The Great Swamp Calamity

The Big Rubber Boat
The Little Rubber Boat.  I believe The Titanic was safer.

Life is a comedy.  I say so all the time.  What would I have to write about if Life didn’t occur?  That’s why sometimes you shouldn’t fight the opportunity to go on an adventure.  Even if all the signs are pointing in the opposite direction.

The sign-up sheet said that space was limited.  So, when I called last minute to get my family and me on the list to go on a guided 3-hour kayak paddle in the biggest swamp in New York, I was a bit worried.  But the nice woman who answered the phone said that as long as we had our own kayaks and $56, it wouldn’t be a problem.  56 dollars?  Man, this is going to be good.

Or so I thought.

  1. The day started with only one alarm going off…the one in my head.  10 minutes before we had to leave.  We had 3 clocks set.  Somehow they all malfunctioned.  The ultimate “stay in bed” sign from above.
  2. When our tour guide showed up late and exited her vehicle, I swore I heard banjo’s dueling in the forest.  Could it have been the men’s bathing suit trunks she was sporting or the missing teeth?  Her Nina Blackwood voice or the Cigarette Eau de toilette that fragranced her?  I’m worried The Kid may have permanent damage from second hand smoke based on just the stench permeating from this woman’s skin.
  3. Her side-kick, who wasn’t going on the paddle with us because she was about 6 foot 7 in flats and “couldn’t fit” into a kayak on a good day, pulled up in a mini-van packed solid with them.  One sticking out of every orifice.  I was reminded of an overstuffed cigar box on wheels.
  4. The minute I realized that we may have just misspent nearly 60 bucks is when our Official Tour Guide (OTG) started blowing up her kayak with a bicycle pump.  That realization was confirmed when she entered the water with half a paddle.  Her side-kick referred to it as a “Q-tip.”  I was not amused.
  5. When asked of our OTG where the swamp led to, the answer was — in her scratchy, smokey man-voice — “I don’t know.”  You don’t know?  This swamp runs 60 miles and has about a billion fingers to explore.  Kayakers have been known to get lost here.  Again, a scene from “Deliverance.”  I was expecting a mountain man to jump out at any moment.
  6. Our 3-hour tour lasted an hour and a half.  Why cut short?  OTG’s rubber dingy got caught up on a beaver’s dam forcing us all to turn around.  I should feel blessed.  At least at that point, we had the possibility of getting out of there without being the breaking story on the evening news.

A good friend of mine who has an inspirational Facebook page (Soul~Full at — posted the following this morning.  And I couldn’t sum it up better myself.


Regrets?  Absolutely not.  That memory will stay with us forever.  We got a lot of laughter mileage out of it.  What could be better than that?  Well, perhaps a refund.  I really could use a new pair of jeans.

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