“Ode to the ‘Duck’”
An historical account of the events of Tuesday, Jul 10, 2007
By Joe Paule
The morning was cool, and oh, so nice;
Just another day here in paradise.
Just as the bright sun hit that glorious red wall,
I heard the conch shell blow its first call.
Dave said, “Do you want to try the ‘duck’”?
I replied, “Sure, what the f*** [heck]”.
Though the water is cold, and a bit mucky,
I said, “OK, I’ll try the ’duckie’”.
They offered me a nice long wet suit,
But I feared what would happen when I had to toot.
Around each knee, I tightened the strap,
And on my noggin, that hard yellow cap.
I started to play with that weird double paddle;
But discovered it was easy to really skedaddle.
I passed the qualification test with room to spare.
So, off I went, as if on a dare.
Out I paddled into the smooth, calm river.
What a wonderful day God was about to deliver!
I came to some rapids, and made it through OK;
But I couldn’t help wondering if I’d make it all day.
At lunch, Pat told us, “Um, there’s, you know… um.. big water ahead”.
All’s I could think was “Better dead than Red”!
Then, late in the day, up came the hot wind.
Off in the distance, I heard “ten, ten, ten”.
Then across the river came the roar of the thunder.
“What have I gotten myself into?”, I wondered.
As I approached the churning and foaming white water,
I wondered if I’d make it, or just become fodder.
It was a big one, all right, called Dubendorff Falls;
And its too late now…… hope I have the b**** [courage].
Furiously I paddled to begin my run.
“Follow me!”, yelled Dave – easier said than done!
I hit a big wave, then made the next turn.
I thought, “This isn’t so tough to learn”.
I bounced and twisted, to and fro,
Trying to keep my ‘duckie’ headed just so.
As I hit a big wave, I let out a bellow,
Aboard my little “boat o’ yellow”.
I’m told I wore a big grin on my mug.
Oh, no! Huge wave ahead! Don’t get too smug!
Next thing I knew, I was down in the brink,
Gasping for air and taking a drink!
I had started so well, so brave, so bold;
Yet, here I was in the water so cold.
Now came the ultimate ‘duckie’ test:
In this churning water, could I still self-arrest?
I hung onto the paddle, and to the strap on the boat;
But it was all I could do to just stay afloat.
I was battered and bobbing and beaten and bashed.
My hopes of a long retirement were quickly being dashed.
I was tossed and turned by wave after wave.
Then from nowhere came Dave to make the big save!
I paddled to shore with all of my might;
And just barely made land where we were to camp that night.
As I finally calmed down, I began to smile;
I haven’t been that excited in quite a long while!
As I sat on the shore and warmed in the sun,
I looked back towards the thunder and thought, “Damn, that was fun!”
With that experience behind me, I wondered “What next?”
And with all of my heart, I thought “Thanks, Can X!!”