Dating Marie

Marie in North Carolina during one of our many outings

Marie and I first met in 1978. I think what mutually attracted us to each other from the onset was sharing interests in such activities as dancing and the outdoors. In fact, the most pleasant memories I have of her involve some sort of outdoor activity ó camping, fishing, boating, etc.

One of our first outings together was a trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park with Marieís sister, Nancy, and her husband, Tom. Marie and Nancy decided they wanted to treat me to a canoe trip up the river. Understand, at this point, I didnít know either of these women very well, so I didnít know what to expect. The game plan was that I would sit in the middle and the two sisters would sit at each end of the canoe and paddle. My responsibility was simply to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

What was about to happen would be my first clue of what to expect as our relationship grew. Initially, they each climbed aboard facing one another and attempted to paddle. Problem was that when they  dropped their oars in the water, they both stroked on their right, which meant they were propelling toward each other on opposite sides of the canoe, causing us to rotate in the water. Around and around we went. Iím not sure exactly when the laughter broke out, but the next fifteen or twenty minutes were hilariousÖsome of the funniest I have ever experienced. They couldnít seem to get it together, trying to figure out who should paddle forward and who should paddle backward. The turmoil, confusion, frustration, and inability to communicate to each other that followed would easily have been the envy of the masters themselves Ė the Three Stooges. Actually, it was more like a Keystone Kops routine. Somehow in the midst of all the mayhem , they managed to position themselves back to back, both facing out from what they each perceived to be the bow of the canoe. Once again they began paddling in opposite directions and, once again, we just spun around and around, never getting more than twenty or thirty yards from the shoreline. The more they tried to coordinate their actions, the worse it got. Eventually, I managed to persuade them to allow me to paddle us ashore.

I canít remember if we ever did canoe further up the river that day or not, but there is one thing of which I am certain. That day set the pattern. For the next nineteen years, Marie would continue to steer  me in circles.


Family Stories