As a kid growing up in a river town you can automatically assume that the river would run through his blood. This happens to be the case for me. Since I was a baby, my summer weekends consisted of boat rides, sand bars and swimming in the muddy Mississippi. Though my mom would worry about me cutting my foot and the river water infecting it or being swept down river never to be seen again. Though that all sounds horrible and it is, moms tend to worry like that. My mom, however, accepted that fact that the river was in my blood and seeing their kid happy meant seeing him on the river. My dad, on the other hand, knew the river was my babysitter, he knew it was my playground and what makes my dad the best dad in the world is, he always took me to the river.
When I was 11 or 12 I found an 8 foot long piece of dock foam floating in the harbor. Being the water nut I was I decided to grab a paddle off our family boat and hop on this foam and paddle it around the harbor. My dad laughed but could see the happiness in my eyes being the captain of my own ship. After a few weekends of paddling this hunk of foam around the harbor, I came across a hunk of metal in a debris pile at the mouth of the harbor. I paddled my little ship over to see what it was. I hopped off and waded over to see that it was a little 12ft Jon boat upside down. There were not numbers on it so I paddled back and told my dad I found a boat. he laughed at me then noticed the I did, in fact, discover a boat. A few of our Boat Club friends walked out to help me flip it over and to my amazement “IT FLOATED”. I had, for the first time early in my life had my very own boat. I loved that little boat until one day a man came down to the club and told the bartender that if they came across a little 12 foot Jon Boat that he had lost it from his river house. My dad was notified and he had to tell me that my new boat was someone else’s. I was sad but knew that it had to return to the owner. After returning the boat to the rightful owner my dad felt bad, he secretly found a 14 foot Jon boat that was pretty beat up but floated. Along with this boat came a trolling motor, YES!, I had a power boat. I ended up having this boat for a little over a year until the rivet’s started working loose and it took on water. Once again, dad was not going to have this, he did not feel safe with me on the Mississippi River with a leaky boat. it was then he came across an older 18 foot Jon boat, “YES, I HAVE A YACHT”. This sucker had a 20 horsepower motor on it. This is where I learned the meaning of “WORK”. I had to pay for the gas for this thing, though I have to give most the credit to my dad because he knew if he put gas in my tank he would not have to worry about me for hours. A couple years went by and when I was 16 I took my boat out and hit a chunk of driftwood. It put a pretty big hole in the boat. Once again I had worn out another boat. Then came 16 foot of brand spanking new aluminum and that sexy olive drab color. This sucker had a Coast Gaurd bow, walk through seats and a live well. It was fully loaded and pretty sweet. I owned this beauty until I moved down to Springfield Mo. I was away from my lifeline, my sanity and it sucked. When I first moved down here I would compare the rivers down here to the Mighty Mississippi I would laugh, these are not rivers, they are creeks is what I thought. after a few years down here, I bought my first Kayak and decided to paddle some rivers in the area. I was floored to see how beautiful the rivers were in Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. It was unlike anything I had seen before, crystal clear water, some fed by springs which help cool you off in the hot summer. I may have just found a solution to my Mississippi homesickness. These Rivers are beautiful and some, breathtaking.
This past weekend I drove to Iowa to play a wedding, I brought my paddleboard with me in hopes of getting some time on the water. Not only did I get some paddle time in on the Mississippi it also changed me a little bit more as a person. I got to thinking about how my life was on the river, the boats I had, the trips I took and had to write it in a blog post. What I realized is, my boating life started with a chunk of foam and a paddle and ended with a chunk of foam and a paddle. I realized that even though it seems like I was a spoiled kid I was actually able to learn a good life lesson. You don’t big ol boats and motors and lots of goodies to enjoy the rivers around me. A simple Paddle and a piece of styrofoam can give you the greatest experience in your life. All my life I have had boats and kayaks and after taking up SUP, it’s all I want to do when I get on a river or lake. Once again I can thank Shane Perrin for this. Simple things in life can give you the most joy and that is all a person should need and deserves, JOY. Though I still love to kayak and go for boat rides, I will always be a SUP paddler, it was a sort of calling I guess. Maybe it was that chunk of foam and a paddle when I was a kid or maybe it is something different. Either way I look at it, SUP changed my life and it’s all I want to do now.
it Started with foam and it ends with foam……..
WARNING ! ! ! ! ! !
This blog post may cause:
- Moments of “WTF”
- Sudden urges to grammar and punctuation check
- The urge to slap me in the face to tell me to make sense