Row, Row, Row Your Boat

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes a picture is worth a few questions. Like, who are these two people in the little rowboat? Where was this? And why?

Herb & Karen, c1965

In case you don’t recognize us, that is my dad and me, sometime in the early-mid 1960s, floating on Grandpa Schumm’s farm pond east of Willshire.

I have no idea why my dad and I were in this little boat. Neither one of us could swim. It wasn’t my idea and as I recall, my dad had to do a lot of talking to get me out onto the water.

And who was I waving at? Probably the person taking the photo, likely my mom.

I don’t know if my dad or Grandpa Schumm ever used the boat for fishing, but that little rowboat survived all these years and was passed down in our family. We have it now.

Boat, 2021.

These boats are sometimes called Jon boats. I don’t know about the newer models but this one is pretty unstable. I would not trust it in deep water.

I am not terribly afraid of water but I do have a healthy respect for it. If I venture out on water I like to be in a much larger, stable boat. Sometimes I wear a life-jacket.

My husband Joe proved just how unstable this boat really is. A couple years ago Joe decided to build a new deck on the edge our pond. His plan was to use this boat to carry materials out to the portion of the deck that extends over the water. The water is about waist deep there and Joe could have just waded out there to place and anchor the boards and frame the deck. But he decided to use the boat instead, hoping to stay dry.

Thinking back on the project, a little old rowboat like this one is probably not the right thing to transport parts for an aquatic construction job. And trying to balance that long, heavy piece of lumber in that little boat probably wasn’t a good idea.

Yes, the little boat became unbalanced, tipped from side to side, and started taking on water. In fact, it took on water very quickly. All of a sudden Joe started throwing tools and other items from the boat onto the banks of the pond. Yikes! My first thought was that he was really angry since he was throwing things like that. I backed away a little and was ready to retreat into the house.

Joe had to abandon ship but I wasn’t too worried about his safety. Joe can swim and after all, he was in waist-deep water.

However, I soon learned that he was not angry at all. I knew this when he started laughing. He was simply trying to save his power tools and anything else he could before the boat capsized and sank. We had a rope tied to it and we were able to drag it back onto the shore.

Joe did lose a few tools that day. And he did get wet. To finish the project he just waded out into the water to place and secure the boards, as he probably should have done in the first place.

Deck, 2021

In the end, we had a good laugh and Joe finished constructing the deck in a few days.

The little Schumm boat is back in its spot, permanently docked under some trees, now a lawn decoration near the pond.  


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    • Virginia Britten on January 21, 2022 at 8:19 am
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    Good story! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for writing!

    • Deb on January 21, 2022 at 8:32 am
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    Ha, great story Karen. And great memories! Hey we are planning on getting tickets for the Willshire, History Come Alive program on Feb. 26th. We and the Reichard siblings all plan to go. Thinking it will be interesting and a way to support the Willshire Bi-C!

    1. Thanks, Deb! I hadn’t heard about the Willshire history program but it sounds like something we would be interested in. I am going to look into it. I am sure some of our church members can give me some information about it! Great to hear from you.

    • Bob Schumm on January 21, 2022 at 8:57 am
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    Funny, humorous! Very interesting events, a great Dad! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Bob! I was blessed with great parents and a wonderful husband.

  1. Karen, I recognized your dad but not you. Thanks for sharing interesting family event. Not surprised about Joe’s docking project. But am surprised the way he did it.

    1. It was too funny the way the project ended up. Sometimes things don’t work out they way you think they will and the project ends up being trial and error! Thanks for writing.

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