Calapooia Dental - June 2019

Taming the Santiam REMEMBERING MY FRIEND JOSH AND OUR RAFTING JOURNEY

Brian R. Summers DMD, PhD Patrick V. Hagerty, DMD

L ike many kids who grew up in the Willamette Valley, I have quite a few rafting stories (and scars) from the summers I spent taming the rapids. When I was 10 years old, my mom, stepdad, and I, along with my friend Josh, loaded up for a day of rafting down the Santiam River. Josh and I shared a raft, and I have great memories of us flipping over into the cool water, navigating through the rough waters, and watching the salmon run up the river. It was a near-perfect day spent on the river. Near the end of our trip, I decided to look over the front edge of the boat. Within seconds, I flipped over the front of our raft, and the boat glided over me. My 10-year- old body struggled to push the boat off of me as I swung my legs wildly in a panicked search for the river bottom. I held my breath and struggled to free myself for what felt like minutes, but thankfully, I had a smart co-captain. Josh was able to push and maneuver the raft away from me, and just a few seconds after tumbling out of our boat, I was back aboard, soaking wet and laughing with my best childhood friend. Within the next 100 feet, we were docked on land, relaying the story to my parents. Looking back, I was lucky enough to be wearing a life jacket when I went overboard, and if anything, that venture off the front of the boat has taught me the importance of water safety. I always hated wearing one as a kid, but I learned a valuable lesson that day. However, now as a parent, I can’t help but be bewildered that two 10-year-olds were trusted to be the co-captains of their own vessels, conquering the wild rapids of the Santiam. Times certainly have changed, and sometimes it’s a wonder my generation survived our childhood! But the part of this trip that sticks out to me the most is the memories I made with Josh. My summers were frequently spent

Calapooia Courier June 2019

at his house while his sister babysat us, and I often think of his family as my second family. It was a comfort to spend my days at Josh’s house just playing, laughing, and getting into the ridiculous antics all kids get into when they’re growing up, especially when my parents were going through their divorce. happened. Josh died when he was just 20 years old, and his passing was a tragic event for his family and our friends. I will always value the time I spent with Josh, laughing, growing, and playing. I still remained close to Josh’s family; his brother even married my wife and I! As rafting season picks up here in Oregon, I’m often reminded of that day with Josh, battling the Santiam River. It’ll always be a special day in my heart, but I am forever grateful for all the memories I have of growing up with a friend like Josh. -Dr. Brian Summers “I WILL ALWAYS VALUE THE TIME I SPENT WITH JOSH, LAUGHING, GROWING, AND PLAYING.” For me, these memories are even more special today, given what has since

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