and I knew it to be gentle. So, I had no problems loading up the seniors, Vikki and my Mom and Dad, and heading out to the River.

There were two huge differences between my experiences with Spring River, not even including my companions. First, I went down the Spring River with my boyfriend in a fiberglass canoe on the first trip. It’s more flexible than the aluminum canoes I chose for me and my family that day. Second, the first trip occurred late in the Spring, and the rain had been plentiful. The second trip occurred in the middle of the summer, and there had not been so much rain.

Everything that I had learned about Spring River on my earlier trip simply did not apply. I was not in for the leisurely float trip I had anticipated and hyped to my guests. Did I mention that Aunt Margie was afraid of water? That’s because no one mentioned it to me, either!

Vikki and Mom eventually broke from the group and made it down the river in time to get Vikki to work that day. They really didn’t have any problems. I took the boat with Aunt Margie because I felt like I was probably the strongest canoer left after Vikki and Mom took off, and Margie probably needed the most help.

It was rough, so very rough. It wasn’t very much fun at all. At one point, I realized my sole goal for the day was to get everyone off the river safely. Forget fun. I didn’t think Margie walking up a rocky hill to some railroad tracks was going was doing much for accomplishing my goal, and I think she eventually got back into the boat. But, we switched. Dad and Margie went together, and I got to go in the boat with my Grandma.

My first ever float trip was with my Grandma and Grandpa. With all those grandkids, I don’t know I got lucky enough to spend time with them whenever they went camping every now and then, and I certainly don’t know how I got lucky enough to go on a float trip with them. And, maybe mom and dad were along, but all I remember is Grandma and Grandpa, coolers, aluminum canoes and the Illinois River. I do love floating down a lazy river with people who can paddle a canoe. I like stopping in the middle of the day for soggy sandwiches and sandy Dr. Pepper, and I like listening to far off traffic and wondering where it is. I need more float tips in my life.

So, I expected when I got in the canoe with Grandma that my float trip had started looking up.

I was right.

I was right for one incident in particular.

In the middle of the Spring River near the end of our trip, the river widened. In the middle, there was a small waterfall with about a 6 feet drop. As Grandma and I approached the waterfall, I noticed a little excitement, but I didn’t know what the excitement was about because I hadn’t seen the waterfall yet. Grandma and I were cruising down the middle of the river. I was in front. I may have thought I was the strongest canoe’r when I got Margie in my boat, but I must have recognized I was wrong when I decided to take the less important front seat. Since I was in front, I realized before Grandma did what was coming up. I think I mentioned it to her in time to make the correction so that we could go around the water fall. She was in the back, and she was steering. She didn’t say much, so I don’t know what she was really thinking, but we didn’t change course. We went over the waterfall. We didn’t turn our boat over.

A group had gathered so they could try this waterfall until they made it over successfully. Once they got the bottom and crashed, as they inevitably did, they carried their boat back to the top to try it again.

They cheered a little when Grandma and I cruised down that waterfall like the old pros that I guess we were.

My grandma, Trevor and Devin’s great-Grandma, is a pretty incredible person.

1 comment:

MOM said...

You are right your grandmother is one very special lady. I was wrong about Chasity birthday it is on April 3rd. So I guess we both missed the correct day. One of Mom and Dad's favorite things to do was float down the river. They would go on a float trip once or twice a year at least.
Love you all,