Oct 3 2012 7:52 pm
He was a large man with a white beard, I suppose not unlike Santa Claus but less jolly. He wore a new red Tom Raper RV mesh backed baseball hat, a blue flannel shirt, and brand new deep blue denim overalls.
He was a pilot and a flight instructor in single engine airplanes but not anymore. He was also learning how to fly helicopters but then he crashed one during his final lesson to become a certified helicopter flight instructor. He had trouble getting into and out of the boat, perhaps from the helicopter crash. I don’t know that for sure but it seems like it could be true.
It was the end of the day and we were floating down the wide, slow river and the maple trees were yellow and orange and red and there was no wind and we were the only ones on the river and I wasn’t rowing, just drifting and there were some birds singing a little bit and you could hear the water running through some of the log jams and it was warm in the sun.
He had a deep, sonorous voice, a beautiful voice, and he sang softly here and there throughout the day, just little snippets of songs mostly, but as we were slowly drifting down the river at the end of the day through the bright maple trees he started to sing again. He sang out in his full baritone, “Were you there, when they crucified my Lord?” He sang it slowly and it was beautiful. And I’m not exactly what you’d call a spiritual man but a beautiful song is a beautiful song and this guy could sing.
And so we drifted and he sang slowly and Jesus got all the way laid in his tomb and he was just about to get raised up when a big dog came tearing down the far bank barking as loudly and as fearsomely as he could. The man didn’t stop singing and the dog didn’t stop barking. And then someone up on the hill started yelling at the dog to “shut up” and to “get back up here” and he was screaming at this dog and the dog was barking and our man was still singing and it was all quite disorienting and I started to push on the oars a little bit to get us down river.
The man continued to sing and he jumped up an octave to really belt out the last three “trembles” and he held the last one with some vibrato high and loud and the dog was still barking and the person up on the hill was still screaming and I was pushing us faster and faster.
For the last line of the song the man dropped down to his original baritone and sang it slowly and held the last note until it faded to a whisper and then he stopped and it was quiet in the boat but the dog was still barking and the person on the hill was still screaming and I was still pushing the boat down the river.