“We want to take a canoe trip down the Cahulawassee, and we’d like for our cars to be in Aintry when we get there day after tomorrow.”
“A canoe trip?” he said, looking back and forth between us.
“That’s right,” Lewis said, narrowing his eyes a little. “A canoe trip.”
—Deliverance, by James Dickey
Everybody showed up except Jasper and Homer and off we go on the annual eighth grade two-day rafting trip.
In Lurlene’s truck you’ve got Old Burrell in the front passenger seat and in the back you’ve got a bunch of food and drinks … and Winx. Let that sink in.
Winx is riding in the principal’s truck on twisting country roads and brain-numbing highways to south Tennessee for a couple of hours or so. I can just imagine what’s going on in the brain of Winx. I’d imagine he’s very worried that when Old Burrell falls asleep that certain biological activities will ease their way out of the southern-most orifice of Old Burrell and fill the vehicle. I’d imagine that the trapped Winx is also very worried that Lurlene will preach to him the gospel of good behavior for two hours or so while he’s wedged in her back seat next to the cases of bottled water and oatmeal-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip health bars. I’d imagine that Winx is wondering if he jumped out of the vehicle how badly it’ll hurt when he runs into the woods to freedom on two broken legs. But I can’t speak for Winx so all that’s conjecture.
I know what’s accurately on my mind, though. Why Winx would have snuck into The Cozy Room of Learning and pulled the head off of my original chicken. He fried himself. Winx was bragging about it and forget another teacher was nearby and teachers talk to each other. So that’s sort of on my mind as I’m driving behind Lurlene, who likes her accelerator, and I became mesmerized with trying to make a phrase of words from the three alphabet letters on her tag. I was amazed that everything I came up with was irreverent, cheeky, impertinent, and moderately profane.
I hippy named Murphy was the guide of our raft, number 806. In the raft was Irving, Beauregard, Claude, Benny, and Dill. We had several miles of class one-to-three rapids ahead of us. Since Beauregard and Benny started bickering before we nudged our raft into the water, I honestly wondered what I would do if they would have fallen out of the raft in a few minutes and were being sucked under and they were holding their hands up out of the water for a responsible adult to reach down to save them.
At one point, Murphy, who was pretty much in charge of our lives, and had been the ultimate professional during entrances and escapes from angry sections of the Ocoee River called Flipper, Broken Nose, and Table Saw, asked me, because I was sitting in the back of the raft near him and I was their teacher, do those two up there constantly argue. They have really been going at it, Murphy observed. Accurately.
I told Murphy they constantly bicker. Yes, they do. All day. I told Murphy that those two also bickered at each other all day just this past Friday while we were on a field trip to Six Flags. I emphasized to Murphy the words, Six Flags. I emphasized some more words to Murphy: Can you believe it?
Murphy said, Dude, you must be a payyyy-tient man.
I allowed my awesome silence to communicate to our long-haired river guide of raft number 806 the response to his comprehensive observation.
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