So… it seemed like a good idea at the time when I invited my 13 and 10 year-old granddaughters to take a canoe ride around the lake with their Grand Dude (that’s me) at our Wisconsin home. It sounds innocent enough, but I learned a valuable lesson along the way… that lesson is… choose your team wisely when you embark on a project. Your choices will dramatically affect the outcome. About ten minutes into the adventure, I realized that the wind was our worst enemy and that only an experienced canoe crew would be up the battle versus Mather Nature, but we forged on. Paddling like a man trying to avoid going over Niagara Falls, I tried repeatedly to find the strength to direct our little craft directly into the wind with hopes of keeping our “quality time” together… how would you say?... together! Needless to say, the engine up front… aka the girls, had made a deal to switch positions at some undetermined point in the trek from paddler to “lounge lizard” in the center of the canoe where they could take turns reclining to pose as the Queen of the Nile as I was grunting my way to fight the breeze that continued to move us sideways toward the shore. This would have been a good time to throw in the towel and turn back… but hey, Grand Dude was captaining the craft and we were out to complete what we had set out to do… take a loop around the lake (about a 90 acre body of water that suddenly appeared as one of the Great Lakes). At long last, with much discussion, it was apparent that the on-the-job training was falling dreadfully short. My paddlers were more inclined to be passengers than crew. Some 2 hours into the wilderness experience, I wondered out loud if the rest of the family back on the shore had assembled a search party to look for us. Little did I know, that they had done just that! As we touched the shore to end this experiment in terror, we noticed that nobody was there to greet us. They had taken to the car to see where we were. Hoping to not find us in distress, they did not see us chugging along the shore in the last ten minutes of our fantastic voyage. When the family did show up, we were all wondering what happened. Let’s say this: I suggest that before engaging upon an effort that requires some specific skill, regardless of what that talent of skill may be… that perhaps a few moments of discussion may be in order. Actually, the benefit coming from this is that the girls will be getting some hands-on instruction on canoeing techniques. The truth is… I will sit in on that training myself. There is a lesson in everything we do, if we keep our eyes open.  

Where's Wayne

  • Apr 30
    Drury Lane Theatre,  Oakbrook Terrace
  • May 3
    Allstate Arena,  Rosemont
  • May 4
    The Chapel,  Mundelein
  • May 4
    Wrigley Field,  Chicago


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Wayne Messmer with Judy Roberts