‘Holly’s hands were blistered and her shoulders had never been this sore. Water polo had nothing on canoeing. The closest they’d come to being this sore was when she helped move her bedroom to the basement. It took the better part of the day, and when she was done, she felt like Atlas must’ve felt holding up the heavens. She got her mother to bring her ice packs, and she lay on her bed with one pack under each shoulder. Her father gave her ibuprofen unprompted, because he’d heard her moaning all the way from the main floor. That soreness was nothing compared to what she felt now, paddling the canoe with her father north up the river toward a trapline they weren’t even sure they’d be able to find.
“When are we going to stop for supper?” Holly said. “It’s pretty much suppertime.”
“Soon,” her father said. “After we make it past this island.”
She rotated in her bow seat to face north. They were getting closer to another island with each passing second, albeit slowly. He seemed hesitant to her, beginning to steer the canoe right one moment, and the next moment, drifting left.
“Do we plan on going through it or around it?” she said.
“Around it,” he said, but there was a pause before he spoke.
(Excerpt from my longer story)
May 20th, 2023. It was thirty-eight years ago today that my Dad passed away, in 1985.
I didn’t see Dad much after he got sick – I was away at university when he’d first fallen ill. I say “fallen ill” because I don’t really know how else to describe what had happened.
Today, exactly thirty-eight years later, my thirty-three-year-old son just sent a text telling me that on this dark and rainy day, he’d just finished planting his vegetable garden. My dad, the grandpa that my son had never met, also loved planting a vegetable garden.
Isn’t that something? My heart is full.
Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.