So let me first start with a very serene picture that I took about one week before the story I'm about to share.
Note: this happened about 3 weeks ago.
This was total peace for us, with only a few other row-ers on the lake, we let God's creation hypnotize us. The gentle warmth of the sun and the cool breeze calmed our minds as we gazed into the clear turquoise lake. As the wind swept across the water it created small ripples and I hung my feet over the boat (totally against the rules but I didn't care). We had entered a safe haven away from the world, surrounded by trees and clear skies. We smiled at each other, no words necessary for this moment.
Fast forward a week later to a similar scene, in a canoe, with boaters and threatening winds. Peaceful? NOT SO MUCH PEOPLE! NOT. SO. MUCH....
I'm not really sure where to begin, my mind has sort of blurred the whole disaster but I'll try to explain it.
So, that day we decided to try stand-up-paddle boarding! A fun sport slowly gaining popularity where I live. We paddled down a quiet river, saw a few cute muskrats--a very happy morning.
After our lesson we didn't want to leave town so we went back to the car, I grabbed my purse *important detail* , and we went on to explore.
We arrive at the canoe rental place and this is how it went down....
ME: oooo look they have SUP boards--let's rent one!
NICE STORE OWNER: I'm sorry we don't have the boards in yet.
ME: *sad face*
GARY: Let's rent a canoe!
ME: *happy face* Ok!
WORKER BOY: Here's your canoe and life jackets, but you don't have to wear them *another important fact*
*3 miles or so into the channel of the lake...we've already passed by 10 or more boats*
GARY: What time is it?
ME: Almost 3.
GARY: Wow, wanna start heading back?
ME: Sure, my arms are getting tired anyway.
*we hit the first wake from a nearby boat*
GARY: Man, these boaters are cutting it close to us.
ME: Nah, it's kinda fun! Makes it a little more exciting.
*2nd crash into wake*
*3rd wake we crashed into it not dead on, oh no no... we get hit from the side!*
This is where everything kinda blurred ---SO!
Canoe tilts. Canoe flips.
Water rushes over me. I emerge from water. My shoes float up. My hat floats up. The paddles float up. My sunglasses somehow stay on. Life jackets float up conveniently next to us.
And my purse?
Well. My purse was not so fortunate.
I laughed. Not sure why but I did. My husband did not do the same. He looks over at me, panic stricken and gasping.
GARY: Are.... you.... ok???
ME: Yes, are you?!?!
GARY *gasping with each breath*: Your... purse!
ME: It's ok! Just hold on to your life jacket-we're ok, we're ok. Just look at me and breathe. Breathe. (I managed to say in a calm voice)
This next part I think I was partially going insane, overwhelmed maybe by the impact? Who knows, but I then attempted to flip the canoe back over and get back inside. Maybe this is possible to do but I definitely wasn't smart enough for it. I tried about 4 or 5 times and failed miserably.
At one point I was straddling the entire canoe.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure if this was caught on video, it would gain a million views on You Tube.
Thankfully, two men (who were either high or drunk or both) were just docking their boats near us. I yelled 'Hey guys, can you help us?". They looked over, confused, wide-eyed. I thought maybe they didn't hear me. Let's try again:
"We flipped our canoe! Can you help???" I realized after, these two men were basically looking at a girl riding a canoe, and a guy with a cotton ball in his ear. Ok, maybe the cotton ball wasn't that absurd but still--we were probably a scary sight.
The men pulled us in, a man in his 30s, holding a beer in one hand and steering with the other. The boat jerked every few seconds as he attempted to dock it. And the older one, grey hair and red eyes, tried to make me feel better (I think) by sharing his story of ALMOST losing his wallet but being able to dive in after it. He made me laugh at least. I kind of wish we got their names.
Gary and I looked across the lake for any sign of my blue and white stripped cloth bag. I knew it was at the bottom though. With my set of keys weighing more then normal (because of a weapon Gary bought for me while I was working in D.C./NYC) and his set as well, I had no doubt that it was going to be some ancient artifact found long years after I'm gone.
Paddling back was not fun at all! The sky became dark and the wind picked up and completely took control of the canoe. Yeah, it was a mess--we actually decided to just pull over, dropped off the canoe at some deserted summer house and walked the rest of the way back to the rental place. It wasn't a crazy hike, maybe a mile or less but Gary and I were laughing our heads off for the rest of the week! My parent's, my awesome awesome parents left a graduation party early just to come and get us.
My Dad on the phone (after asking how we were 10 times): Ok...wow... well I don't know when but someone's coming for you, don't you worry.
They brought Gary's spare key for the car and over the next few days I got my keys, bank cards and identity back. Oh and a great friend of mine saved my butt and gave me one of her spare phones which happened to be an upgrade from the water-logged one so that was a plus!
I remember being upset about a wallet picture I had of Gary that was taken on the 4th of July 2011. His smile was especially sweet in it. I also had a soul-mate wallet card that he gave to me on one of our dating anniversaries. As Gary was comforting me he remembered that there was something very important to him attached to his car keys. Something that was given to him from his dad...I quickly reminded him that he didn't need a piece of material to feel his dad near him.. Less than a minute later we rememberd the guys' faces as they saw us struggling in the water and we imagined what was going through their head--we started laughing hard again.
Kudos to us for having an awesome/embarassing summer story to share with our kids!
Moral of the story: Always wear your life jacket and if you can help it DO NOT bring your purse or wallet or phone with you! *Unless you're really cool and have one of those water cases then just remember to have a floaty attached to it.*
***Hope everyone is having an awesome/safe summer!!!***