Monday, June 18, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 78: When in Doubt, Summon the Kracken

          "How about the orange one?" I suggested.
          "Idon'tcarecomeonlet'sgo!!!" Katie yelled, jumping up and down with excitement.
          "So...I just grab this end?" Ben asked.
          "Sure, why not?" I grabbed my end and lifted, beginning to walk towards the lake shore. 
          "Hey, don't forget your life jackets!" Dad hollered at us. "And wait for me! I need to show you how!"
          I rolled my eyes as Dad assumed that I knew absolutely nothing about an activity we kids had never tried before. Katie snatched the life jackets and met Ben and me down by the shore. I gestured at the canoe. "I dunno. I think they're going to take forever...Laura and Mom will spend another hour just choosing the color."
          Katie snickered and distributed paddles. "It can't be that hard, right?"
          "Basic physics," I agreed. "I call front."
          "Rear!" Ben exclaimed.
          "Middle!" Katie yelped at the same time, then frowned at Ben. "Wait, you didn't want the front?"
          "Nope," Ben said cheerfully. "I don't want to steer."
          Now that all the hard decisions had been made (and with far less bloodshed than usual), we turned to watch the other three members of the family. Laura had hopelessly tangled her life jacket and was helping Dad fix it while debating with Mom as to a good canoe color. I casually nudged the canoe into the water, and carefully crawled into the front. My siblings turned.
          "What are you doing??" Katie demanded, shocked.
          I shrugged casually. "Might as well sit while I'm waiting. Care to join me?" 
          Katie's eyes lit up. "SURE!!!" She clambered in, managing not to capsize us. Ben hopped in last. I eyed the parental unit, then my paddle.
          "I wonder if we could just drift to the end of the dock?"
          Soon we were out in the middle of the lake and discovering that steering in a straight line was not as easy as we thought. I figured out a system of curves that, while not being very fast, got us where we needed to go. After a while, Canoe 2 (with Dad, Mom, and Laura) joined us out on the lake. I was surprised to see Dad in the back.
          "I thought you were going to steer?" I asked him.
          "I am," Dad replied, raising his eyebrows. "You steer from the back."
          I glanced back at Ben. "Whoops."
          Katie and Ben tried to hit me with their paddles. I ducked. "Whoa now! Come on--I had a 50-50 shot at guessing that!"
          "And you guessed wrong," Katie pointed out. 
          "So, how do you steer?" Ben asked Dad.
          After Dad taught Ben the finer points of steering, we set off together. For some reason, our canoe still refused to sail in a straight line. When Canoe 2 began mocking us, I pulled my paddle in and started banging the bottom of the boat with it.
          "What are you doing?" Mom asked, looking like she didn't really want to know.
          "I'm summoning the Kracken!" I announced cheerfully. 
          A stiff breeze blew up after another hour, turning the water choppy and threatening to capsize our already unstable canoe. Hence, there was much less argument than might be expected when Dad announced a return to base. Someone in our boat suggested a race; I think we were all pretty sure that Canoe 2, with the experience of Mom and Dad, would carry the day, but Canoe 1 never let things like a lack of knowledge deter them from anything. We bent to the task with a will, zig-zagging madly across the lake towards the shore.
          There was much gloating when we beat them. 
          "I was just making sure you weren't going to capsize!" Dad protested, citing his reason for being behind us.
          "Really? That's not what you told me," Laura informed him.
          "Don't worry, dear; we win the efficient competition," Mom reassured him. "And you were doing most of the rowing."
          "I bet we covered twice the distance you did," I said thoughtfully.
          "Now if we could only go STRAIGHT..." Ben and Katie chorused.

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