Christmas in July, Under the Evergreens

“Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Some people know that as the Scout Law. I know it as my husband. Todd is an Eagle Scout who started working for the Boy Scouts of America two days after he graduated college, more than 20 years ago.  

 There’s really not a word in the Scout Law that doesn’t apply to him. Seriously. (And, for what it’s worth, I’m grateful on a daily basis for my insanely good fortune.) But for the sake of this blog post, allow me to focus on the word “thrifty.”  

 The afternoon after I picked up the kayaks, “the boys” (Todd and our 13-year-old son) arrived at the location of our riverside rendezvous. They burst from Todd’s car to examine the kayaks – still bound to the minivan roof and looking radiant.  

 Having just returned from a week at Scout camp, Todd wasn’t so “clean.” But the guy is always thrifty. That’s why I really can’t describe the joy of watching him step back to behold his new, quality, touring kayak – a Perception Carolina 12, one he never would have purchased for himself – and the Yakima roof rack system that will make transporting all this gear a cinch. This guy lives for this stuff. But he would never justify buying it. Not when his 19-year-old canoe is still serviceable. Not when he can borrow a good roof rack when he needs one. Not when there are college funds to grow.  

 It was so appropriate that Todd unstrapped those kayaks under some towering pine trees, because it might as well have been Christmas for him. That memory, for me, will remain a highlight of winning this contest.  

Christmas under the evergreens

 Within an hour, our entire family was suited up for a two-mile kayak journey on a tidal, flat water creek that feeds Virginia’s James River.  

 Both girls delighted in having boats that, for the first time, allowed them to reach the footpegs and propel their kayaks with greater power. Even our 55-pound hound mix, an avid boater, came along for the inaugural family kayak trip. He was between my legs, in one of our older kayaks that has a gaping cockpit.  

 Todd was the last to launch and as he came gliding up behind us I heard him declare, “Love it! I love it!” I thought he was talking about our whole family being out there in kayaks. To my surprise, he was celebrating having a new, fast, smooth boat that held its line effortlessly.  

 Save your kids from nature-deficit disorder. Care to follow our example and, as Richard Louv says, “save our children from nature-deficit disorder?”  

 Here’s the kayaking gear we have and where we got it:  

  •  Two Old Town Voyagers (11’1” sturdy recreational boats with a large cockpit for easy in and out; these were our first two kayaks, thoughtfully purchased two years ago; they remain terrific boats, if a little heavy)
  • One Perception Carolina 12 (Todd’s new touring boat, 12’ long; being “thrifty,” we snapped up a demo model (gently used at 10 demo shows) and saved more than a hundred bucks)
  • One Perception Tribute 12 (I think of this new boat as “mine”; a touring boat designed for smaller paddlers, light enough for me to carry and the cockpit is lower at the hips for an effortless stroke; our nine year old can reach the footpegs in this one, however, so it’s hers until she grows)
  • One Perception Acadia Scout (designed for kids, this 10’ basic boat has a capacity of 150 pounds; it weighs only 25 lbs. and our girls were launching it and carrying it with ease; a lovely little boat the kids can grow with)
  • Assorted paddles (three Carlisle Day Trippers, one Bending Branches Sunrise and one Bending Branches Splash, a kid’s paddle, for our youngest)
  • Yakima roof system (featuring the Big Stack as well as lock cores so sketchy people don’t take the system off our car in the middle of the night; we live in a city)

 Every bit of this – old and new – was purchased at Appomattox River Company, the largest canoe and kayak specialty store in the country. These folks even sold Todd the 19-year-old canoe I mentioned in our winning wellness video. They have expert staff, great prices (cheaper than the retail prices on the hyperlinks) and they’ll cut you deals if you buy used or demo boats and/or multiple boats.  

 As always, if you enjoy this, please subscribe (top right).  

 DAYS KAYAKED: 2

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7 responses to “Christmas in July, Under the Evergreens

  1. While reading your blog today, I am nodding my head, knowing Todd and how that man deserves the kayak of his dream. But, I am nodding my head in understanding that you, Wendy, would purchase the kayak of Todd’s dream, not your own.
    Nice to read this morning.

  2. Wendy, I was gonna say something about how every word you wrote is true, and how much I wish I could have seen that Todd moment! Once upon a time, our place was “parking” for Todd’s ol’ canoe. That was pre-Wendy. Still remember him coming over right after meeting you; he was a changed, happier person! Ah, the good ol’ days. Miss you all, except the pooch whom I’ve yet to meet. Cheers, Kay

  3. I loved watching the video and so love that you won!!!! Great story.

  4. Awesome picture! Who took that?

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