By Teresa Smeigh (Based on real-life story)
“Suzy and Sharon get out of the street and quit fighting. There are cars coming,” Laurel told her two daughters. “ get over here!”
The girls moved and Laurel went back to help her husband, John, get the canoe lifted over the metal fence covering the opening to the stream they were going to investigate. This was the first trip with the girls ages 7 & 8. There were with several other couples as they didn’t explore unknown creeks or streams without having someone else with them.
Finally all the canoes were over the fence and sat on a small beach ready to be loaded. The girls were lifted off the side of the road and put on the beach as well.
Once everyone was loaded, they put the 2 girls in the middle of the canoe and Laurel waded out and climbed in the front. John pushed the canoe further out and climbed inside.
Each girl was wearing a life-jacket and had a bottle of soda to keep them from begging for a drink all the time. They finally settled down and John and Laurel started paddling.
As usual Laurel steered them into the sides of the stream and the sticker pushes, logs etc. John shouted,”Laurel haven’t you learned to paddle yet? This is ridiculous!”
Just as she turned around to yell back at him they headed right into the overhanging branches of a tree and they all leaned to one side and the canoe tipped over completely. Quickly John and Laurel looked for the girls and they were floating thanks to the life jackets.
They both started laughing as their daughter Sharon was holding tightly to her soda bottle and had it over head so it wouldn’t sink. They quickly flipped the canoe back over and put their stuff that was floating around back in. They tried to put the girls back in the canoe, but they both refused and started crying that they weren’t going back into the canoe with them. The harder they tried, the harder they cried.
Finally one of their friends offered to take them. They reluctantly agreed and were lifted into the other canoe. They started on their way again with John yelling at Laurel. Laurel always said they should have divorce courts at the end of the trip as most couples weren’t speaking by the time they got to the end hours later.
Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also a devout Christian