The Basket Lady
Somehow, things got a little mixed up and the Basket Lady was left out of last week’s column. Several friends called and wanted to know “what’s up” and after a good laugh, we came to the conclusion that it’s always better to just go with the flow.
Several weeks ago, the Androscoggin River was flowing and about 35 brave souls showed up on a misty overcast morning to kayak, canoe, or catch a pontoon ride for the third annual 12-mile River Run, (we didn’t actually run on the river.). BasketLady was hoping that she’d meet up with another “chicken” and we’d canoe just four miles downriver starting at the Madison boat ramp then meet up with the other folks at the Polar Bear Clubhouse. Drats! No such luck!
Jim Rinaldo said the group was at the Hanover boat ramp waiting for me. Drats, again! It was too late now to lose face so off I went with both knees knocking. I can swim if I have to but I’m definitely not a skilled canoe/kayak person. I’ve paddled a canoe three times in my life on Worthley Pond but usually, I’m the one that’s up-the-creek without a paddle (if you get my drift).
Basket Lady felt bold on this particular day after two months of being cooped up with a nagging bronchitis that brought out the daredevil in me.
The group was standing in a circle at the Hanover boat ramp going over directions or something about what to do if your canoe capsizes; important stuff that I’m sure I needed to know.
I had an orange noodle clutched tightly in my hands and it must’ve looked like I was already in the water clinging to it for dear life as 35 folks turned to look at the two-legged green frog wearing an emerald life jacket too snug to fit around my ribs. They must’ve sensed my discomfort (another word for fear), when Bob Duplessie strolled over toward me as if on cue and asked, “You brought your orange noodle to a paddling event?”
“Yes, I did. It’s bright orange so if the canoe capsizes, I’ll see it floating around and I’ll grab it and hang on till someone comes to rescue me.”
That brought laughter from the group but I didn’t mind because I felt safe with the orange noodle. Bob smiled and yelled over to Todd, “'you’ve got a passenger now. Don’t be in the back reading a book while you’re telling her to paddle faster at the front of the boat and don’t try any funny stuff like trying to tip the canoe over,”’ he joked.
The Hope Association had a fun group on the pontoon and naturally, Ms. Donna kept Glen Laliberty and Kim Sequoia in stitches as they laughed their way down the river even when the pontoon got stuck between rocks- there was just more laughter until they got the pontoon going again.
Basket Lady enjoyed her first River Run and Todd was as patient as a saint as he tried to teach me how to paddle a canoe and something about eddying that seemed to be fun but I didn’t understand how he wanted me to paddle backwards; that’s another lesson for next year.
With heartfelt thanks to the following sponsors: River Valley Growth Council, River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, Androscoggin River Watershed Council, and the Mahoosuc Land Trust, for providing us with canoes/kayaks, pontoon, Carrie Rinaldo’s homemade chocolate chip and sugar cookies, as well as grilled hot dogs and hamburgers cooked to order and greatly appreciated by all.
Basket Lady presented a basket of McIntosh apples to Mr. Bruce, the van-man.
Just in case you’re wondering, this week’s column is about facing our fear(s); and I was determined to confront my fear of the unknown. I left the orange noodle at the Hanover boat ramp and took my chances with the green lifejacket and Capt. Todd. It truly does take courage to deal with fear-however; it’s so very empowering and buoys one’s self-esteem.
Mark Twain expressed courage this way: Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear- not absence of fear.
Jonathan Berkleigh did a Wikipedia search and sent an e-mail letting me know that there’s a World Kindness Day and it’s in November on the 13th each year-which is nine days after Dot Sanchases birthday (November 4th). What a fantastic coincidence! I’ll be looking into that a bunch more very soon.
The following everyday earthly angels have shown a kindness in word or deed and are a constant reminder of the heavenly angels present in our lives: Matt and Pam Kaubris, Devin, Brian’s Bistro, Lisa Cormier, Steve Potter, Hannaford Store mgr., Becky, Hannaford Pharmacy, Maura Kent, Penny angel, Joyce, Kevin and Casey Saisi, Justin, Mexico Pizza Hut, Lori Roberts, Sandra Witas, Patty Duguay, Barbara “Jean” Smith and Jonathan Berkleigh.
Kindness not only counts but it adds up! We miss your kindness every day, dear Dot Sanchas!
Until then, smile and live in the present; and know that you are a lion-let your courage roar.