jayellebee's Blog

June 25, 2010

Paddle, Dammit. Paddle!

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 11:46 pm

     Circumstance sent me day-tripping in a canoe with a neighbor/acquaintance years ago.  We spent the warm summer day enjoying the companionship of mutual friends, the luxury of time off, and a picnic lunch.

     The Russian River treated us to a gauntlet of experiences.  It ran deep and narrow in places, propelling us and our graceful craft with ease.  We navigated bends and avoided banks overgrown with thorny bushes by working as a team.  A memorable couple in our group spent hours that day ricocheting off first one shore and then the other, all the while screaming at each other, “Paddle, dammit.  Paddle!”

     At one point, the riverbed contained mere inches of water trickling across coarse gravel.  We waded, pushing and scraping the hull over rocks, before re-boarding.  Our reward for working through the challenges?  Stretches of calm, scenic beauty set us up for the miniature rapids, mid-stream boulders, and sunken logs ahead.  Heightened adrenalin levels alternated with rest and relaxation most of the day.

     The river widened at the end of our voyage, causing the current to slacken.  Fatigued muscles worked extra hard in the face of an afternoon wind.  At length, the morning’s starting point and our patient cars came into view.

     Forty-two years later, I realize that day foretold much of what marriage to my canoeing partner held in store for us.  We have had times when it was necessary to get out and push before continuing on.  There have been many long days when we labored as a team to achieve our goals.  We always seem closest when we navigate the tough spots, but it is the clear sailing through calm waters that makes all worthwhile.

     Perhaps every couple should take the canoe test.  Can they work together?  Or will they end up screaming, “Paddle, dammit.  Paddle!”



  1. Nice post, Joanne! Canoeing is a great analogy for marriage or any close relationship. What happened to the “Dammit” couple??

    I spent my childhood summers in Monte Rio. Great memories.


    Comment by Ann Damaschino — June 26, 2010 @ 8:03 am | Reply

  2. Love this. Probably every marriage has a little bit of “Paddle dammit” and then somewhere discovering how to do so together naturally!

    Comment by lizbooks — June 26, 2010 @ 8:10 am | Reply

  3. How true! How true! Well done!

    Comment by Bee Hylinski — June 26, 2010 @ 10:46 am | Reply

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