That is me, circa 1997.
Behind me is my crazy father.
Yes, that is a field of snow.
And yes… that is most definitely a canoe.
Allow me to explain.
You see, that particular winter we received a storm that delivered a lot of freezing rain over a couple of days. The result was a crust of ice several inches thick on top of a few feet of snow. That crust was hard and it stayed that way for weeks.
How hard was that crust? You could walk anywhere and the four wheeler went anywhere… not just on the skidoo trails, but on top of the drifts, straight through the fields, everywhere.
It was around this time that we also experimented with our downhill skis on the hill behind our house. How did we get to the top of said hill? We were towed to the top behind the four wheeler, using a plain old rope.
Yes, my father is quite the character.
So one day while on break from university, my father said to me, “You know, I have always wanted to try to go sliding with a canoe”. He had heard of this being done before. My dad is the curious sort, you see, and once he gets an idea in his head, it will gurgle and stew in there until he can make it happen.
The crust that winter made the perfect surface: instead of trudging along in a few inches of soft snow, we would do it in grand old Carleton County style and that was going to be in a green canoe that was sure to quickly turn into a lightning fast torpedo on top of that hard crust.
We hauled the canoe to a field not too far away and lugged it to the top of a hill. The field was open, save for a couple of rock piles in the middle and about halfway down. I piled in the canoe and Dad gave us a push to get us started. So far so good. We were laughing at the sheer hilarity of what we were doing when the canoe steered towards the middle of the field. In cartoon style, I think the light bulbs went on for both of us at the same time.
How were we going to steer this thing? I guess paddles would be the obvious answer but there we were, up the snowbank without a paddle, picking up speed, and heading toward this rock pile. Dad was trying to steer but he was not being that successful. As the rock pile loomed closer, in a moment of panic… I bailed.
Both knees and shins and I think even my elbows went through that thick layer of crust. I was bruised for three weeks after that.
Are you wondering what happened to Dad? You should be. He actually managed to narrowly miss the rock pile and continued down the field, drastically picking up speed (which I’m sure was happening more quickly because part of the cargo, me, had went overboard).
What was at the bottom of the field to stop him? Forest.
He didn’t get too far into the trees before coming to a stop (without the aid of a tree, I should note). And when I caught up to him, he was laughing so hard that I couldn’t help but join in.
That’s my dad. He’s fun and funny and the life in any room and he can make me laugh like no one else. We’re never quite sure what he’s going to say and do next and he would try (almost) anything once. I hope to be just like that: ready to make my own fun and not waiting for it to find me. Boy, do I love him.
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