Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Adventures of Jaeger--Part I


I hesitate to post this because I fear criticism both of my parenting skills and my responsible pet owner skills, but any one who has ever had a particular kind of son will understand--for those of you who haven't had the experience--well, enjoy not having to color your hair :-)

In March, I introduced you to Archie's funny little yellow cat. They are both still here and I don't know when I have ever loved an animal more than I love this one. My affection for the little cat is all wrapped up with my love for my son and the fact that this little creature who is all sinew and devotion wrapped up in a suit of orange stripes has been faithfully by Archie's side for several months.

I don't want to go through the events that have necessitated my monthly trips to the hairdresser for root touchup, some of the hard and sad times are alluded to in earlier posts but I do believe that it is safe now to exhale and the little yellow cat is a big part of it.

Hmmm, where to start. Maybe I should start with the story about the acquisition of the kayak and while the kitty stayed at home for the execution of that adventure, I am sure he was a co-conspirator in the planning stages.

In early March the rivers of Maine are swollen with snow melt and big chunks of ice as they start to carry the winter's precipitation to the ocean. We live on the Androscoggin River which drains the Northern White Mountains before flowing through Dixfield. Along with the snow melt and the ice chunks, the river also brings anything that is in its path--docks, trees, tires, bicycles, iceshacks, boats, whatever is in its way. There are several islands in the river as it flows through Dixfield and one day Archie and his friends noticed that on one of the islands there was a really nice kayak that had washed downstream.

Well, finders keepers, right?

So one cold March day after school Archie and his friends gathered on the river bank. Archie stripped down to his boxer shorts and with a kayak paddle in his hands planned how to swim out to the island. When I later asked him if any of the buddies on shore had a cell phone, he said "Yes, but they were mostly being used for video". There was still about 3 feet of snow along the river bank so he went upstream from the island, and slid down the snow bank into the river--in his boxers with the paddle in his hand.

He said the water was really cold. Really?

So, he swam and was taken by the current down to the island. Perfect execution of the plan so far--except.

When he got to the island, he realized that there were many trees that had also been swept downstream and the kayak was on top of them--so barefoot in his boxers with a kayak paddle he climbed up through 10 feet of downed trees and got to the kayak which he triumphantly paddled to shore. The boys then took the kayak to the nearby elementary school and used it for a toboggan and slid down the hills. I particularly like the juxtaposition of swimming and sledding in one short time frame.

By nighttime, they made their way home with the kayak which now rests in our barn in between adventures.

Now, if any of you northern Androscoggin watershed readers lost a pretty blue kayak over the winter, I don't want to hear about it.

10 comments:

Jayne said...

Oh my... I think I felt a hair go gray just reading about the adventure. Whew. Glad it went so well, and will soon be starting a Color Beth's Hair fund! :c)

Joanie D. said...

Oh my goodness...boys! I am glad it all turned out well.

beth said...

sons/boys/male testosterone.....some days it's all more than I can handle and he's only 17 !

KGMom said...

YIKES--breathlessly awaiting Part II.

Vickie said...

I can't believe he didn't freeze into a kayak embrace once he reached shore! Amazing, the energy and determination. And after that episode, the kitty looks pretty warm and inviting!

Beth said...

This post=exquisite.

Love it!

The Texican said...

Made me cold. Pappy

Harriet the Spy said...

Hi, Beth--
You don't know me, but I just discovered your blog, and I think Kurt Vonnegut might say that you and I are members of the same "true karass." (Which reminds me...it's time to reread _Cat's Cradle_.) We have a lot in common--love of cats, the outdoors, NPR..and the Great Kayak Adventure definitely sounds like something my son (an 18-year-old daredevil) would do! I'm glad to find your blog, and I'll keep reading, for sure.

Tutta la Storia said...

That kitty looks just like our Henry--who is more dog-like than any cat I have ever known. And I have t say, I LOVE BOYS!!!

Kathiesbirds said...

Beth, I am amazed he didn't die from hypothermia! Did you want to strangle that kid when he told you this story?

However, where does that cat fit in?

BTW, I absolutley love my cat so I totally understand. (and I am not a cat person in general, just a Breezy Boy and Bonnie lover in particular.) I hope Jaegar keeps you warm on those cold Maine Evenings!