hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


October 10, 2013

Boating experiences take me adrift


The children surprised me one Father’s Day with a customized red, blue and orange sail — the colors of the Armenian flag as my ethnic pride intervenes every time I set afloat.

“Time for a canoe,” one of my kids suggested. “Would be perfect for the grandchildren.”

How could I deprive them? They could have very easily suggested a Jet Ski or a cabin cruiser that would sleep six. On a lake?

I could see the look in their eyes with people water skiing and tubing. The little ones especially became envious of our neighbors. You didn’t have to be a mentalist to know what was going through their mind. Action, baby. Let’s make waves!

So I invested in a new canoe and all went well for a while, until they grew wary of it. My three boats were the beginning stages of an armada.

“Look at the Waitts,” my wife said one evening. “They have a paddle boat. Isn’t that romantic?”

“Not my speed,” I shot back. “Don’t we have enough boats without increasing our fleet? Storage problem, you know. We need room to swim.”

So we enjoyed their paddle boat from a distance and did get to try it out one day. Bailing the thing out after a rainstorm was rather troubling and I was happy the matter didn’t grow into an obsession.

What did, however, was the kayak. I had no intention of buying one until my family passed a subtle hint after seeing their numbers grow. Off we went kayak-hunting, and found a yellow 8 ½-footer. You could spot it across the lake.

A whole new world was introduced to me. Kayakers are a tight clique, unlike sail-boaters or canoeists. But something was missing. Another one.

People don’t usually go kayaking alone, the family said. Nice to have a mate along, especially with the grandchildren. We don’t want any mishaps.

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