Yet another summertime sojourn found myself and my family unit on a Friday evening down at Lake Hefner in the city hosted by the good folks at OKCKayak.
We opted for the quick start lesson only to discover that our 5-year old was suddenly channeling Nanook of the North and our 8-year old was bugging Dave (the ultra cool owner) to teach her how to Eskimo roll her plastic lake buggy.
Several times we had to stop and marvel at PK, both hands firmly gripping the two-paddled oar, twisting at her little waist (kayakers don't use their arms to paddle -- it's more of an upper body twisting motion), sunglasses hanging low on her nose bridge, as she maneuvered and steered her solo 8' kayak with the ease and grace of a veteran river rat.
C, whose been paddling a canoe around my in-laws Lake Eufaula boat dock since she could walk, was comfortable enough in the water, but took a few frustrating pre-teen rants to get used to the two bladed paddle. She finally resorted to using her entire upper body to paddle (as she was instructed in the lesson) when her arms grew weary after the first 30 minutes.
While the kayaks we were paddling about were boldly labeled as ocean-ready vessels, the thought of taking one of these sturdy by small Polyethylene Thermoplast rigs out where the waves are crashing, the sharks are circling, and the only thing between me and the long walk towards the water-logged light is my pathetic ability to tread water for a few seconds, I think I'll stick to paddling around a calm, Oklahoma lake in the summer.
And at $15 a hour for solo rentals, the sunset social paddles could become a nice way to wind down the week on a Friday evening, tossing together a bit of exercise, cashing of some sanity checks and paddling around for some good old fashion family fun time.
Ideally, the splendid evening would have ended with hot chocolate and snuggly bedtime reading of one of my favorite stories, Paddle-to-the-Sea.
But alas, the girls both fell asleep in the car on the 45-minute drive home, both Wifey and I were upper body sore, and it turns out I don't have a copy of the famed Caldecott award winning tome to begin with.
So, in the late night stillness of our century old house, in the middle of our small town on the Oklahoma prairie, I fired up YouTube and watched the Academy-Award nominated film version instead.
Please put me back in the water...I am Paddle-to-the-Sea.