“Ode to the ‘Duck’”

An historical account of the events of Tuesday, Jul 10, 2007


By Joe Paule


The morning was cool, and oh, so nice;

Just another day here in paradise.


Just as the bright sun hit that glorious red wall,

I heard the conch shell blow its first call.


Dave said, “Do you want to try the ‘duck’”?

I replied, “Sure, what the f*** [heck]”.


Though the water is cold, and a bit mucky,

I said, “OK, I’ll try the ’duckie’”.


They offered me a nice long wet suit,

But I feared what would happen when I had to toot.


Around each knee, I tightened the strap,

And on my noggin, that hard yellow cap.


I started to play with that weird double paddle;

But discovered it was easy to really skedaddle.


I passed the qualification test with room to spare.

So, off I went, as if on a dare.


Out I paddled into the smooth, calm river.

What a wonderful day God was about to deliver!


I came to some rapids, and made it through OK;

But I couldn’t help wondering if I’d make it all day.


At lunch, Pat told us, “Um, there’s, you know… um.. big water ahead”.

All’s I could think was “Better dead than Red”!


Then, late in the day, up came the hot wind.

Off in the distance, I heard “ten, ten, ten”.


Then across the river came the roar of the thunder.

“What have I gotten myself into?”, I wondered.


As I approached the churning and foaming white water,

I wondered if I’d make it, or just become fodder.


It was a big one, all right, called Dubendorff Falls;

And its too late now…… hope I have the b**** [courage].


Furiously I paddled to begin my run.

“Follow me!”, yelled Dave – easier said than done!


I hit a big wave, then made the next turn.

I thought, “This isn’t so tough to learn”.


I bounced and twisted, to and fro,

Trying to keep my ‘duckie’ headed just so.


As I hit a big wave, I let out a bellow,

Aboard my little “boat o’ yellow”.


I’m told I wore a big grin on my mug.

Oh, no! Huge wave ahead! Don’t get too smug!


Next thing I knew, I was down in the brink,

Gasping for air and taking a drink!


I had started so well, so brave, so bold;

Yet, here I was in the water so cold.


Now came the ultimate ‘duckie’ test:

In this churning water, could I still self-arrest?


I hung onto the paddle, and to the strap on the boat;

But it was all I could do to just stay afloat.


I was battered and bobbing and beaten and bashed.

My hopes of a long retirement were quickly being dashed.


I was tossed and turned by wave after wave.

Then from nowhere came Dave to make the big save!


I paddled to shore with all of my might;

And just barely made land where we were to camp that night.


As I finally calmed down, I began to smile;

I haven’t been that excited in quite a long while!


As I sat on the shore and warmed in the sun,

I looked back towards the thunder and thought, “Damn, that was fun!”


With that experience behind me, I wondered “What next?”

And with all of my heart, I thought “Thanks, Can X!!”