We spent the better part of an hour in that refreshingly delightful stream. By the end, each kid had slipped at least once. All three of them were now not only dirty, but wet. And happy. Completely happy.
When we got back to the canoe we had a change in paddlers. Daughter Two took up the paddle and demonstrated her impressive paddling skills. Huh. They really were learning something in canoeing class, besides the silly songs, of course. I turned to look back at Himself.
“Pretty good little paddlers, eh?”
“Ya, I noticed. Nice work you guys. You really have learned something at camp, eh?” All three kids stopped, turned, and looked back at their father.
“Of course we have Daddy!” Daughter Two scoffed at him. “We’ve learned, like, a gazillion things at camp,” she said as she shook her head in disgust and returned to her paddling.
“Ya! A gazillion,” my son echoed as he attempted to paddle.
“Oh, well, excuuuuuse me.” Himself mumbled.
We continued to hug the south shoreline as we headed back around towards the kayak docks. The bay was a busy place now with about a dozen kayakers and wind surfers dancing across the waters. We cut a wide arch through the middle of the bay as we tried to avoid the bulk of the traffic. We pulled in close to the fishing dock. The fishermen were still at it, sitting crossed legged on the edge of the dock, pitched forward, resting their chins in their hand, as they quietly monitored the activity down below. We pulled into the canoe dock and (barely) managed to get out of the canoe without capsizing it. We put the canoe, paddles and lifeys back into place and then started up the stairs towards the main house.
“To the beach now?” I asked.
Just outside the main house, Barb was chatting with a couple and she waved me over.
“Anne. I wanted to introduce you to Ted’s parents, Mr and Mrs McDonald.” Barb told me. Introductions were made all around.
“I saw Ted this morning. He looks well!” I said as I shook Mrs McDonald’s hand.
“He does indeed. Thanks to you!” Mrs McDonald gushed as she patted my hand. “I understand that if his appendicitis had not been caught in time, he might have been a very sick boy. Thank you so much.”
“My pleasure. I’m so glad it all worked out.” I said as I took her hand in both of mine.
“You can hardly tell he had surgery a day ago! The marvels of modern medicine will never cease. He’s out there with his twin brother kayaking across the lake! We tried to catch up with them, but we are just beginners. We didn’t stand a chance.” Mr McDonald chuckled. I realized that the McDonald’s were the awkward couple that Muddy and Caroline were attempting to help get into the kayaks when we paddled by in the canoe. “Thank you again and I sure hope the rest of your posting here is more restful!”
“I sure hope so. I certainly have had plenty of excitement this week. Healthy campers from now on out would be gratefully appreciated.” I smiled. “Well, we are off to the beach. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon.”
“I have to give you a hug before you go!” Mrs McDonald said and she stepped forward and grabbed me around the shoulders, pulling me in tightly. I gently hugged her back and she whispered in my ear. “May God abundantly bless you for what you have done,” her voice cracked with emotion.
I teared up immediately, of course. How sweet! A lump formed in my throat. I didn’t trust my voice to answer back, so I just nodded.
As we headed towards the beach I considered the extremes that I had experienced that day. I had gone from feeling the lowest low for missing Tim’s horrible conjunctivitis to the highest high ever by catching Ted’s appendicitis. Typical roller coaster ride that is all a part of being a nurse!