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Every spring, I loved going to all the local sporting-goods stores. I wasn't a customer, I would just walk around and gaze at the wall lined with colorful kayaks. They were never within my budget, but looking never hurt anyone. How I dreamed of owning one of my own.

Garage sale weekend came late that spring and, as every normal person does, I went looking for bargains. I wasn't having much luck until I decided to go down this random street and have a look. What met my eyes was something that couldn't be called beautiful by any sane person, but it sure as heck looked like it to me! Outside this little old lady's house was a bright yellow sit-on-top kayak that I could tell had seen some years of hard use, but I fell in love with it. I looked at it, it was a simple clamshell, fiberglass design, kinda flimsy, but I couldn't have cared less. I asked the lady sitting at her card table with the cash box how much and she said "$80 to a good home" she also informed me that it came with a book on kayaking and a paddle. The paddle was faded plastic but I didn't think much of it.

What followed that was day after day of a boy running home from school, grabbing his kayak and launching in into the pond in front of his house. Now back in those days, we had a rather large, yellow barn cat that loved to follow me down to this pond with hopes that I was going fishing and he could get my catch. Everyday, he would sit there on the reedy bank and meow while I tried out every maneuver the book that came with the kayak described until one day I paddled close into shore to put her up for the day when the cat jumped right onto the bow of my little boat. Kinda wondering what he would do, I eagerly placed him behind me and took off. It wasn't the securest place for him but he seemed content.

Well right in the middle of a rather deep stroke, the sun withered plastic on my paddle decided to break, leaving me no resistance in the water and tipping the craft precariously. I stayed afloat but my passenger couldn't get a grip and went straight into the water. I was moving forward at the moment and had to paddle back to the distressed cat and tried to help it, but was only rewarded with a resounding clunk as I ran into it as it tried to find purchase to climb back on. Well it decided to give up after this and thought that swimming back to shore would be easier but that worried me. You see, we were about 50 feet from shore and I didn't think that it would make it so I grabbed for the easiest handle on the cat that I could... it's tail.

I must have looked like quite the spectacle hoisting that cat up by it's tail and into my boat. I had to deal with an unhappy and drenched cat while I made the struggle back to shore with my one-sided paddle and I coulda swore that I saw that cat hiss at me and then kiss the ground when I got to dry land, but for the rest of my childhood, that cat never followed me to that pond again.

Submitted by: Zac Stein -

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