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This old, orange canoe became
a part of our family.
This old, orange canoe became
a part of our family.

An Old Friend

230 words


Memories of A Fine Old Canoe
by Dianne Roth


My old, orange, Coleman canoe is a thing of beauty and a loyal friend. It stayed with me through a divorce, has been stolen, borrowed indefinitely, and gone on solo adventures when the river was inviting and no one was looking.

Over the years it provided loving care to my two sons. At four and five years old, they paddled the canoe with its prow beached on the bank, its stern providing buoyancy and thrills.

A year or so later, that wasn't as much fun. With life jackets buckled, they asked if the whole canoe could be in the water. And a year later, if they could have a longer rope... and then longer... and longer. And, one day, they wanted the rope untied!

Our old friend took care of us in another way as well. On afternoon paddles with people who wanted to be a part of our lives, it would expose anger and dominance or gentleness, cooperation, and a love of nature. On one rather unpleasant afternoon, it dumped an arrogant paddler right into the water!

My canoe now lives along the banks of the Luckiamute River. It is joyfully watching over my grandchildren, giving them the thrills, letting them stretch, and helping them learn the wiles of our friend, the river. Above all, it is quietly showing them things about themselves that only a canoe can know.


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.




Last updated on October 8, 2012