Fram the First was an avid tourist ....
Sometimes it is a bit embarrassing to admit ancestors were less than perfect, but eventually it is best to reveal the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Fram the First was less than perfect. There, I said it. Now, we will move along to the next item on today's agenda.
What? You're asking me in what way he was not perfect? Oh, I suppose I can tell you.
He was with a group of guys who raided Sarzana way back when. Yes, they did the usual amount of burning and looting. What do you expect Norwegians, Swedes and Danes would do after being cooped up all winter in an era before the age of televisions and personal computers? A guy can practice his swordsmanship only so long before going a little goofy.
What? Yes, fine. I'll tell you everything. They thought it was Rome they were sacking, not Sarzana. So, they got lost and were a little confused. They were only a few hundred miles off course. No one is perfect, you know. They still came home with a ship full of gold and Italian girlfriends, didn't they?
And, yes, before the Mediterranean and Rome ... I mean before Sarzana ... they did do a float up the Seine River and they did do a little damage in Paris. So what? That's what guys did back then to earn a buck.
Was Fram the First involved in any other mischief, you ask?
I will have to look at his other travel journals before I can answer that question. I'll get back to you.
Swim with me where the river flows deeply ....
The moment has arrived. Not since I was a college boy have I tried expressing myself in verse. I am not certain if this would qualify even as free verse. Probably not, but it at least tells another true tale. Think of this as a story told in column form, rather than in paragraph form.
A nearly identical event to this had taken place only a month or two earlier on Lake Superior. The "dummy" on that occasion was in the second canoe on this trip. After this, I banned liquor from my canoe trips until camp was set for the night. Two strikes were enough.
The canoe spills,
not by accident,
but by drunkenness,
and down the river we go.
I love it,
and swim with the current.
But dummy cannot swim.
The other idiot, me,
did not think to ask.
He is under, then up, choking.
He grabs the rope I trail behind,
clinging to it for his life.
I know I am smiling.
I should not be, but I am,
I am one with the river now.
I catch the canoe and pass it
and grab onto it, pulling, towing.
The current finally is cut.
I slap dummy around and curse him
after I get him to shore.
too drunk to know he has been a whisper
from watery, meaningless death,
from killing the both of us.
The other canoe rescues my fishing gear.
I had known my priorities,
and tied my own life vest to it.
I lost my grandfather's sweatshirt, though.
It still rests, I know, beneath fast, deep water,
one with the Escanaba River now.
Music Note: Listening to a classic rock station on the radio ....