The three of us had a dream. That dream was to circumnavigate our home town on a ship of our own making. The Great Luigi, Melvin Purvis, and your’s truly came to the conclusion that the only way we could accomplish this goal was to build a great sailing ship and travel the length of Vaughn’s Creek. Analogies were later drawn to the homeward voyage of Odysseus to claim his kingly heritage in Ithaca.
The ship was built from four inflated car tire tubes, tied with rope to a set of rotten planks from Melvin’s garage. We carted this contraption for approximately two miles to the headwaters of Vaughn’s Creek. This mighty vessel was about 4 feet across and about 8 feet long, so walking through town with it resulted in more than a few wise ass comments from the locals. “What are you morons doing?”, “Look at those dumb asses!!” and the quintessential “Get off my lawn you little bastards!” followed us everywhere we went.
We finally got to our launch point and gently eased her majestic prow into the flowing waters. Getting all three of us balanced on this thing was probably a lot like you would expect. Let me just summarize and say that, we were more than a little wet and muddy by the time we waved adieu to the frogs and bees inhabiting the grass along the bank. Soon we were to experience three challenges that would forever change us.
Our first challenge involved battling a swarm of sea monsters. In some spots, the creek was barely wide enough to let us through. So in these spots we had to wade into the water and push the vessel through the crevasse. Let me just say right here, that removing a leach from your testicles is not an easy task. As it turned out, not only were there trouts and other fishes inhabiting these waters, there were Lots O’ Leaches.
Our second challenge involved the Clashing Rocks of Grecian mythology. Fitting three little kids on a raft through a culvert is like stuffing your mother-in-law into a girdle. At one point there was about a 4.1 foot diameter pipe that went under the road and our raft was 4 feet wide. So we sorta slithered and pushed the vessel through the mossy sludge that covered the bottom. It felt the way you would expect, as our shorts were filled with globs of goo that smelled like baby diarea.
After cleaning out our shorts, the final challenge involved us facing the Cyclops that guarded the creek. The cyclops took the form of Cutey Kumpage’s old man, who was under the demented opinion that he owned a certain section of the creek. The old man was like most anally retentive old bastards, in that he took meticulous care of his lawn and the surrounding environs. In this case, the surrounding environs included Vaughn’s creek which bordered said lawn on one side. Fortunately for us, we were halfway down the side of his lawn before he realized that we were there, and charged us with a garden rake. The Oxford rowing team could have learned a few new tricks that day by watching an instant replay.
Forty plus years later I would learn that the raft still existed and was hidden way in the back of Melvin’s parents’ garage. Why he had retained this monstrosity, I have no clue. It may be that Melvin thought that one day he would want to relive the experience by a repeat voyage. My suspicion is that some day, I will see this thing show up on an episode of Hoarders.