icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-user Skip to content
Senior Correspondent

When Ken was nearly 55 years of age, he decided he had to fulfill a dream of having a canoe. Not that he'd ever paddled one, but it was an absolute must. Forthwith, he bought and brought home a lovely bright blue canoe. For months he practiced paddling it in our backyard pool. He took me and all the grandchildren for rides; we were all adept at dumping it and then climbing back in. The great day finally came when he felt ready to launch it on a real live lake.

In late September of 1976, we reserved a cabin at Vallecito Lake near Durango, Colorado. The season was over and beaches and cabins seemed deserted as we checked into ours. The following day dawned bright and sunny and beautiful, and we saw from our window a lovely island in the middle of the lake. It seemed the ideal place for an elegant little picnic. I prepared sandwiches and fruits in Ziploc bags and some beers for Ken and a couple of canned vodka martinis and even a jar of olives for myself. We joyfully started out about 10:00 a.m. with bathing suits under our clothing and not a soul in sight. As we pulled away from our pier, I put out my hand to touch it. That was all it needed to flip the canoe over and we sank to the muddy bottom in four or five feet of water. I came up, spitting and sputtering, to hear Ken, swearing and tossing floating beers, sandwiches, fruits and martinis left and right into the canoe, with his arms madly windmilling about. He said to me,  "Dangit, get back in this canoe, right now, because we‘re still going to that blankety-blank island!"

I meekly got myself back in, with curly hair dripping all around my face, and we skimmed to this private island, where we dried our clothes, ate our lunch and soothed all bad feelings. We came back to the cabin late in the day, and, though we hadn‘t seen anyone around at the time of our mishap, Ken chose to land at another dock. A man was working nearby as we disembarked and said, "Oh, you‘re the couple in the blue canoe. We found your jar of olives!"

I have to admit we were somewhat amazed and amused about our resilient jar of olives, as we wended our way back to the cabin.

There was only one dining room open at this little resort and, after naps and showers, we went in to dinner. As we entered the room, the first couple we passed, said to us, "Aren‘t you the couple in the blue canoe?"

We confessed to it, and we, and several other couples, all gave a little laugh. After we were seated, Ken went to the bar at the end of the room to get our drinks.

The bartender looked at Ken and said, "Say, aren‘t you the fellow in the blue canoe?" We felt positively infamous, and as Ken loaded the blue canoe on the roof of the car the next day and we drove off into the sunrise, we congratulated ourselves on giving all those winter people something to talk about in the long months ahead.

The canoe stayed in our lives another two years and was even capsized a time or two in the blue Pacific Ocean. It was really fun to take friends and family out on the moonlit water of Mission Bay.

P.S. Ken finally felt he had his money‘s worth out of the blue canoe and sold it to a young man who is still taking it on camping trips and enjoying it.

Stay Up to Date

Sign up for articles from our Senior Correspondents.

Latest Stories

Choosing Senior Living
Love Old Journalists

Our Mission

To amplify the voices of older adults for the good of society

Learn More