At our wedding (coming up on two years ago), Brangien and I asked that people not give us any gifts. Our reasoning was that we had two houses full of stuff and we were moving into one house and more stuff was counter-productive to our goal of combining our stuff. Our mantra was something like, “your presence is your present.” The truth can be corny, but now we find ourselves happily settled and “unstuffed”.
Somewhat surprisingly, most people played by this rule. However, a few rule breakers gave us great, unexpected gifts. One gift came in the form of a note from Brangien’s Aunt Candida and Cousin Walker, offering us a canoe. Earlier in the year Brangien’s Uncle Cary died in an accident at his new home in Montana. Cary was a lover of the outdoors and a fantastic guy by all accounts (he and I never met). Candida and Walker’s note still sits on our desk, telling us that Cary’s beloved canoe awaits us at a neighbor’s houses in Stevensville, Montana (near Missoula), for when we have time to pick it up.
This past weekend we attended Bruce’s retirement in LA (that’s Brangien’s dad and Cary’s brother). Bruce said something to me about how all the digital photos that we take tend to disappear and never get viewed. Printed photos, on the other hand, had a way of ending up in photo albums that sat on tables and, over the years, were revisited and enjoyed. That got me to thinking about the canoe, which until now has been a bit of an abstraction, like a digital photo that someone snaps at a family event, shows you on a tiny screen, but which then travels off into the ether never to be seen again. So, before Cary’s canoe pixelates any further in my brain I figure I’ll try to complete its trip from Montana to Washington.
It’s been nearly two years and we haven’t yet found the time to travel to Montana. One issue is we don’t have a rack on our van for carrying a canoe. Another issue is that it’s tough to escape for a 16-hour-there-and-back weekend drive. These are both surmountable obstacles, but a simpler solution may be to see if we can find an adventuresome soul(s) already headed from the Missoula area to Seattle in a truck or vehicle with a rack that could carry a full-sized canoe. We would pay for round trip gas (note: free gas!) and you’d help bring Cary’s canoe to its new home in Seattle. Interested? Let me know …
4 thoughts on “The Canoe”
the voicemail was so moving it makes me ache to drive the bloody canoe even though I’m not anywhere near Montana
Thanks, Jean! I never did get to talk to or meet Cary, but Brangien always talked so highly of him when we were first dating and was excited for us to meet. She asked me to save that voicemail she had on her phone because she loved the sound of his “kind voice.”
What a fun thing to hear Cary’s voice after so long! I do miss him and the enthusiastic energy that he always seemed to have. I’m sorry that I know nothing of where the canoe has ended up. It may yet be found… I hope so.
Denelle (Hamilton, MT)
Thanks, Denelle! Well, we waited quite a while before attempting to pick it up so we’re partly to blame. Hopefully we’ll locate it’s whereabouts in the coming day.