Nov 072009
 

For years my daughter, Candi, and I had talked about canoeing the Yellow River in the Florida panhandle. Finally, during one of her college breaks, we decided to go for it.
We were only half an hour into our trip when the sky turned dark and thunder rumbled in the distance. The current picked up, and I grew uneasy about the rising water.

The rain came down quickly in wind-whipped sheets and the river tossed us wildly over submerged logs and rocks. “We’ve got to dock!” I shouted. Candi bailed water furiously while I searched for a clearing along the dark, tree-lined bank.

The rain was so heavy I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead. Every time I’d spot a place to come ashore, we were already past it.

Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the water directly in front of us. We ‘ve got to get off this river now! Just then I saw a faint glow in the distance. A house?

I steered the canoe toward the glow. It was a porch light. And there in front of the house was a cleared section of the riverbank. By the time we got the canoe up on dry land, the porchlight was off.

“Lucky it was on when we needed it,” I said to Candi. A woman standing on the porch ushered us inside the house.

“Thank you,” I said to her as we dried ourselves off. “I don’t know how we’d have made it to shore if your porch light hadn’t been on.”

But it couldn’t have been, ” she said. “

— Robert Kramer

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