Another canoe story. Young Sarge
This a boat story but the boat is the least of the problem. It goes like this:
This story was of a younger Sarge but still doing his best to be unconventional. We were in High School, Howard and I. He was a feisty, short little Irishman and with my 6'-0" we looked like Mutt and Jeff. We were both heavy into hunting and fishing and spent nearly every weekend down in the Missouri Ozarks area. (this is the same area that I found the telephone on the tree, if you have read all the stories) Somewhere Howard found a sail boat, minus the sail and minus the centerboard but float-able. We took off to one of the many Ozark mountain streams to float and fish. Our first problem arose when we discovered that at this time of the summer there was very little water in the river. We would float about 100 yards and then drag the boat over sand bars about 100 yards. This was soon taxing even our youthful strength and exuberance. We finally decided to call it quits and just get down the stream to where we left our car and pack it up.
We no sooner had made that decision when the skys opened up and it was wetter in the boat than in the water. It was a driving cold rain with thunder and lightning and high winds like can only happen in the midwest. We could have just pulled over under a tree but the possibility of a flash flood was in our minds, not to mention lightning. So we paddled and dragged the boat with a fear riding us and no more thought of having fun, in our mind. Finally we got to deep water in an arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. At least we did not have to drag the boat any more. We spotted a pier and a couple of fishermen on it and we pulled over knowing we were back to civilization and saved. (If we only knew what was coming)
As we tied up to the pier Howard stepped out of the boat. Obviously he had forgotten we were now in a arm of the lake and not in a shallow stream because he sank out of sight. I turned around from tying up and all I found was his hat floating on the water. I picked up his hat to see if he was under it, but no Howard. Suddenly he came up with a gasp and the only thing that kept the boat from tipping over and putting me in the drink was the rope that I had tied. I hauled him in and now he was really soaked.
The fishermen were finally persuaded to take us down to the car parked a couple of miles away. But we were so wet that they made us ride in the back of the pick-up with the boat. I know now about the phenomena called Hypothermia, but back then we just knew we were so cold from the ride in the back of the windy pick-up that we were shaking all over. Our clothes were soaked and when we finally got the boat tied on top of the car it was all we could do to climb in the car and collapse.
I had a couple blankets in the car left over from a picnic so we took our wet clothes off and wrapped up in the blankets. Turning the heater up as high as it would go seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be the wrong thing to do. As I drove the hundred miles or so back home my eye lids got heavier and heavier. Until I fell asleep at the wheel. The road took a left turn------I did not. The car with boat on top went straight into a corn field and as it mowed down corn rows it gradually lost speed until it stopped. With me still asleep at the wheel. Finally Howard woke up and looked around. All he could see was corn. He shook me awake and asked me where we were.
I looked out and said, "We are in the garden" and went back to sleep. Howard shook me awake again and then I really woke up. We got out of the car and found the engine still running and the wheels still turning. We had accumulated so much corn under the car that the car was not touching the ground. We probably harvested 50 bushels of corn for that unfortunate farmer. So we crawled under the car in our bare skins and dug out all the corn stalks until the car wheels were back on the ground(mud) again. Then we were really stuck. So I put the car in reverse and we both got out in front and pushed. With a rock on the throttle and the engine doing high RPMs we finally got it to moving. Unfortunately it was moving faster than we were. The car took off backward out of the field and we both fell face down in the mud.
Struggling up we took off down the road chasing the driver-less car. I did mention we were still stark naked and covered with mud? Just as we caught up to the car and were attempting to open the doors and run along side it at the same time, over the hill, came of all things a Sheriff Patrol Car.
I managed to dive through the window and grab the key and turn it off to stop the car before it ran into the cop car. (Must have been an interesting exposure) The red light came on. (You expected that didn't you.)(So did we.)
The Deputy got out of the car and walked over to us. Can you imagine what he thought? Here were two teenage boys, naked as jaybirds covered with mud, corn stalks, weed seeds and gravel. And one muddy car with a boat on top. Not to mention a new 100 yard road through the local farmers corn field.
We just knew we were going to get arrested, jailed, maybe they would throw the key away.
He just stood there for a few minutes. His eyes big and unbelieving. He finally just shook his head in bewilderment and then turned around and went back to his car. He got in, started it up and drove off.
I never do anything ordinary.