A StoneMan Production
Your ten (and a half) year old son, Billy, is in seventh heaven. His Mom and older sister are headed West for a month doing Girl Scout stuff and visiting family so he’ll have you all to himself. You’ve been quietly planning for this for some time and have accumulated adequate vacation time and made plans for all of it, three weeks traversing the Allagash lakes and rivers, followed by a week at Cub Scout overnight camp. You give Billy the itinerary a week before you’re to leave and he’s been bouncing off the walls since.
The first week is spent paddling and sailing your canoe the vast expanses of Telos, Chamberlain, Eagle and Churchill Lakes. Billy’s having a ball, and so are you. Every afternoon, once you’ve set up camp, you and Billy spend hours in the water swimming and splashing about. On the second day, your son comes to you with a proposal. He wants to practice his swimming so he can be good enough to pass his swim test at Cub Camp and be able to swim in the intermediate area instead of the “baby” area. You’re more than happy to help, but setup some rules that “shall not be broken”, the most important rule being no swimming without you with him or watching him. Billy “completely understands” and agrees and knows what could happen to him if he breaks any rules.
For the record, you’ve spanked Billy (hand on bare) for serious misbehavior for five years now. He’s only had a taste of the belt (two rapid lashes at his inquisitive request on his tenth birthday) and switches have never been mentioned by you.
There are no problems the first week. You’re able to set up lifevests in the water to mark the limits of his swimming area and he has no trouble staying within them. And as lake water is slack, there’s no worry of him being carried away to deep water.
The first day on the river is a different story. You still set out the boundaries and remind your boy of the rules. You even launch a few sticks and small logs just outside the slack area to demonstrate the effects of the river’s swift current and why it’s more dangerous swimming here than on the lakes. Billy professes his understanding and that is that.
Billy works exceptionally hard today and comes close to completing the loop several times before you must finally call him in so you can start supper while there’s still daylight. A very reluctant Billy comes in, dries off and sullenly helps you. His sulk doesn’t last long though and he’s shortly his bouncy self once again.
Supper is finished and you’re putting the last dishes away when you notice your helper is missing. You call out, but hear no answer over the noise of the river. You use your flashlight to illuminate the nearby woods, check the “latrine” area and light a lamp before taking off at a quick step to the river’s edge.
Breathless you arrive at the river and your lantern illuminates this sight:
Excitedly Billy greets you with, “I did it Daddy… I swam the whole length and a little bit more without stopping once!”
He’s thrilled with himself and thrilled to be telling you of his glory until he sees the look on your face illuminated by the lamp.
What happens now?