My TripsWith Dad Experiences SharedWith Family
When I was a kid, my dad and I would go on a Boy Scouts camping trip every year. We would pack up our tents, sleeping bags, and all our camping gear and fit it in the middle of a canoe. Then, we’d row down the river until we reached a spot by some cliffs and camp there for a few days. I remember one year there was a lot of rain the week before we left, so the river was really high and flowing fast. As we were going down it, we reached a place where the river split around a piece of land, creating an island in the middle. On one side of the island, the river moved much faster than the other, and even though we tried to row toward the calmer side, the current was too quick for us. The water pushed our canoe over to a bank where trees and other foliage were growing out over the water. As we approached the trees, there was one branch low enough that it would have hit me in the face, so I lifted my oar to try and push the branch away. As soon as I raised my arm, my dad yelled, “Don’t do it!” But it was too late. I lifted the branch up and over then let go, and a snake fell into the middle of our stuff. Dad and I both immediately stood up, and for those of you who don’t know, you’re not supposed to do that in a canoe. It usually tips right over! Amazingly, we didn’t tip over, but we did need to get to shore as fast as possible. Even though we were only about 3 feet away from the bank, we couldn’t stop because the edge was so full of trees. We were forced to head toward the island. Dad and I paddled as much as we could while standing up, but then we eventually had to sit down to get across, all while keeping a sharp eye out for that snake. Once we got to the rocky island, we jumped out, and dad started throwing equipment out of the canoe. He got down to the bottom and there was a
baby water moccasin, which is an aggressive species with a bite that causes gangrene. Dad grabbed his oar and, like you would see those ginsu knives on TV (bap bap bap), chopped the snake up without thinking. Afterward, we got a good chuckle out of the story. But now our family motto is this: The only good snake is a dead snake. I’ve gone on many adventures with my dad, while I was in the Boy Scouts and otherwise. We’ve gone on a couple of road trips, especially whenever we had to travel to either of my grandparents’ homes in Arizona or Colorado. On one of these trips, Dad taught me how to drive a stick shift, which was pretty rough. Even though I managed to drive, switching gears was really jerky, and I didn’t pick the skill up properly until later on in life. Driving with my dad was always a pretty interesting experience. He had very specific destinations in mind where he wanted to stop for gas or breaks. On one trip, I didn’t notice one of the stops and ended up driving past it. It
was only a few minutes later when my dad, who I thought was asleep in the back of the truck, started pounding on the roof of the cab and told me I had to turn around and go back. No matter the destination, we always had a great time traveling with just the two of us or with the whole family. Today, I try to travel and spend a lot of time with Wendy and the girls. We take trips as often as we can together, and we always make sure our daughters have a wonderful experience. Although we still don’t travel as much as I’d like, we’ve been to some exciting places. A few years ago, we drove to Florida to enjoy Cocoa Beach, and last year, we went on a fantastic trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The most important part of every trip I’ve taken is the time I spent with family along the way. I cherish all of the amazing memories we created — even the ones involving snakes.
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