This past Sunday was family day for the Jacksons (minus Emily and Nick who were in Canada), and we decided that a day on the Caney Fork River (man made lake) would be perfect. Kristine was in charge of packing the picnic lunch, which consisted of Turkey and Roast Beef sandwiches, while Dane and I took care of packing the Day Trippers, fishing poles, paddles, camera, lifejackets, blanket, and picking our destination. We decided to put-in at Cotton’s Marina just across the river from our house. That way Kristine, who is quite pregnant, didn’t have to walk down the steep bank to carrying stuff to the river. Kristine, Rocksey, and I paddled the Day Tripper 12 with a Cooler full of drinks, food, and ice, as well as two fishing poles, some gear, and a camera and blanket. Dane was going to carry Rocksey in the Mini-tripper but it was better to have her in the 12.
Dane and I were paddling towards “Rock Island”, and yes, there is actually an island in the lake that the town is named after. Rock Island is about 7500 square feet in area, and about 50 feet high with vertical cliffs on three sides. There is the most incredibly perfect picnic area on the top of the island that is flat, open, no bugs, and yet has just enough tree shade to be cool for eating. Only about 20 paces from the picnic spot (this is camper style picnic area, not a public made, man made one) is the perfect jumping rock if you don’t mind a fairly high one.
We were paddling towards Rock Island and about 5 motor boats passed us and I have never seen such envy from a motor sports crowd before. I don’t know if it was having a husband, wife, dog in a boat together, with the boy paddling his own boat that got people or what, but we had people stopping to watch us and we got a few thumbs up. Whatever the case, we made it to the island in about 30 minutes and we carried the food up the island and set up the picnic. Dane and I did a few jumps and then came back to eat. It is amazing just how good food is when you eat it in a cool spot. Kristine makes the best food the world has ever seen, but put that in a setting like on top of Rock Island and you feel sorry for the king of Jordan, who has yet to eat a turkey sandwich on Rock Island, and probably never will.
Dane and I finished half a sandwich before we ran off to do some more jumps. Rocksey, our 2 year old Dalmatian, likely the smartest dog alive (she has me wrapped around her paws), would whine when we jumped off and run around to the low point, jump in and come to rescue us. Dane and I did rounds until we got tired and then finished our picnic. Kristine was enjoying being on top of this circular monument that our homeland is named after, just enjoying the sunshine and endless green waters surrounding her, and her boys doing rapid loops up the hill, off the rocks, into the water, and intercepting our faithful dog in the river below, just to do it again.
I finally decided that a backflip would be cool, but wasn’t sure if I could “stick it” from that high. I hadn’t tried one that high before. Kristine, the good wife she is, just said, “come on EJ, are you going to do a backflip or not?” and then followed up with a “I think you can stick it”. Well, I guess if there is one person that peer pressure will get the best of me it is Kristine; can’t have my bestest woman, my only woman, questioning my ability to commit. I did a backflip and I stuck it, more or less. Dane was telling me not to do it. I don’t know if he just didn’t want to feel compelled to do it if I did it, or if he legitimately didn’t think it was a good idea. I finally decided that my wife of almost 20 years was a better conscience than my 14 year old son and went for it. Upon coming back up Dane was already lined up to do it himself. He finally decided not to, but when I asked him to step aside so Kristine could take a picture of me doing it, he got back in the game. He stepped up and stuck his perfectly. Now we were doing rapid laps of backflips.
After awhile we decided it was time to go home and play around the house. Kristine carried the “Elite Seat” that she had been hanging out on down to the Day Tripper, stuck it back in and off we went.
We never busted out the fishing poles, but the fun was too easy to have just swimming, eating, chatting, and enjoying life in the sun.
We got home in time for another amazing Kristine meal, that we ate outside on our deck. Awesome.
Life is good. I still am amazed that my favorite people to play with are my own family. I am also very psyched that I love paddling my Day Trippers. They rock!