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A Tall Wooden Boat Tale

One day after my brothers and I had just completed our chores for the day, we decided to hike down to the lake and cool off in the water...Continued below

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The lake was a couple of miles from our home and was the perfect place to spend a hot summer's day.
We all knew how to swim so with our parent's permission and cautions we three headed out with promises to be home by suppertime.

Upon arriving at the lake we noticed right away that there were several wooden boats tied up at the dock. No one was around so we checked them out and that was when my older brother Tom suggested we try one of them out. At first I said no, but my younger brother John seconded Tom. "Chicken" they cried, as I tried to explain the trouble we could get ourselves into.

My brothers were already untying one of the boats and as they jumped in I decided to join them in the fun. Maybe we could take it out for a short jaunt and return it before anyone was the wiser.

It was fun rowing and feeling the wind at our backs as we skimmed across the still water. This was fun and I pushed the nagging worry away and determined to enjoy the ride.
The lake was pretty big and before we knew it the dock was a tiny speck behind us. Tom suggested that we cross the lake and then return the boat once we came back. We should have time to get it back before someone noticed it was missing we hoped. It wasn't hard to get to the other side and we turned around before getting to close to shore to avoid the risk of running aground. We didn't want any damage to happen to this boat under our care.

Heading back toward the dock we took turns paddling but the wind wasn't at our backs like it had been before so it took more effort to row but we made slow and steady progress.

More then halfway back we suddenly heard a sound coming from across the lake. We could see figures running toward the dock. Now we were in trouble. We had been caught. Now what to do? We could just continue on and face the music, which we probably should have done. Maybe if we explained they would have gone soft on us especially seeing that the boat had no damage to it, but instead we panicked and sat there drifting trying to decide what to do.

Then John pointed a finger and shouted, look, they are coming after us. That decided us and we headed back as fast as we could to the other side of the lake. There were two sets of oars so two of us could row at a time and this made for fast time but it looked like the other boats were gaining on us. They had men in them and they were angry by the shouting we could hear coming to us over the water.

This made us panic even more and as we got to the other side we all jumped into the water as soon as it was about weight deep and pulled the boat to shore and lodged it on the sandy beach. Quickly scampering up the bank we looked back to see how close they were and saw that they were coming fast and were probably about 200 feet from shore.

We didn't wait around to see what they would do but rushed into the forest and ran as fast as we could through the brush and poison ivy. We ran until we were out of breath and just stood there with our sides heaving and looking at one another in relief at our narrow escape.

We could hear faint yells behind us as the men looked around in vain for us. We knew they probably would not want to go too far into the woods to try to find us so we were probably pretty safe.

Now for the hard part. We had to head for home around the lake so we decided to hike parallel to the lake but farther in the woods for safety. We were pushing through the bushes and gaining a lot of ticks and mosquito bites. After going a ways we headed back to the lake to try to find easier walking and once we came to the water we made sure the coast was clear before jumping in the water to cool off. We tried to wash away the dirt and hopefully the poison ivy juice to prevent breaking out later.

Once we felt more refreshed we settled down to some serious hiking around the lake. There weren't any trails in this area so we hugged the shore as much as we could but most of the time we had to climb over logs, rocks and debris, so the going was slow. It was probably close to fifteen miles around before we could head for home.

We continued this way for about three hours and were becoming pretty exhausted before we came upon a road that came to the lake. Now this had possibilities. Walking up the road away from the lake it joined another road that had some traffic on it. Maybe we could get a ride. As a car came by we struck out our thumbs but it zoomed on by. We must have looked pretty tattered to anyone and most would probably not want us in their clean cars.

Several more cars came by before finally an old rusty pick up stopped and a older fellow struck his head out and asked us where we were headed. We told him and he invited us to hop in the back. With grateful hearts we quickly complied and were on our way.

Once we came to the road that headed to our home he stopped and let us off. We thanked him and headed back the two miles to home. It was a weary bunch of boys who finally came home that night. We made it just in time for supper and our mother told us to clean up before setting down. We dragged ourselves up the stairs to the bathroom and washed ourselves and got into clean clothes.

Of course we couldn't tell our story and just told our folks that we had fun and got worn out with all the swimming and such that we had done. Right after supper we were supposed to wash the dishes and put things away. It took super human strength but we made it and much to the surprise of our parents we decided to go to bed early.

We were grateful that we didn't get caught but had learned a hard lesson. From now on we would stick to safe things and no more borrowing other people's things without their permission. It would be a few days before we ventured down to the lake again.

Susan Dietel
Web Programmer
Email: susansdesign@yahoo.com

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