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Splish, Splash I was Takin' a Paddle

My daughter and I were paddling a local lake that is primarily surrounded by undeveloped parkland. Typically paddlers stick close to the shoreline hoping for a glimpse of the local wildlife; deer, fox, raccoon, river otter, muskrat, beaver, heron and the occasional osprey. The shore is usally overgrown and the brush hangs over the water at least three feet.

We were paddling about ten feet away from the brush and suddenly heard a great deal of splashing under the brush, much like a dog cavorting in the water. Since we were in parkland which was pretty densely wooded and several miles from the nearest road, it didn't seem that what ever it was would be the family pooch retrieving a stick. A couple of quick strokes and we left it behind.

"Dad, what was that"?, she asked.

"Probably a rabid wolf or a carnivorous beaver", ol' Dad playfully replied.

She immediately went out about 50 feet from shore. The thrashing and splashing seemed to be following us along the shoreline. I stayed close in but could never catch site of whatever it was.

A few hours later, after a nice break on a sandy beach we were strapping the boats to the rack when a good ol' boy and his son came in to the boat ramp and began taking their bass boat out.

Having never met a stranger, my daughter goes over and strikes up a conversation. "Hey there, anything biting out there today?"

"Nope, not much, got us enuf' crappie to make a mess for dinner". (pull on beer, spit some terbacky) (Crappie is the local term for brim)

"We heard a lot of racket under the brush along the shore, did you hear it and do you have any idea what it was"?

"Yep, that 'ud be carp making babies, they shore do go at it don't they"! (Toothless grin, pull on beer, spit terbacky)

Visions of "Deliverance", we quickly left!

Submitted John Adams - Charlotte, NC

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