And so began a trail of common interests. We hiked. We paddled. We raced and lally-gagged (I am so not sure how to spell that, and Linda would spell it with a Texas accent). We did day trips and overnighters. We became a threesome with Betty Parsons, 20 years our senior and outdoor woman extraodinaire! Sometimes we dragged along Betty’s niece to even things out. I was always in the bow, Linda or Betty in the stern.
We actually won a canoe race! The Moose River in Rockwood started on a lake, and required a portage. Race officials were posted to be sure there was no cheating. Betty landed at the portage just before us, and as we rolled in I hollered “Out of the way, Parsons!” The poor race official did not know we were friends, and I thought we might get thrown out of the race for unsportsmanlike behavior.
Probably we should have stopped there, as after a nice ‘leisurely’ paddle down the Moose River, we encountered the infamous wind and waves of Moosehead Lake. Once out on the lake, the wind became almost violent. I kept yelling back to Linda, “We could make headway if you’d stop paddling backwards!” as the waves crashed over the bow, soaking me to the bone.
We bore down, stroke after stroke, not daring to get too near the shore for fear of crashing, nor daring to get too far out in case we swamped. We finally rounded the bend of the cove toward the finish line, and there we pulled ourselves to a first place finish for our class! Awesome!
Linda’s trophy still sits atop her fireplace mantle, and I smile every time I see it. What a fun day. Thank you, Mizzz Parsons!