Florida Diaries 2015 The Great Canoe Ride

One of the most exciting, fun, and hesitant moments of our entire winter in Florida was the arrival of our friends Ron, Debbie and Stacey Baker. Ginger remembered that the Baker’s were vacationing at Disney, and it would be a great idea, to have Stacey take a canoe ride in nearby Winter Haven.

Stacey is more than a poster child, she’s an inspiration to everyone she meets. You see, Stacey was in an automobile accident her senior year while traveling to Columbus, Ohio to attend a meeting. The accident made her a paraplegic. She’s been in a wheel chair ever since.

Ginger called our Florida pastor, Bill Redman, who owns Wild Creek Adventures. Bill uses his two 28 foot canoes for money raising events, Racing events, and the chance for challenged, handicap people to take a canoe ride. Without a doubt, this is Bill’s passion for the handicap.

Ginger and I talked this venture over, and Bill assured her that the canoes were big enough and they could handle the lakes. To make it more interesting he set up dinner for all who wanted to share in Stacey’s first canoe ride. All we had to do was get the Baker’s to okay the adventure.

After a Speaker telephone call from Bill, Stacey and her parents agreed to the outing.

Ginger and I heard that there was going to be another outing the week before the Baker’s were going to arrive. “Let’s sign up and make sure this canoe ride will be safe for Stacey,” I described.

“I think that’s a great idea, lets do it,” she answered.

After our first adventure with a 28-foot canoe, Ginger and I both felt that the canoe would be fun, but the final OK would have to come from Stacey, and her parents.

On the day of Stacey’s ride, we all gathered in front of our trailer and caravanned to Winter Haven. The weather was not cooperating and it started raining just as we pulled into the parking lot. Everyone got out and found seats in an empty shelter. Bill gave us all canoe instructions and just how we were suppose to get Stacey from the floating dock and into the canoe.

There were enough people to have two canoes. As some of the stout men held the canoe to the dock, two others lifted Stacey into her designated space. With her parents in her front, and Ginger and I at her rear, we were off. “Look someone yelled, the sun is out and there’s a rainbow!”

We all took that as a sign from God, and that he was going to protect us all on this canoe ride. And He certainly did . . .

This week’s bottom line: Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.
Franklin P. Jones

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