Another generation of paddlers

Third-Gen.  I guess that’s what I’ll call granddaughter Margeaux now, the third generation of paddlers in my family.  She had been out once before, but that was three years ago on a short excursion with her younger sister, parents and I on a small lake in Manchester, CT.  Boredom set in quickly that day.

This time it was the real deal, no boredom involved.  A month shy of her ninth birthday, she got to go paddling on her own with Grandpa.


Photo by John Messier

She had her own seat in the front of a tandem canoe, her own paddle, and her own responsibility for helping the boat move forward.  She filled the seat, worked the paddle, and handled the responsibility well.

The occasion was an evening excursion with some of my friends from Paddle Killingly, a loose amalgam of leisurely paddlers from eastern Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

We were out for a bit over two hours and covered about four miles in the harbor at Mystic, CT.  Margeaux paddled nearly the whole time and on the way back insisted on trading paddles with me so she could use my double-bladed version.  She needs one like that of her own, that’s for sure.  She kept the boat moving and I added a few strokes and did some steering with her small, child-sized paddle.

I had rigged a chair in the middle of the boat, anticipating I might have a bored, tired


The name of this boat drew snickers of course.

passenger on my hands at some point, but she used it only a couple times to take short  breaks and grab a snack.

The rest of the time she was up in that bow seat, paddling.  I could feel the boat move at her every stroke.   We pushed against a breeze and incoming tide to the outer end of Mystic seaport and then back to the launch near Interstate 95.

We paddled past a lot of very large boats and went under an open-trestle railroad bridge just in time for a very loud Amtrack train to go roaring through about ten feet above our heads.  That was a little unnerving!

We didn’t get to see the huge counterweights of the quaint, 100-year-old drawbridge on Mystic’s Main Street  in action because of what looked like a mechanical problem, but we did  witness the opening of the long swing bridge that carries passenger rail traffic across the water between Groton and Stonington.

Margeaux says she had a good time.  I know I did and I was pretty sure she was enjoying herself.  The only boredom was on the drive there so she kept busy with the paper and pen I had in the car.IMG_5941c

The end of a paddle is never the most fun time of course, with all the trips from the water’s edge to the car with the boat and all the gear.  After all the hauling and as I was finishing up the ropes holding the canoe to the trailer I noticed Margeaux had retired to her car seat and closed the door against the slight evening chill.

I figured she was just tired out and in fact might be falling asleep already.  But when I got into the driver’s seat she handed me this:img_5938c.jpg

She did fall asleep on the way home, but in a most adult manner.  After dinner at Angie’s Pizza with a few of my paddling friends it was nearly 10 pm when we headed for home and turned on the GPS so she could call her mom with an ETA.  She was asleep shortly after that.  She kept my phone in her lap and I heard the alarm on it go off about five minutes before we arrived home.  She had set it.  By the time we pulled into the driveway she was awake and ready to walk inside and hit the bed.

Well done, Margeaux!  Here are some photos of your mother in the same boat:

And some more photos from your trip…IMG_5914cIMG_5920cIMG_5930cIMG_5344cIMG_5310cIMG_5923c


About Ron Haines

Find me at
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Third-Gen

  1. paul bannister says:

    Yolu should be ashamed, making an eight year old haul you about like some indolent Turkish pasha. And, her handwriting’s better than yours. (Not to mention her grammar and overall journalistic skills).

    Was interested to see Mystic – never been there – as I once played against Mystic River Over-35s in a rugby final in New York. We saw them play the previous day, and they looked like gods to our tired (hungover) selves and when we heard they hadn’t lost a game for two years, we made resolve…. no booze that night, a trip to a sauna and an early night. We beat them easily, 35-3, I recall. Anyway, we traded rugby jerseys, and in the usual way of it, theirs, a blue and white stripey thing, went to one of the youth rugby team I coached.

    His mother called me a month or more later to say he had hardly had it off his back, and had even attended his senior prom wearing it.

    stay safe.




  2. Linda says:

    What a cutie she is, and it sounds like you can be justifiably proud. Great job, Margeaux.


  3. Peggy Peterson says:

    “Dear Ronald,“ is my favorite part of the story! Love to you both. What a great adventure!


  4. Chas says:

    Great story to introduce the next generation to the outdoors.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s