Now I do want to say that the names have been obfuscated by nicknames, for the protection of their privacy. My brother was a great bestower of nicknames and did indeed assign himself the moniker of “The Great Luigi” as well as the nickname of “Melvin Purvis” to our neighborhood friend. I shall not reveal the nickname that he foisted upon yours truly for a couple of reasons. The first being that it was not particularly flattering due to the typical brotherly love that exists between siblings. The second reason is that I am writing this tale and narcissistically wish to cast myself in the best possible light.
The three of us had a dream. That dream was to circumnavigate our hometown on a ship of our own making. The Great Luigi, Melvin Purvis, and yours 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. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad had been released a short ten or so years prior to our great voyage, so the whole adventurous scenario was foremost in our little pea brains. We were under no presumption that we would be battling sea monsters, skeletons, or giant two headed dodo birds, but our hopes were high that we would have some sort of adrenaline pumping experience on our voyage.
Vaughn’s creek was a local name that was associated with the creek, due to the fact that part of the creek ran through a farmer’s field owned by the Vaughn family. Mister or Missus Vaughn who owned the field at one time are now long since lost in the forensic depths of Johnstown history. The creek was one of many creeks that criss crossed our town. What made Vaughn’s unique was that it was the widest unpolluted creek as well as being the second longest, next to the aforementioned mighty Cayadutta. Fishing was plentiful here as well as the availability of crayfishes, which we would regularly spelunk for. We had no idea what to do with them when we caught them, other than to drop them down the back of some unsuspecting kids shorts for a quick laugh.
Our ship was built from four inflated car tire tubes, tied with rope to a set of rotten planks from Melvin’s garage. Hours were spent inflating the tire tubes, lashing the tubes to the planks, and then lashing the planks together with nary a thought about the fact that we would ultimately need to haul a one hundred plus pound monstrosity to the creek. We carted the contraption for approximately two miles to the headwaters of Vaughn’s Creek. Our mighty vessel was about 4 feet across and about 8 feet long, so walking through town with it resulted in more than a few wiseass 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.
Stay tuned for the third and final installment, in which our heroes risk life and limb to accomplish mighty feats of strength, wit and wisdom.