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Canoe Creek

"Oh man, that was a good story. Ole Huck Finn really knows how to have fun." Rick said as he threw the book down. "I wish we could've lived back in his days."

Rick was talking to his brother, Mac, who was always ready for an adventure.

"Yeah, let's head down to the river. Where's Luke?"

"He was on his bed, reading, a little while ago."answered Rick.

Rick was the oldest, fourteen years old. Tall, skinny, his feet were growing too fast, and his jeans were always too short.  He  knew almost everything there was to know. His brothers, Mac, twelve, and Luke, nine, thought so anyway. Rick said nothing to discourage them from the thought.

Luke called out to them, "You goin' somewhere? Wait, I'm goin' too."

The boys walked down the dirt road to the bridge, kicking up dirt with their bare feet. The well worn trail leading them down beneath the bridge to the sand. They played on, around and in the river, all summer long. They knew it well.

"Hey, let's build a good raft, not rickety like the last piece of junk that sank, and float down to the big curve, okay?", asked Rick.

The boys had talked before about floating to the big curve, but it was a far piece away, so they had never gone. Ole Huck Finn was resurrected that day though, so they felt able.

Mac and Luke were willing helpers. They gathered the old boards and dried up tree limbs that were lying everywhere. Laying the materials down on the sand to make sure they were all the same length.

Rick opened his army pocket knife and began cutting vines to tie the boards and limbs into one conveyance.

Soon, all was done. They were ready. Rick decided Luke should get on first, since he was the littlest. No other reason was given. Mac climbed on next, carefully crawling to the front of the raft. Rick took one more look at their work, saw it was still floating,and climbed up to the rear.

"Shoot! You forgot the poles Mac!"

"Luke, jump off and get those poles over there," demanded Mac. Luke grinned at being able to do something important. He entered the water with a spash and hurried to the three forgotten poles lying on the sand. Climbing back onto the raft was a risky thing. It dipped down under the water as Luke pulled himself up and sat in the middle of the thing.

It was a great day. The water was flowing just right.

The three were just floating along, having a great time, discussing literature according to Mark Twain. Hours went by. The sun was warm. All three were lying back looking at the trees slowly passing,trailing their hands in the water to cool off. An occasional fish swam by so close you could grab it. A quiet, peaceful perfect day of summer. Commaraderie abounded.

Honk! Honk! A truck!,  traffic noises. They were at the highway! At least five miles from home! Long past the big curve in the river which was their destination.

They would have gone all the way to the coast if the highway ran the same way as the river, instead of crossing it.

"Shoot!", said Rick. "Pole over to the bank! Quick!" All three poled for their lives, trying to get to the bank. After they banked the raft, Mac and Luke looked to Rick for the answer to their predicament.

They decided they had better turn around and go home.

After resting a few minutes, they all climbed back onto the raft, stuck their poles into the bank and pushed off. Rick sat at the back of the raft and tried to pole upriver. "Mac, get on this side, Luke, do that side,ready? Push! We have to all push at the same time. One, two, three, push!"

Those boys were sitting out on the water, working up a sweat, trying to get that darn raft to go upriver. They knew they were giving the people in the passing cars a good show.

It was almost dark by the time the boys stumble into the house. Hot, thirsty,hungry and more tired than they had ever been in their entire life. It was a long walk home.

"What you boys been up to all day?",asked Dad.

Rick and Mac cast their eyes to the floor, red-faced, but Little Luke piped up, "we were up the creek without a paddle, Daddy! It was fun!"