Monday, October 13, 2008

Holy Rollers

Since Saturday had been spent playing in the woods we needed to paddle on Sunday in order to mentally prolong the paddle season. Although the weather is unseasonably warm today, its snowing in western North Dakota which means in a couple days it will most certainly be brisk in the Twin Cities area. I got a call from RonO and the ManFromSnowyLegs and we decided on a lake we all had not paddled yet this year, Lake Johanna. It is nice to be in a situation where we have literally dozens of lakes to choose from within 20 minutes of home.

Lake Johanna was pretty much deserted except for a couple guys winterizing their outboard motors. A 1966 Johnson SeaHorse brought back memories of an identical motor that the Old Man had, a motor I aspired to own as a kid before I realized that internal combustion engines hate me. That's one of the reasons that paddling has been so good for my mental health; I've never needed to be choked and its never taken more than a couple of pulls to get me going. We launched for a leisurely circumnavigation of the lake and took note of some of the ostentatious homes along the way. A number of 'private, keep out' signs were seen but in Minnesota as long as you are in navigable water and stay in it you can go anywhere you choose. The MFSL remarked that there must have been old people on the south end of the lake. They had all their water toys put away and their docks pulled up on the shore, unlike the more disorganized north end.

The most prominent feature on the lake is a peninsula and an island on which Northwestern College is located. Northwestern is a non denominational private Christian college, founded in 1902, and Billy Graham served as president in the early '50s. As we paddled around the peninsula we passed a group of guys in suits, ties, and some clerical collars. We exchanged pleasantries and one said, "Don't tip over". That prompted the good natured question from another, "Why don't you tip over and see if you can come back up?" That's all we needed. The MFSL did a C to C with his Euro blade and RonO and I did a number of greenland rolls with our skinny sticks. We received a hearty round of applause from our clergy laden audience.

The VoiceOfReason was cooking up homemade chili and cornbread and we were instructed to not show up until after 6pm. Since we were done paddling and rolling at 4:30 this necessitated a trip to Grumpys Bar to wait the required hour and a half. During the philosophical discussion that always seems to break out in establishments such as this (in between plays in the Packer game, of course), we wondered if our interaction with the clergy counted as church attendance for the day. Although no standing, sitting, kneeling, prayers, or hymns broke out, we unanimously agreed that it counted. The precedent for this ruling was TheLegends "Sermon on the Stump" philosophy, beloved by his offspring (especially JeremiahJohnstone and the ColoradoKid), which stated that if you were communing with God and nature in the woods, that a trip to mass would only interrupt that spiritual bond. Our trio agreed with that wholeheartedly and we adjourned to the VOR's chili feast full of spirituality, Guinness, and Surly Coffee Bender Porter. It was a good Sunday.

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