A front passed through yesterday. Dropping temperatures, occasional showers and strong, gusty winds. Twenty-five to thirty mile per hour winds with gusts up to forty-five. Nasty weather. Truth is the rains weren't all that bad. A minute per sprinkle and not much more than powdered water blasted apart by the wind.
A smart man would've kept his hands busy with indoor work. Not me. The afternoon before, I'd loaded the canoe on the truck. Seemed a waste to take it off without using it so I headed off to my son's house. Didn't intend to actually head out on the water but then again, you never know. Crossing the Mendota bridge the canoe bobbed around a bit. Never done that in the thousands of miles since I'd come up with what seemed a sure fire racking system.
A few days earlier when the forecast was much more friendly I'd kind of promised my two grandson's a canoe ride. Done my share of disappointing in life but never liked it. When I pulled up in front of their house it was with the idea that I did have the canoe but no real intentions of actually using it. A man'd have to be crazy to put the lives of a five and three year old in jeopardy. Parents don't take well the loss of a child. Wouldn't matter much if the cause was the child's grandpa. Might even make it worse. Doubted that would happen but, believe me, it was on my mind.
Inside we read putzed around and read part of a story. I get a lot of pleasure out of reading to my grandchildren. They also seem to enjoy it. It was by Richard Scarry and about what people, even people who are actually cats, dogs, rabbits and mice, do with their days. A book about workin'. Finally, after explaining to Matthew and Luke it was too dangerous to canoe in the strong winds, we decided to hike down to the park where sat the lake. Once outside it didn't seem all that bad. No rain, no trees being blown down. It seemed a waste that all four of us were there and so was the canoe and the lake wasn't more than three driving minutes away and we could always drive down there and not canoe if the weather seemed too dangerous. So that's what we did. Just in case my son Allan strapped his boys into their life jackets.
Once in the park there was no doubt what we were going to do. Off came the canoe. In went the life jackets and paddles. I could say our portage was about a block and a half but that doesn't sound outdoorsy. Call it sixty rods. Al at one end, me at the other, the boys trotting alongside. Blackhawk's a little short of acres, forty-five tops. But it's good fishing water, bass, pike and panfish, some of decent size. Fished the water once and look forward to more trips. I'd thrown the gear in the truck just in case but left it where it sat. We were there for the boys, not the fish. The lake said that was a good idea.
Though Blackhawk's small, it sits in a deep valley that was doing a fine job of funneling the winds. Our launch sat at the receiving end. Line after line stormed down on us like the Mongol Horde. One of them gave the Wenonah a lift and slide. Braced it with my leg while the boys made use of the woods.
Matt and Luke are smart for their ages but I figured it wouldn't hurt to lay down the law about standing up in the boat. Sit on the floor, keep low and you'll stay dry. And they did. A putzing twenty minute tour of half the lake. Al and the boys kept up a running conversation on what they saw. Duckweed, stone stairways, weeping willows and a swimming pool carved into a hillside. Wasn't much of a paddle but we were outside doing something no one in their right mind would be doing. Fun on a miserable day. Maybe the boys'll carry this day with them. Probably not but I sure will.