Saturday, June 21, 2008

Susie Q and the Waterlogged Dollar

     Oh Susie Q.  Let me tell you about Susie Q.  Julia Goulia always called her Wild Woman and that is certainly right.  Susie Q is a 60-something grandmother who is more fun and active and outgoing than any 23-year-old.  She will cross country ski and snowshoe and hike and kayak and just about anything else you'd care to have her try.  And boy could she tell a story.  Half of the fun is the story itself; the other half is the way she tells it.  And for every classic story she had to tell us, we have one about her.  And one of my favorites is the first time that Susie Q and I went kayaking.
     Near where we live there is a long, narrow lake called Teal Lake.  On the west end there is a small sandy beach that is part of a recreational areas, there are large cliffs along the middle, and there is a town on the east end, with a small beach, a boat launch, and several small businesses: a pizza place, an ice cream parlor, etc.  We were interested mostly in the ice cream parlor.  Since Susie Q lived roughly three blocks from the beach on the west end of Teal Lake, we formulated the following plan: we would take our kayaks (well, mine and Little Jeffy's, which he was gracious enough to let us borrow) across Teal Lake, from the west end to the east end, stop and have some ice cream, and then we'd head back.  Simple enough plan.  Or so you'd think.
     The day dawned rather nice, sunny and breezy but with thickening clouds.  I went up and picked up Susie Q and we made our way down to the beach in the recreation area.  It had been a while since Susie Q had been kayaking, so I got her set up and snugged in and I gave her a shove out into the lake.  Out she glided onto the water, and by the time I was able to get myself situated and out onto the lake, she might as well have been gone.  She was having a blast and apparently that did not involve waiting for me.  So I make like a madman until I catch up and off we go.  And we are both having a great time.  Susie Q grew up around the history and the shores of this lake and the two towns it connects.  I did not.  So she is telling me stories about what we are seeing along the shore, what used to be there and what is there now.  All is well.  We make it across the lake, slowly but surely.  We glide up onto the eastern shore, stow our boats and stroll over to the ice cream parlor as the day continues to cloud over.  We have some ice cream, I seem to recall having a chili dog because I was hungry, and we goof around and have a good time.  Pretty soon we decide to leave and when we get outside things have changes.  The wind has kicked up and it has clouded over.  And the wind is coming straight out of the west.  This is where the problem began.
If you remember what I told you, Teal Lake runs long and narrow from west to east.  So with the wind coming directly out of the west and squeezing between the high rock cliffs the waves on the east shore were pretty aggressive.  I don't care a whole lot about this.  For me, with my relative strength and my larger kayak this poses no problem.  I never realized that these waves would be a problem for Susie Q, the 60-something year old novice.  That is because I am dumb sometimes.  I will give her credit, she gave it hell.  She got in in the choppy weather, I gave her a shove as I stood knee deep in the water and paddled like the dickens.  But she fought the waves got the better of her and spilled her over.  It happened to quickly.  One minute she was paddling there and the next minute the was standing there, waterlogged in about 4 feet of water, holding a dollar bill over her head and yelling "I still have my dollar!"  Didn't care about all the coins that were lying on the bottom.  Didn't care about the kayak rapidly floating back towards shore.  Not excited that her glasses were still on her head.  All she cared about was that she still had that dollar.  It was the most hilarious and endearing thing.  It is an image that will live in my mind forever.  A sopping wet Susie Q and he precious dollar.  Oh what the people driving by on the highway must have thought.
     Well, in the end we made it back to shore, got ourselves sorted out and regrouped, and gave it a second time.  And it was tough but we battled the wind all the way back across the lake to the beach.  We got everything strapped to the top of the car and we were ready to go home.  Despite the spill we both had a wonderful day, although I did feel bad.  It turned out to be a recurring theme.  I don't think that I ever went kayaking with Susie Q that she didn't fall in.  No wait, I don't think she fell in at Deer Lake.  I am starting the think that I wasn't a terribly successful expedition leader.  Be that as it may Susie Q and I always had fun when sporting together, and I will always have nothing but fond memories.  But few will be as amazing as the memory of Susie Q and her waterlogged dollar.  


SandRiverGuy said...

i sure miss that susie Q

KingBobb said...

Susie Q is one in a million. And that's not the first time that The Meir has tried to become a submarine. Nor the last, in all likelihood.