Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Ahhhhh Yes . . . .
Okay, the canoe swamps instantly, knocking me backwards off my seat and putting the both of us into the 40 degree water. My Dad is yelling for me to "Stay With The Boat!" - this must be a Navy thing, or perhaps from his years as a Scout Master. Either way, as we shot the canyon I noticed the waves were even more impressive at eye level and I envied Dad that float coat as I was not wearing a life preserver and was swallowing a fair amount of water. I did find out later that as he was bobbing along beside the stern, the canoe was twisting and tumbling below the water, thrashing his legs badly - he had the most amazing bruises that continued to surface weeks after our day in the water.
As the cold sapped my strength, my efforts to stay with the boat (and more importantly stay with my Dad to ensure his safety) became a question of survival - it occurred to me with vivid clarity that if I continued with the present course of action I was going to die, most likely in the next 60 seconds. My decision to leave the boat and my Dad and angle towards shore is surely among the toughest choices of my life. I crawled onto the rocky shoreline and watched helplessly as my Dad was swept around the bend (but still staying with the boat - did I mention my Dad is a wee bit stubborn?). I got up and began running along the shore, but the alders were thick and progress was slow. After maybe 10 minutes of frantic thrashing through the underbrush, running every worse case scenario through my head, a boat pulled alongside and brought me to where my Dad was, safe and sound and wrapped in a blanket courtesy of Sterling Emergency Services. Besides a case of mild hypothermia and the major bruising the canoe administered to my Dad's legs, we were fine. The borrowed canoe was even recovered, with both paddles, by some good-hearted fishermen downstream. The only casualties were our pride, my camcorder, and a gear bag full of clothes.
So, this is one case of my Dad always being right . . . . another great example was a couple weeks ago when we were discussing something on the phone and I mentioned something about there only being around 650,000 people in Alaska. My Dad assured me that the population of Alaska was over a million. I ventured that maybe after 17 years residency, I knew a bit about the state, and I was pretty sure it was between 6 and 700,000. My Dad calmly and with great conviction again assured me the population was over a million - where does he get this amazing confidence from? Anyways, I mumbled something about maybe him being right and left it at that.
Now, the coolest part - my Dad mentioned something that I think will change my life and will certainly become a large puzzle piece in my trail to my apex. He said I should become a pharmacist . . . . and he's absolutely right! I've been searching for something I could do where Kerri and I could travel and be assured of getting a job where ever she worked as a nurse. A pharmacist is perfect - it is a huge goal, as it is a true doctorate program requiring 6 plus years of schooling; it will always be challenging as there will always be more to learn; and it will require a move to somewhere in the United States as there are only 80 colleges offering the Pharm D degree, none of which are in Alaska, so it will be exciting choosing an state to move to after the girls graduate high school. Dad, I'm 42 years old, and you just gave me the best advice ever . . . . thank you, for always (mostly) being right . . . . I love you.
I have a friend that is a pharmacist...and she loves it....Good Luck!!!
Have a great day!!!