The Booze Canoes {or it must be St. Paddy’s Day}

If you want to test a relationship, go canoeing.

I’m serious. I see it happen (and live it) every year. That fine line between this is the most lovely, relaxing day with my significant other and I’m going to kill him.

We have a lovely, near pristine piece of old Florida not far from our home. Far enough that I can’t hear the traffic, the constant hum of air conditioners, and the whirl of sirens. Close enough that we still get emergency cell phone service (in case we are eaten by an alligator or bear) and only have a twenty minute drive home.

Each St. Patrick’s Day we gather with a large group of friends from Hubby’s soccer team and our local English pub for the St. Paddy’s Day Paddle.

The jello shots start at 9 a.m.

Yes, I know. But in pre-kid days, it used to start earlier — as in everyone meet at 8 a.m. for a few beers, but most of us are too old for that now.  And it really does help with whole relationship thing. A little liquor tends to tune down the urge to throw your spouse or significant other overboard.

A  pack of 12 to 20 canoes gather annually for this 8 mile river run. From families to single swearing Scotsmen still drunk from the night before, it’s a diverse bunch.  Some paddlers have experience. Some don’t know which end of the paddle goes in the water. Those are the guys who drink the most. And tip the most.  And are the most entertaining to watch.

Steering a flimsy fiberglass boat through alligator-infested waters is enough to make some people nervous. Add in hairpin twists and turns, dark water riddled with underwater obstructions which can snag and dunk you, and swampy shoals where you can easily run aground, and the REAL fun begins.

Someone has to steer. Someone has to navigate and listen. And when do couples ever work in such harmony?

Shouts echo down the river.

Why didn’t you tell me we were going to hit a log?

Steer right, right, no your OTHER right! {crash}

Ackh! Spiderweb, you steered me into a giant spiderweb!

Watch the damn water, and stop trying to catch jello shots!

You DO NOT jump and lean in the boat when we see a gator. 

What do you mean you forgot the toilet paper? Am I supposed to use a leaf?

If you tip us, so help me God, you will be sleeping on the couch until NEXT YEAR’S paddle.

Paddle faster. Paddle faster!  I hear banjos… {Not really, but I did find a teen serenading three girls with an acoustic guitar.}

Usually, if a couple survives the comedy of errors, their relationship is bound to last. Canoeing should be a part of mandatory premarital counseling, a mini-Survivor, where only the strong-willed and strongest relationships will make it off the island and down the isle. Everyone bickers, from couples just dating to those who have persevered through decades of marriage.

During those moments when things are under control, it’s an absolutely lovely day.  No noise but bird calls, frog croaks, and the breeze blowing through towering cypress trees.  Over the years we’ve spotted otters, snakes, alligators, zillions of water birds, wild turkeys, and resting turtles along the Wekiva River. Deer and black bears frequent the area also, but we’ve yet to spot one along the river (I’m guessing the banging boats and wild Englishmen’s swears scare them away).

Our St. Paddy’s Day tradition — booze, canoes, and wilderness. What could possibly go wrong?

8 thoughts on “The Booze Canoes {or it must be St. Paddy’s Day}

  1. ByWordsMusings

    Oh i just love this … but not so sure my hub and i would canoe very well as a team … but if i sat in the back he wouldn't notice i was letting him do all of the work right?

  2. Julia

    Sounds like a blast! Loved the pictures too! What a great day! Wish I lived closer to FL- I'd beg to join you next year! (I promise I'm not a stalker) 🙂

  3. Pish Posh

    And this is why I kayak, in non-alligator infested waters. I've seen too many couples bickering and then get eaten by alligators.

    But I sure love canoeing 🙂

  4. kelleysbreakroom

    That sounds like so much fun! I love "paddle faster, paddle faster, I hear banjos". That is awesome. I am on my way to Florida this weekend for a funeral. 🙁 I will be thinking of you as we drive past those swampy areas of your beautiful state. It's a road trip from Houston to Jacksonville with me, my parents, my grandmother and a family friend. I'm leaving my boys and husband behind. Sorry to put a damper on a post that you linked for #findingthefunny. It made me smile! I needed that!

  5. Melissa

    Sounds fun! I almost killed me EX while we were kayaking in Monterrey Bay. He steered us into a buoy that was being used by a sea lion for sun bathing purposes. The sea lion freaked out and jumped into the water right under our kayak and almost tipped us over. Those things are HUGE up close and I did not need to be that close to an 800 pound wild animal. Hence, the EX…. Jello shots would have made the adventure more tolerable. 🙂
    My recent post F-R-R-R-iday!


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