Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Following ancestors & "versing" the river

Before reaching the Mediterranean, there was this.

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.
He laughs,
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 ....
("Wheel in the Sky" by Journey is playing)


Natalie said...

I would love to ask Fram about Tortosa, but am afraid that Tortosa was much, much later, after sacking of Rome…
I will comment on your poem later – may I?

TheChicGeek said...

And what kind of mischief does Fram (maybe the last) get into when he's been cooped up all winter? That's what I want to :)
"swim with me where the river flows deeply" did you write that too? I like it.
Have a Great Day!

Katy said...

Drunk canoeing? Ice walking? You have given me a glimpse of two sports that I've never heard of before nor taken part in. I have done drunk swimming though, several times - which is probably just as wet if with a little less risk of drowning.

Fram the first sounds intriguing. You must tell us more about his adventures.

Fram said...

There are rumors to the effect the family included a few Templars, Natalie, but, yes, after the time of Fram the First.

I do want your comments about my "poem." Fair is fair. Maybe I can invent a new form.

Fram said...

Fram is preparing to launch another invasion when the ice melts and there are fair winds to fill the sails, Kelly. Who knows what mischief he might devise?

Thanks, for liking "swim with me."

Fram said...

Katy, Katy, Katy. Be careful.

Fram the First is intriguing. That is true. We shall see.

Natalie said...

As a story it is terrifying. As a poem…. Personally, I favor just this one line:
“…being a whisper away
From watery, meaningless death”…

Beautiful. Yet, if one is in the mood to discuss it further, I would ask which type of Death is …meaningful?

Fram said...

Hi, Natalie ....

I'm not in a position to "talk" right now, but if you leave another comment I will reply somewhere along the line.

Not to be philosophical or religious about it but, personally, I think dying in an effort to save another's life would be a "meaningful death."

Tell me some of the elements you did not like, if the mood so strikes you. I'm a big boy.

Magdalena said...

I'm sending much love, Dear Fram. Wonderful photo... Have a nice day :-)

Fram said...

I need a better camera, Magdalena, but the photos are good enough to bring back memories.

It always creates a happy feeling for me to know you have passed this way.

Something special ....