Near Death Experience

We were in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains at my Grandpap’s and Dad’s camp along the Allegheny River. My Grandpap passed away in 1979 so it was just my Dad’s camp. When I was growing up we pretty much stayed there every summer even after all my Grandparents have passed away. Mom still wanted to see her sister, my Aunt and her children my 1st cousins so we still went to Pennsylvania every summer even when not seeing the Grandparents.

                One summer, I remember it clearly now as I was making fun of my cousin for being a nun as she went to private Catholic school from elementary to Catholic College. She was far from being a nun of course and she didn’t think I was very funny. I was going to Western Michigan University at the time and I think we were freshmen. I was only 7 months older than her. We still pretty much did everything together as we were pretty much stuck with each other.

                She decided wouldn’t it be fun if we went canoeing together? The tippy, dangerous canoe. Sure, why not? So she begged to be able to use the canoe and finally everyone gave in. So, the next day we would go riding in the canoe.

                I had no intention of tipping in the canoe while I think my cousin had other plans. I was dressed in sweats, shorts underneath, t-shirt underneath a sweatshirt, socks and tennis shoes. You would think it is summer since we are out of school but we got out in April and I think it was about May when we went to camp. So, it is still a bit chilly. The mind thinking summer but reality strikes. My cousin on the other hand was in a bikini and barefoot. She assured me we wouldn’t tip. Yea, right!

                We went canoeing for a while. She would tease me about tipping over and I would yell at her not to. She kept teasing me and finally I got her to quit. She must have done it silently or she really didn’t mean to tip this time. I guess I will give her the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, last I heard was, “Chrisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss” and then splash! The canoe tipped.

                She went swimming for the shore. I grabbed onto the boat before it could go down current. Everyone was out of the camp to see what had happened. Dad was really upset the canoe tipped. I think mostly for being irresponsible for it to tip. Everyone thought I would drown with all the clothes I had on. But with Dad’s help I managed to get the boat to shore.  We always had to go upstream as not to go downstream into the rapids. That’s where Dad thought we were going to go down into the rapids and no one knows what would happen then. No one really talks about that incident. Except that it was a stupid thing to do.


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