From: St. Louis
Iím not anticipating death and donít think it is near, I just want to share something, a memory, I donít often think of this, and I cannot establish that this incident had a more powerful effect on my coparticipant than myself, I just imagine it is so. My mother died in 1985 in an automobile accident. That is neither here nor there, but it means that any opportunity to interrogate her about this was lost.
I was a boy scout and a good one. If I could see the stars or the sun while wearing a watch, I always knew which way was north and could never get lost. That was out in the country, nowadays in the city it is much more difficult and I can get a bit lost in this random like grid momentarily.
Let me set the scene. I donít remember where this occurred, could be Maine, could be Minnesota, could be somewhere in Canada but it would have been near the border. Every August our family went on tour, and we visited every state in the Union (save Florida) and all the Provinces of Canada bordering the USA. We were camped near a lake and had access to an aluminum canoe and paddles. It was the dusk hour. She wanted to go out on the lake and she wanted me to take her. There was a pea soup fog and I couldnít see even ten feet.
Iím going to bounce around a bit, thatís just how this works. Foosball. I never felt comfortable playing forward. I always had to be in goal and I wanted my partner to keep his danged menís feet out of my way. I was much more likely to score from goal than he was, anyway, and he would have been entirely superfluous except that someone had to keep those midfielderís feet out of my way. So it was in a canoe. I considered anyone else in the canoe in possession of a paddle to be superfluous and, more than that. Problemsome. You see so many in canoes switching from the right side to the left, either because one of their arms got tired or because the canoe is careening off course. It is so easy to propel and steer a canoe from the rear position, you just make your stroke look like the letter J, and the end of the stroke is where you use the paddle as a rudder, if only for a moment. One proficient person propelling the canoe from that position can outrace a pair of fools switching from left to right, even when they do it in opposition.
Anyhow, she didnít want a paddle. She wanted to be chauffeured out onto the lake, and that is what I did. She put her back to the bows and sat watching me. Like I said, there was a pea soup fog and you couldnít see ten feet even. It was a fairly remote place and there were no sounds like from a highway or any other artificial source. I paddled us out around 300 yards (roughly 300 meters for you Europeans) and we sat there and listened to the loons. If youíve never heard a loon in person, it is quite spooky. In a pea soup fog where you canít see them but you can hear them as clear as Big Ben bonging off your ear, it is special. We floated there for a time just listening. We didnít talk to each other, that would have spoiled everything. Sometimes a loon would cry out and without a doubt it was just beyond our vision in the fog, ten or twelve feet away. There was no sign that they were in any way concerned with us. After say, twenty minutes, I paddled us back to the dock we left from, through the fog. I was never lost and knew which way to go.
I donít have a memory, with her, to compare with that.