Angle to Key West: Son of International Falls (5/26)

Falls High Class of 1979
Chesapeake, VA – May 26, 2013

Bob pulled out an old yearbook and we flipped through the pages. Black and white photos stared back at us. Football players and cheerleaders, hockey stars and pep bands, their smiles frozen in time.

“We just had our thirty-year reunion,” Bob said.

International Falls, class of 1979.

I remember portaging around the paper mill and dragging the boat past a giant Smokey the Bear statue in the town’s park. I remember the library and the Bruno Nagurski museum. I remember the yellow awnings above the drug store windows in downtown and the rapids under the railroad bridge just before Rainy Lake.

But most of all, I remember the Pavlecks. I remember Emma picking me up in her grandfather’s truck and taking me to her parent’s house. I remember my gear spread out in their garage and looking at maps with her brother Logan. I remember her dad Todd’s firm handshake and her mom Patty driving me out to Sha Sha Resort for fried walleye. I remember feeling like I had a chance at this crazy trip because of people like them.

Bob and I flipped through more pages of the yearbook, past 70s haircuts and suit-jackets, past old advertisements and signatures, until we found them, Todd and Patty, Emma’s parents staring up at us in black and white from 1979. Bob’s picture was there too, the three of them were classmates back then, back when Bob’s parents still lived in International Falls, back before he became an engineer and ended up on the East Coast, back before he read about a guy in a kayak in his old hometown paper and thought wouldn’t it be neat if he ever made it to Chesapeake, Virginia.

6 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Son of International Falls (5/26)

  1. one correction,Bronko Nagurski, not Bruno but you are not old enough to know only folks like my 78 dad would catch it and I only caught it because I liked to read about old foot ball stars when I was a kid!

  2. Daniel, your STILL going! YAY! I just saw the post on fb about the Hudson’s “Riverkeepers” and found my way to this fun blogpost. Lost track shortly after you made Key West. Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do. I love the synchronicity of this story. (Also, that I was born in northern Minnesota and raised in NYC by the waters of the Harbor and camping along the beautiful Hudson River.) So, you are heading back to the Great Lakes. You’ve been kayaking for over a year. Wow. BIG SMILE!

Comments are closed.