By Ed Baranosky
I have no memory of being held upside down by my bare feet while a sharp slap was
applied to my bare bottom. Whether I wanted to or not I was shoved into the current of the river of life in a small boat. If you don’t quickly learn to paddle the boat the current will sweep you downstream to take you over a waterfall.
You have to learn to read the river as Mark Twain did. The river has all sorts of rocks and underwater snags that will to punch holes in your boat and sink you.
As you struggle upstream you may find a quiet little cove where you can tie up to watch a beautiful sunset and reflect on your journey. Along the way you will meet other people who are going your way. If you’re lucky they may befriend you.
I was in an eddy of water at the base of roaring water flowing over boulders. The area was called the Korean Cascade. It was the scene of two events that changed the course of my boat. The first was my boat being commandeered by the army. The second was I married my life’s partner. As we portaged around the Cascade I was ordered to a place upriver called Germany. I had to leave my partner behind.
When I came back my partner was there to greet me. She had a baby girl in her arms. The years went by and there were two more baby girls in our boat. The river of life flows on. The girls grew up and found men and they left our boat to make families of their own.
A terrible storm came up and when it had passed my life’s partner was gone.
My boat is now anchored in one of those quiet coves. The fantail is facing south so I can sit in a chair with the warming sun on my body. I put my hat over my eyes and doze off. I am awakened by the boat rocking. I can hear the flapping of little feet in flip-flops and the shouts of “Papa we’re here.”