A couple of years ago, we were sitting around the dining table, after an evening long meal, in an old cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere. The door opened, and a woman in a translucent orange negligee draped with braziers and prosthetic breasts danced through the room, singing and twirling out the other end of the cabin back into the night.
We were dumbstruck. We looked at each other, not knowing what to think or to say, until we all broke down in gales of laughter.
The nymph was Alyce, one of our canoe crewmates. Alyce, who blew by us on the highway as if we were standing still. Alyce, who gives her all in the boat, exploding on each stroke as if there is no tomorrow. Alyce, who is generally regarded as a force of nature, despite being under five feet high, petite of build, and over eighty years old.
Last year, Alyce could not paddle with us due to some heath issues, including a shoulder operation. She didn’t know if she would ever paddle again.
Last night, we set up a ladder so that Alyce could climb down into the boat. We paddled about gently, went through a series of stretches, put in some resistance sections and some start sequences, and then hammered down the full course flat out. Alyce never missed a stroke.
Alyce, our wonderful matriarch, is back! My heavens, how I love that woman.