Most of the time, I read through all or most of the new posts on my reader before I determine whether to do a post then or later. Today, I started reading the posts on my reader and came across the latest post by Gene at Turning The Pages of Life and in his post today he talks about some people -four of 'em -in a canoe -I'll let you read his post and get the full gist of that story -then you can come back and read my post, inspired by his story of those four folks in the canoe.
This is one of my "years ago" from the dark ages of my life stories. It took place back in the very late 60s or maybe in 1970 or 1971. Somewhere in that time space. And this happened on a very pretty Sunday afternoon in late spring.
I was living in a suburb of Washington, D.C. -southeast of the District in Prince George's county back then and working for a big, big National Association at their headquarters in D.C.
Some of my friends from work and I had decided that spring that we needed to do things on our weekends that would allow us to see more of the scenic spots in and around Washington. A great idea, don't you think?
Someone had heard about that you could go down to Georgetown and there was a ferry there that you could take to cross the canal -I think it is called the C&O Canal or maybe it is the B&O Canal -memory fails me on exactness there right now -but anyway, this ferry goes across that canal that runs parallel to the Potomac River. And after you cross that canal, there was this place there where you could rent a bicycle and then, ride it along the towpath of that old canal.
Well, this whole deal sounded like a darned good way for our little group of friend to spend a Sunday afternoon -biking, fresh air, get a little exercise, have a lot of laughs too during this time.
So, off we went. I think there were five of us -me, my best friend, Joan, her cousin and roommate, Kathy (nicknamed "Guz" due to her surname being that), co-worker Dee and another girl whose name I cannot for the life of me remember right now although I can see her face in my mind's eye right now, just as plain as day. Yes, I do, frequently, think I am entering into the yucky realm of Alzheimer's or plain senility -something along those lines anyway. Now, if the lack of being able to recall that other girl's name bugs me enough today, I may just have to pick up the phone later and call Joan to have her refresh my memory.
So, back to my story.
We got there, parked, assembled in line to board the ferry. And in short order, we were on the ferry and seated, waiting patiently for it to take us over to where we could rent the bicycles.
As we sat there, we watched as folks around us were renting canoes and making plans for a nice, leisurely -and in some instances -probably what some of those people thought would also be a romantic time -alone, in a canoe, with some food and/or beverages. You get the idea there, don't you?
Well, there was this one couple that caught our eye as they were loading their "provisions" into their canoe. I don't remember a thing about the guy -as to his appearance, just that we watched him loading a couple six packs of beer into their conveyance. The lady with him though had very, very long hair and was not particularly pretty.
He got their stuff loaded, put himself in the canoe and reached out with one hand I guess sort of to "steady" the canoe and with the other, he extended a hand to his lady to help her step into the canoe.
Can you see where this is going?
As we -my friends and I -watched this, we could also see the canoe moving, ever so slightly at first but it was one of those things that just played out in slow motion then.
The young woman put one foot into the canoe, was lifting her leg to put the other foot down and that canoe did a flip faster than you can say "Jack Robinson!"
Into the drink went both the guy and his girl. And also, the beer.
We figured that must have been his most prized possession then because as his head emerged from the water and so did his girlfriend's, the only thing he did was to holler at her, over and over, "Get the beer! Get the beer!"
Well, it's not that we -my friends and I -had no compassion or anything for their plight but we did burst into very loud, long gales of laughter at the sight. Guz always had a habit when something was really funny to her, she would clap her hands on her legs, then clap her hands together while stomping her feet, loud, long and wildly and she was doing that in the ferry which just served then to make the rest of us laugh all that much more.
And, one other side note too -that canal water is not really very nice. As I remember it, very grungy, scuzzy, yucky water. And that young lady, when she surfaced, her hair totally soaked, with some kind of accumulated gunk from the water clinging to her hair, she looked like some creature just rising out of some black lagoon or some such thing. Stringy hair that is dry is unattractive. Stringy hair that is completely drenched and has all this gop clinging to it is downright U.G.L.Y!
We made our little journey to the other side of the canal, rented our bikes and set off on our ride. Enjoying the trail or towpath, having a great time, we did!
Until we came to a fork in the trail at which time, Dee and I stopped and waited a minute for Joan to catch up to us as we debated should we go to the fork on the right or the fork on the left.
Joan caught up to us and buzzed right past us. As she whisked by, she had her hand on the handlebar in a way that showed she was pretending to have a little bell on the handlebar and she called to us "Ding, ding, ding-a-ling!" Laughing at us for standing still there, she also forgot to watch where she was heading and as a result, she went over this embankment along the towpath -a drop off of at least 4-5 foot, if not a bit higher. She landed on the ground below, still upright on her bike, and rode it oh, about another ten foot or so before she toppled off, on to the ground.
For anyone who remembers Dick Martin on Laugh-in, riding that tricycle till it toppled over, that was kind of how she looked as she went over that little embankment or mini-cliff perhaps you could call it!
Dee and I stood there watching that scene play out and I howled laughing at Joan's plight. Dancing around with glee, pointing, cackling. Dee, on the other hand, wanted very much to laugh with me but, because Joan was also our supervisor at work, she was afraid to laugh at Joan's dilemma, fearing that if she did that, Joan would fire her the next day when we were back at work!
That was just one of many of the crazy, zany things my friends and I did back in those days -which really for us were "The good old days!" It's also one of those things that just about every time I talk to Joan on the phone -yes, even after 36 years since I left that area, that job, moved back to Pennsylvania, she and I are still very good friends -that we make mention of and laugh again and again over the canoe, the bikes and her ride down to the edge of the Potomac River!
Our mantra as then, still is then in our conversations, "Get the beer! Get the beer!"
And now, since Mandy has decided to take our stove apart to clean it -you can't imagine how grungy it is under those burners -and since she already took out the oven drawer to clean that and discovered an extremely large deposit there of evidence that the mouse in the house had been doing some camping out there, she already made me come out and sweep out the accumulation of all kinds of things that were underneath the oven drawer. Things like crayons, pens, pencils, galore, even including a child's coloring book of the type that kids can paint in. I commented to her that it did appear to me that the mouse must be a literary one, having that book there and her retort to me was that she figures it must be of the artistic type too, doing some painting.
So, since she is now working on the really nasty area under the burners on the stove and since she is a woman too of very little patience when it comes to doing the nasty cleaning jobs like that, if I want to stay in her good graces, I'd best say "Have a great day, everyone!" and make my way to the kitchen in an attempt to perhaps lend her a hand.
At least, I can hand her a clean rag or the scouring powder or whatever she may need to get the gunk off the stove.
It's the very least I can do to lend her a helping hand though I rather doubt she will be all that appreciative of my efforts and generosity anyway.